Monday Night Football Picks: Rams at Giants NFL Odds and Predictions
by Alan Matthews - 9/15/2011
It’s a big night for the St. Louis Rams as they will appear on Monday Night Football for the first time since 2006 when they visit the Giants in New York’s home opener – it’s the first time the G-Men have hosted a MNF game since 2003 (that doesn’t seem possible, but it’s true). It’s also the Rams’ only road game until Week 6.
St. Louis enters off getting throttled 31-13 at home by another NFC East team, the “Dream Team” Eagles. The Rams were gashed for 239 yards rushing by Philly, which converted 8 of 11 third downs. Certainly it didn’t help St. Louis that star RB Stephen Jackson left the game injured after just two carries. And QB Sam Bradford, the reigning NFC Offensive Rookie of the Year, left in the fourth quarter after hitting his right index finger on a defender’s helmet.
New York, meanwhile, entered its opener ravaged by injuries on defense but still was a 2.5-point road favorite at Washington. But that shorthanded defense made Rex Grossman look like a Pro Bowler as the Skins won, 28-14. The Giants’ supposedly vaunted 1-2 running back punch of Ahmad Bradshaw and Brandon Jacobs managed just 73 yards. And Eli Manning was average at best, going 18-for-32 for 268 yards with no TDs and a pick.
Rams at Giants Betting Storylines
Injuries are definitely the big story here and you probably don’t want to put any money down until close to game time when these are sorted out. For the Rams, Bradford should be fine to play with what is being called a bruised finger. However, St. Louis lost last year’s top receiver, Danny Amendola, to a dislocated elbow vs. Philly. The Rams already had one of the worst receiving groups in the NFL, so that one hurts. And probably most important is Jackson’s status. He strained his right quadriceps on a 47-yard scoring run on the Rams' first offensive play of the season last Sunday. Jackson said Thursday the injury has improved, but he hasn't practiced yet this week as of this writing. If he can’t go, Cadillac Williams would start. The former Buc had 91 yards rushing and 49 yards receiving vs. the Eagles.
The Giants, who seem to have lost more players for the season than anyone during camp (all on defense), will not have defensive end Osi Umenyiora back yet. However, fellow end Justin Tuck, easily the team’s best on defense, should play after sitting out Week 1 with a neck stinger. Tuck was limited in Thursday's practice. He said afterward that there was no soreness in his neck. Wide receiver Hakeem Nicks (knee), an emerging star, sat out of the early portion of practice on Thursday (and hasn’t practiced yet this week), but said he expects to play on Monday night. Nicks is easily Manning’s top target now, finishing the opener with seven catches for 122 yards. Nicks has 16 catches for 204 yards and two TDs in his last two Monday night games.
Another dominant storyline here will be surrounding Rams Head Coach Steve Spagnuolo. He was the Giants’ defensive coordinator in 2007 and ’08, including their victory in Super Bowl XLII, in which Spagnuolo’s defense shut down that record-setting New England offense. He likes to blitz as evidenced by the fact the Rams blitzed Michael Vick on 42.9 percent of the snaps last week.
The Giants have won their last four games against the Rams but the teams haven’t played since Week 2 of the 2008 season.
Rams at Giants Betting Odds and Trends
New York is currently a six-point favorite (with about a 65 percent lean) and the total is at 44, according to NFL odds. St. Louis is 6-1 ATS in its past seven vs. a team with a losing record. They are 8-2 ATS in their past 10 following an ATS loss. But they are also just 1-4 ATS in their past five overall.
The Giants are 4-1 ATS in their past five Monday games. But they are 0-4 ATS in their past four at home overall.
The ‘over’ is 4-1 in Rams’ past five as a dog. The ‘over’ is 4-1 in Giants’ past five at home. The Rams are 0-5 ATS in past five meetings.
Monday Night Football Picks: Rams at Giants Predictions
I love the Giants here, especially if Jackson is out, as expected, and Nicks and Tuck play. New York better win, because if it doesn’t, Tom Coughlin’s days could be numbered. But go with the G-Men and the ‘under’.
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