Monday Night Football is back with its annual double-header for Week 1. Al Dannity breaks down the Patriots trip to Miami and the Raiders efforts to plunder victory from Denver.
Patriots have too many weapons New England head to Miami as -7.0 favorites for the first Monday night game of the season and there’s little reason to doubt the Patriots. The running game remains a matter of a committee at play but collectively they deliver solid yardage. The Pats’ real strength is their passing game. Chad Ochocinco will look to put a mediocre pre-season behind him and help boost a unit that contains Deion Branch, Wes Welker and Aaron Hernandez.
The one-gap system of the Patriots’ 4-3 defense should give new arrival Albert Haynesworth plenty of room to create havoc. He may not be everybody’s favorite player but NFL betting fans know what Haynesworth can do when given a free hand to attack. Miami’s hope of countering with new addition Reggie Bush in the run game could be hampered by the problems on the right side of the offensive line. Marc Colombo and Vernon did not impress in pre-season and should fear the impact of Shaun Ellis. Add in the continuing improvements to New England’s secondary and it looks like the making of a long day for the Dolphins. I like the Patriots to cover with ease.
Raiders running game could be decisive Darren McFadden and Michael Bush had their way with Denver’s linebackers in 2010 but they face a new challenge this season. The addition of Von Miller and Joe Mays has beefed up the Broncos’ run defense and they will need to show a marked improvement on the unit that allowed McFadden rack up 300 yards in two games last year.
The Broncos will counter with their own big threat on offense, Brandon Lloyd. Now that Nnamdi Asomugha is out of town, the Raiders’ secondary looks a lot weaker and Kyle Orton will aim to exploit it. Defensively we can expect Denver to attack left tacklet Jared Veidheer with Elvis Dumervil but even a passable showing from Veidheer may be enough to keep Campbell effective. Kevin Boss is inactive but Jacoby Ford is a very real threat, one that could have a huge impact on this match-up. This promises to be a close game but I like Oakland as +3.0 underdogs to sneak a win in Denver.