St Louis Rams vs. New York Giants Point Spread – Pick ATS

St. Louis Rams (0-1 SU, 0-1 ATS) vs. New York Giants (0-1 SU, 0-1 ATS), 8:30 p.m. EST, Week 2 NFL, Monday, September 19, 2011, MetLife Stadium, East Rutherford, N.J., TV: ESPN
by Badger, NFL Football Handicapper,

Point Spread: Stl +6/NYG -6
Over/Under Total: TBD

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Two NFC teams that couldnt have possibly started out any worse than they did in last weeks season opener will get a instant shot at redemption on ESPNs Monday Night Football in week two, when the St. Louis Rams travel to play the New York Giants in MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford.

The Rams season opener was a nightmare for everyone in St. Louis when their three biggest offensive weapons, quarterback Sam Bradford, running back Steve Jackson and receiver Danny Amendola, all left the, 31-13, loss at home to the Philadelphia Eagles with various injuries and did not return. Amendola likely dislocated his elbow and could be out for awhile, and Jacksons hamstring issues could linger for weeks or maybe all season, so its already starting to feel like its panic time in St. Louis and its only week two in the NFL.

The New York Giants came out very flat in the opener on offense, exactly what Eli Manning and the G-men could not have done after making bold claims in the preseason about being an elite QB, and once the short-handed Giants defense finally wore out they dropped their opener to the NFC East rival Washington Redskins, 28-14. Already injury-depleted on defense before the year started, now the Giants and Manning are already under the gun on offense to produce and carry the team and the ship is already taking on water.

This game has become a battle of attrition instead of the week two battle the suits at ESPN and the NFL had hoped for when they scheduled it as the leagues showcase game on Monday Night.

Due to the uncertainty surrounding Bradford and his finger specifically, and the Rams injuries in general, a large majority of bookies have been sitting on releasing a point spread for this game. There are only a few sportsbooks out there that have released an opening number for this game, with the spare few that have listed it showing the Giants as early 6-point favorites at home.

There has yet to be an over/under total listed as of press time.

It should be interesting what the total is once they finally release it, since the offenses in this game are highly questionable.

The Rams are obviously not healthy. Bradford has stated repeatedly that his finger is fine and hell be playing, but he is listed as questionable. But how well Bradford will lead the offense depends on the rest of his personnel and Jackson (doubtful) and Amendola (out indefinitely) are already gone. They also lost tackle Jason Smith too (ankle, listed as doubtful), so the Rams are at No. 2 on their depth chart in a bunch of positions, which is never a recipe for success.

Cadillac Williams (140 total yds., 4.8 ypc) played very well in place of Jackson, who had only two carries before his quad injury took him out, but with all of the backups forced into the lineup the Rams faded away in the second half of the opener and could end up fading against the Giants too.

The good news is that they will face a depleted Giants defense that is already out so many starters (Terrell Thomas, Jonathan Goff, Prince Amukamara) that the addition of two more starters to the injury list, ends Justin Tuck and Osi Umennyiora, barely makes the Giants bat an eye. The unit played good in the Redskins opener getting four sacks and forcing a fumble, but it clearly wore down late in the final quarter as the Skins held the ball for eight more plays and five more minutes of possession.

The Giants offense is questionable because with the exception of a four-week stretch back in the postseason they won the Super Bowl, Manning has yet to show consistency as a quarterback. Even though the running game finished with good numbers against the Redskins (3.75 ypc, 2 rushing TD), the Giants never really did get the run game going and it always caused Manning to struggle.

They will face a Rams defense that got gouged to the tune of 237 yards rushing in the loss to the Eagles. How well the Rams front seven can recover and make the right adjustments in the run game on defense will ultimately determine on how long they will keep their banged-up offense in the game.

These two teams last played in 2008 in a game that turned into a route by the Giants, 41-13. Everything for the Giants worked in that game (441 yards total offense, six sacks, allowed only 201 yards, defensive TD) that it may have well been the last time the Giants were that dominate in a game. The Rams were still pre-Bradford, post-Greatest Show on Turf back in that 2008 game, so it would be comparing apples to oranges to even mention any stats from the game.

It was the fourth time in a row that the Giants won both straight up (4-0 SU) and against the spread (4-0 ATS) against the Rams, as you have to go back to the 2001 season to find the last time the Rams won in this head-to-head series. The Giants are also a solid 4-1 ATS in their last five games on Monday Night Football, and the home team is 5-2 ATS in the last seven in the series if youre looking for other betting trends that favor New York. But in order to pick the G-men youd have to look past the fact they are just plain awful right now (0-4 ATS in last 4 vs. NFC; 1-4 ATS in last 5 home games) as far as bettors are concerned.

On paper the over looks like a solid trend (3-1 in last four head-to-head; 4-1 in Giants last 5 home games; 5-1 in the Rams last 6 games on MNF), but you have to remember the offenses on the field right now and their injury situations. When you have to guess whos playing on the field, betting on a total becomes a coin-flip instead of an educated decision.

Badgers Pick to Cover the Point Spread: St. Louis Rams +6.