NFL Monday Night Betting Preview: New York vs. Minnesota

hi-res-c6cf7778eeafe332a2b27ab5f7649f38_crop_northTonight will be the New York Giants‘ first primetime game of the season, and it will be a nail biter as Eli Manning and the Giants’ offense will face their toughest opponent yet, since they’ll be tested on a cold Monday night against the unbeaten Minnesota Vikings and their dominant, sack-ful defense. It’s a really brutal matchup for the Giants, who want to escape losing two in a row, but it’s the matchup they’re stuck with.

The Vikings will be ready and geared up to improve heir record to 4-0, but the their hurdle will be that quarterback Sam Bradford will not be starting this game. He did a great job in the absence of lead QB Teddy Bridgewater. The Giants defense is not what it was last year so bringing back Bridgewater over Bradford, who is a QB2, is a natural choice, since he is someone that wouldn’t likely be started in any league.

The Vikings got over their battle of having to start a season without their star quarterback, injured on the eve of the regular season. It seemed like an ominous sign for the Minnesota Vikings, who instead overcome that adversity and are developing themselves into legitimate Super Bowl contenders.

The Vikings are on a roll right now and will want to keep ther record spotless for as long as they can. Minnesota has been the league’s biggest early-season surprises since their last season ended on an injury to Bridgewater. But they recouped and followed up a Week 1 win at Tennessee with impressive victories over Green Bay and Carolina.

“I don’t know if they’re the best defense in the league but they’re one of them,” Giants star receiver Odell Beckham Jr. said of a unit that has permitted only 40 points. “They’re a great defense through in and throughout from the back and the front. All the way around, they’re a great team.”

New York was able to squeak out a pair of close victories over Dallas and New Orleans before losing a 12-point lead in a 29-27 home loss to the Washington Redskins, in a game which they had in hand. In its aftermath, Beckham drew criticism and made negative headlines when Giants coach Ben McAdoo admonished him for not keeping his emotions in check.

The Giants are 2-1 which is not a bad record, but their wins could easily have been losses. They have been plagued by injuries in both the offensive and defensive backfields and that might become a problem for New York, who lost starting running back Rashad Jennings to a thumb injury in Week 2, and then lost backup Shane Vereen maybe for the season with a torn triceps sustained last week.

Quarterback Eli Manning, got picked off twice while throwing for 350 yards last week. If he’s smart he will take advantage of the many receiving options he has at his disposal with Beckham, Victor Cruz and rookie Sterling Shepard, but with Vereen out, it means he doesn’t have his top pass-catching threat in the backfield.

Running back Rashad Jennings did not do much in practice on Friday, and is questionable for the second straight week with a thumb injury. He was projected as a limited practice participant for Saturday. but since he missed last week’s game against the Redskins, and due to media reports like ESPN who wrote Wednesday that he will not play against the Vikings, it’s most likely that Orleans Darkwa and Bobby Rainey will share the bulk of the carries.

The stats against New York is that they gave up 296 yards through the air last week, and will have to plug holes with their myriad of injuries in the secondary.

The Vikings just simply look better. After choking Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers in its home opener in Week 2, Minnesota made many notice them across the league by dominating Cam Newton and the Carolina Panthers right after, snapping their 14-game winning streak at home 22-10.

The Vikings also took down the reigning NFC champions despite not having mercurial running back Adrian Peterson, who is sidelined indefinitely after undergoing surgery to repair a torn meniscus in his knee, a serious injury sustained in the Packers game.

Bradford, who didn’t play in the season opener after being acquired from Philadelphia, has played so well in his two starts, throwing for 459 yards and three touchdowns without an interception. But he probably won’t play tonight and that’s too bad, because he is their best chance to beat Minnesota’s defense, who has has permitted only 13 points in the second half, helping to overcome 10-point deficits at Tennessee and Carolina. With those kinds of odds, it looks like the Vikings will be going 4 for 4.

Prediction: Vikings over Giants, 31-14