New York Giants (0-0) at Detroit Lions (0-0)
|Date & Time||Monday September 8, 2014, 7:10 PM (EDT)|
The Line: Detroit Lions -4.5 -- Over/Under: 47
The New York Giants visit the Detroit Lions for the first of two games on Monday Night Football on ESPN to kick off week one NFL action.
The New York Giants are in rebound mode after finishing last season 7-9 with a league-high 44 turnovers. Quarterback Eli Manning was largely responsible throwing 27 interceptions on the year, but his offensive line didn’t do him many favors as he also endured 39 sacks on the season. The Giants may have reason for optimism heading into 2014 though as head coach Tom Coughlin managed to lead his team to a 5-0 record in the preseason with wins over a decent pool of opponents.
The Giants will utilize a passing-heavy attack on offense that features Victor Cruz at WR who is averaging 80 catches and over 1,200 yards per year across his first three professional seasons. Rueben Randle will also see an increased workload with the departure of Hakeem Nicks. At running back Rashad Jennings will have a chance to shine in a starter’s role after playing mostly backup duty in his first four NFL seasons with the Jaguars and Raiders, with Peyton Hillis getting the nod for some of the shorter yardage situations.
The Giants defense has some marquee names as Jason Pierre-Paul has shown his ability to rush the passer despite a rough 2013 campaign, Antrel Rolle is a tackle machine at strong safety and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie was signed in free agency to play cornerback. The linebacker unit may need some help though if MLB Jon Beason isn’t able to suit up or isn’t 100% for the season opener.
The Detroit Lions fired head coach Jim Schwartz in the offseason and now look to Jim Caldwell as they try to rebound from a 7-9 campaign in 2013 where they folded out of their mid-season bye week. The Lions took the preseason seriously with a 3-1 record while playing one of the weakest schedules imaginable.
QB Matthew Stafford and WR Calvin Johnson are one of the most prolific aerial combinations in the league on offense as Stafford has thrown for at least 4,500 yards in each of the last three seasons and Johnson has been a top five receiver in each of the last six seasons. Of course the Lions are loaded beyond those two as Reggie Bush is in the backfield with Joique Bell as a decent second option after rushing for eight TD’s in 2013. The Lions also have a talented pass catching tight end in Brandon Pettigrew and some nice depth at receiver with Golden Tate and Ryan Broyles benefiting from double teams on Calvin Johnson.
The Lions defense features some talented players up front in Ndamukong Suh and Nick Fairley, but the secondary will have some work to do to improve on their 23rd ranked pass defense allowing 246.9 yards per game in 2013. Stephen Tulloch is as durable as they come at MLB after playing all 16 games in each of his eight seasons in the NFL.
The Lions have one of the most potent offenses in the league but I'm not sold enough yet on their defense to lay this many points in a game where the books seem to be begging for square money on the home side.