Monday Night Football Picks: Giants at Redskins
by Matt Severance - 12/21/2009
I just can't seem to get a 2-0 week on these picks, as last week's Cardinals-49ers game saw another split - making me 4-4 in these Monday Night Football picks so far. I hit on the 'under' last Monday night but whiffed badly on the side. It's not really that surprising that San Francisco won, but it was surprising how dominant the Niners' defense was. And it was about time they fed the ball over and over to Frank Gore.
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This week's game between the Giants and Redskins is seemingly all about motivation. The Giants are still fighting for their playoff lives, while Washington is already planning for next year. The Redskins replaced their GM this week (why with Bruce Allen is a story for another day) and reportedly are in negotiations with Mike Shanahan to become their next head coach - so you can probably assume that the players aren't really all that motivated to play for current lame-duck coach Jim Zorn. Of course, those players also know they might be playing for their jobs under a new regime.
Still, Washington has been playing better of late. In the Skins' first 11 games, they scored more than 24 points once (an upset of Denver). But in their past three, Washington has scored at least 24 in all of them, albeit winning only once - although it should have handed New Orleans its first loss. In addition, the Redskins have been great to bettors, covering five games in a row after doing so only once in the first nine games.
However, Zorn is 0-3 against the Giants in his short head coaching career. The Skins have scored a total of 31 points in those three, and QB Jason Campbell as averaged just 192 yards per contest, with two touchdowns and two interceptions. In Week 1, the Giants held Washington to 272 yards, forced two turnovers and sacked Campbell three times.
The Giants, however, can't stop anyone of late. They were torched by the Eagles last Sunday night and have allowed at least 21 points for eight straight weeks (allowing an average of 32.4 ppg in that stretch, highest in football, and 19 TD passes). Three times in those eight games the opponent scored at least 40, including Philly last week. Not surprisingly, New York is 2-6 in that span (1-7 ATS).
The good news is that Eli Manning is coming off his best game of the season, if not his career. He threw for a career-high 391 yards against the Eagles with three touchdowns and no picks. When Manning has time to throw, the Giants win. They are 7-1 this year when Eli is sacked no more than one time. Manning has career highs in completion percentage and yards per attempt and is one touchdown away from tying his career-high of 24. The Skins, however, rank No. 4 in the NFL against the pass.
Monday Night Football Picks: New York is a three-point favorite, and nearly nine of every 10 bets are on the Giants at Sportsbook.com, for example, but that line hasn't moved. Jump on it before it does. I believe in motivation, and the Giants have all of it. I give New York four stars out of five here - but only at three points. As for the total of 43, none of the past three Giant-Redskins games have gone over that. Of course, the Giants used to have a good defense. I would still take the 'under,' especially because it will be cold, at a rating of three stars out of five.
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