For the first time in what seems like a while, Monday Night Football offers up a great game featuring two playoff-contending teams. The Week 12 edition pits the red-hot New Orleans Saints, well-rested coming off their bye week, hosting the inconsistent New York Giants.
The G-Men are dealing with some injuries to key players at the moment, and in turn have lost their last two contests in disappointing fashion. They are currently situated in 2nd place in the tough NFC East division, and need to start winning games to keep pace with their long-time rivals, the Dallas Cowboys. One of the main areas of concerns for New York remains their struggling offensive line. They’ve already surrendered 19 sacks, and will be forced to move linemen around to compensate for the absence of key left tackle, Will Beatty. Additionally, starting running back Ahmad Bradshaw remains out for the Giants in this one, and the full load will once again have to be carried by the struggling Brandon Jacobs. At the wide receiver position, it’s unlikely Mario Manningham will be in action due to a knee injury, though the presence of Hakeem Nicks and the upstart Viktor Cruz are more than capable of filling the void.
With the Saints they enter this exciting clash well-rested and rejuvenated for what should be a promising close to their 2011 campaign. Head Coach Sean Payton gave the squad a full 8 days off before preparing for the Giants, and the team is chomping at the bit to taste game action. New Orleans is 4-0 at home, and enter relatively healthy after their time off. They currently hold a one-game lead over the Atlanta Falcons for the division lead in the NFC South, and are focused on not only reclaiming their divisional crown, but also netting a first-round bye for their upcoming post-season run.
Giants vs. Saints Spread, Line and Betting Odds:
New York Giants +7.0 (-110)
@ New Orleans Saints -7.0 (-110)
Over 51.0 (-110)
Under 51.0 (-110)
Giants vs. Saints Pick:
Though the Giants are coming off two-straight losses, including an ugly one last week marred by a completely ineffective offense, they do have a tendency to bounce back with unexpected showings. Their home loss to the Eagles last week seems to have served as a wake-up call within the dressing room according to quotes from the players and coaches, and are desperate to not mirror the collapses of the past few seasons. I think the Giants show up here and come to play. Whether or not they keep it completely close and within a touchdown is tough to fully gauge with such an enigmatic Giants squad. However they do have a wealth of offensive talent, spurred by their fifth-rated passing attack. Eli Manning was anything but sharp last week, but count on him turning in a solid performance in his father’s old stomping grounds. The Saints have a porous defense, struggling equally against both the run and pass, and the Giants do have the weapons to put points on the board.
The Saints meanwhile will obviously get their points. They possess one of the top offenses over the past 5 years and currently hold the NFL`s top rated aerial attack. Drew Brees is in a zone right now, and has great rapport with his plethora of talented receivers. Like their own defensive unit, New York is currently enduring its fair share of struggles in stopping the big play as they sit in the bottom half of the league in total defense. Though this total is currently set at quite the high number, both offenses should have minimal difficulty moving the football against each opposing defense. Add in the fact that neither team is particularly effective or keen on running the football, and it could be a good old-fashioned shootout Monday Night at the Superdome with each quarterback attempting at least 40 passes.
The Giants will rebound from last week`s dismal offensive showing, and should get at least twenty against a susceptible Saints defensive group. Meanwhile, New Orleans moves the football at ease against virtually any defense, and this Giants group will be no different. The Giants have allowed at least 17 points in every one of their games since Week 4, and that figure could double on the road against such the prolific attack New Orleans employs. Meanwhile, the Saints have scored at least 27 points in every home game this season, and that is a streak that will continue Monday evening.
Both teams will likely turn toward the pass attack early and often in this game. Their running options are poor and uninspired, and the pass will help light up the scoreboard and keep the clock stopped on incomplete passes. Neither defense will be able to stop the opposing offense, and expect huge games for Hakeem Nicks and Jimmy Graham. Four of the past five times the Giants have visited the Superdome, the over has cashed, including their last trip in 2009 which ended in a 48-27 Saints victory. Expect a similar score-line in this contest. Take the over 51 points in an exciting back-and-forth affair under the Monday Night lights in New Orleans.