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Lions, Giants battle on Monday Night Football
By: Staff Writer - StatFox
Published: 9/18/2017  at  8:54:00 AM
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DETROIT LIONS (0-1)
at NEW YORK GIANTS (0-1)

MetLife Stadium – East Rutherford, NJ
Kickoff: Monday, 8:30 p.m. ET
Line: New York -3.0, Total: 43.5

The Giants will be hoping to avoid an 0-2 start when they host the Lions for some Monday Night Football.

The Lions are coming off of an impressive comeback victory over the Cardinals last week, as Detroit won 35-23 as a two-point home underdog. The Lions trailed 17-9 midway through the third quarter, but they were able to pull themselves together and improve to 1-0. The Giants, meanwhile, were absolutely pathetic in their season opener against the Cowboys. One would think that playing against a rival on Sunday night would bring the best out of a team, but New York only had 233 yards of total offense in a 19-3 loss as six-point underdogs. The silver lining for the Giants is that WR Odell Beckham Jr. (Ankle) was out for that game. He will, however, likely be out again this week, but one would think they could beat an average team like the Lions without him. Detroit has, however, had some success when facing the Giants in Jersey in the past. The Lions are 3-2 SU and 4-1 ATS when playing on the road against the Giants since 1992, but the giants did win-and-cover when the teams met on Dec. 18 last year. New York won that game 17-6 as a four-point home favorite and would certainly be satisfied with a similar result here. One trend that must be noted when looking at this game is the fact that the Lions are 0-8 ATS after a game with a turnover margin of +2 or beter under head coach Jim Caldwell.

The Lions have to be feeling pretty great about their victory over the Cardinals last week, but they must channel that energy and use it in this one. QB Matt Stafford threw for 292 yards with four touchdowns and only one pick in that game, but he now faces a very good Giants defense. When Stafford faced the Giants late last season, he was just 25-for-39 with no touchdowns and a pick. It’s hard to imagine Detroit having any chance at all if Stafford isn’t throwing for at least two scores in this one, so he needs to make sure he has it going here. It’d also be big if the Lions can get RB Ameer Abdullah the ball in the open field. Abdullah is facing a Giants defense that allowed 129 yards on the ground last week, but that was against Ezekiel Elliott and a tremendous Cowboys offensive line. Still, one would think that there would be at least a couple of holes for Abdullah to find here. Defensively, the Lions will want to focus only on the passing game in this one. New York is not going to run the football very much, and it probably won’t be effective when it does. That will make things easy for the Lions, as they’re not going to need to worry about facing an unpredictable team.

The Giants are going to be desperate for a victory when they take on the Lions on Monday, but they should be feeling pretty good about their chances. They might be without WR Odell Beckham Jr. in this game, but they have enough weapons to put up points here. QB Eli Manning should be better than he was against the Cowboys last week, when he threw for only 220 yards with no touchdowns and a pick. This Lions defense is a lot worse and will not be able to cover as well. Manning will, however, need to do a better job of targeting WR Brandon Marshall here. Marshall had just one catch for 10 yards in his Giants debut, and that one reception actually came in garbage time. If WR Odell Beckham Jr. is out then the Giants will need Marshall to perform like the elite receiver he once was. New York would also be wise to get the ground game going. The team doesn’t have many options, but if the Giants at least attempt to run the ball then it will open things up for Manning. On defense, New York is still one of the best teams in football. The giants should be able to get some pressure on Stafford and play well in coverage against his top receivers.

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