Big Al's Daily Angle: MLB and NFL Preview

by Big Al Staff

Two NFL games along with the two opening games of the MLB American League Divisional Series feature on the Monday card.

The New England/Kansas City game in the NFL was moved to Monday when both teams had a player test positive for COVID-19. No further positive tests have taken place so this game will kick off at 7:05 PM ET on CBS.

The Patriots enter this game following their 36-20 victory over the Las Vegas Raiders last week. They will be without Cam Newton who was the player who tested positive for COVID on Saturday. Brian Hoyer will be the starting quarterback for New England. Kansas City takes the field again after their 34-20 upset win at Baltimore on Monday Night Football. The Chiefs are 12-point favorites with the total set at 48.5 (all odds provided by BookMaker).

The Monday Night Football matchup on ESPN this week features two teams that have already broken NFL records this season. Green Bay is the first team in NFL history to score at least 35 points in their first three games of the season without turning the ball over once. The Packers come off a 37-30 upset victory at New Orleans in last week’s game on Sunday Night Football.

Atlanta’s new NFL record is too reminiscent of the epic collapse in the Super Bowl in 2017 where they squandered their 28-3 second-half lead to the New England Patriots. The Falcons have become the first team in NFL history to surrender leads of at least 15 points in the 4th quarter in two straight games. Two weeks ago, Atlanta raced to a 20-0 lead in the opening quarter in Dallas and held a 39-24 lead with less five minutes to go in the 4th quarter. Yet a series of blunders that including a pineapple onside kick and a time-expiring successful field goal left the Falcons with a 40-39 loss. Atlanta responded last week by racing out to a 26-10 lead at home against Chicago before allowing 20 unanswered points in the final 6 1/2 minutes of that game to lose to the Bears by a 30-26 score. That loss leaves the Falcons winless on the season and desperate to avoid an irrecoverable 0-4 start to the season.

Injuries will play a significant role in this game. Atlanta expects wide receivers Julio Jones and Calvin Ridley to play tonight. But the Packers’ star wide receiver Davante Adams will not take the field tonight despite taking part in the last two team practices. The Falcons’ secondary is ravaged with injuries with Ricardo Allen, Keanu Neal, A.J. Terrell, and Darqueze Dennard all out for this game. Green Bay has a host of injuries as well with wide receiver Allen Lazard going on injured reserve this week. Linebacker Christian Kirksey was the 6th player to go on IR this season. A handful of players remain questionable on game day.

With the move of the New England/Kansas City game to Monday night at 7:05 PM ET, kickoff for this game has been moved back to 8:50 PM ET. BookMaker has the Packers as 5-point favorites with a total of 56.5. ESPN has the broadcast.

The American League Divisional Series begins on Monday with the Houston Astros playing the Oakland A’s. This game will be played on a neutral field at the Dodgers Stadium in the Los Angeles bubble for AL teams. The Astros swept the Minnesota Twins in the AL wildcard playoffs. They send out Lance McCullers as their starting pitcher. The right-hander had a 3-3 record with a 3.93 ERA and a 1.16 WHIP in eleven regular-season starts. Oakland outlasted the Chicago White Sox in three games to advance to the ALDS. They will counter with Chris Bassitt who was 5-2 with a 2.29 ERA and a 1.16 WHIP in eleven regular-season starts. The A’s are priced as a -123 money-line favorite with the total set at 8.5. TBS has the broadcast with the first pitch at 4:07 PM ET. 

The nightcap game on TBS has the New York Yankees playing the Tampa Bay Rays at 8:07 PM ET. The Yankees swept the Cleveland Indians in the wildcard round. They give the ball to Gerrit Cole who was 7-3 with a 2.84 ERA and a 0.96 WHIP in twelve regular-season starts. The Rays swept the Toronto Blue Jays to reach the ALDS. They send out Blake Snell who was 4-2 with a 2.84 ERA and a 1.20 WHIP in eleven regular-season starts. New York is priced as a -152 moneyline favorite with the total set at 7.

All photographic images used for editorial content have been licensed from the Associated Press.

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