Monday night sees the 8-4 Baltimore Ravens head down to Texas to take on the 5-7 Houston Texans as the AFC playoff picture starts to solidify. There will be a second game broadcast tonight as well, as the Sunday Giants/Vikings game was rescheduled. The game was originally slated for Sunday in Minneapolis but was moved to Monday in Detroit’s Ford Field after the roof of the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome in Minneapolis collapsed under the weight of 17 inches of snow.
The Ravens are coming off a loss to the Steelers last week and will need to rebound in order to keep pace in the AFC North race. While QB Joe Flacco was sacked four times last week, they should be helped by the return of FB Le’Ron McClain and OT Michael Oher. The Baltimore secondary has had some issues but if LB Terrell Suggs can continue to play at a high level, the pass rush can assist the corners in throwing situations. Flacco, with a QB rating of 92.8 could have a good game against a Texans defense that gave up over 300 yards passing last week.
The Texans on the other hand have lost five of the last six and are looking to hold onto a very slim chance at the playoffs in the crowded AFC field. RB Adrian Foster, who has 1,230 yards this season, should come out to quickly establish the ground game which will help open more downfield opportunities for WR Andre Johnson. The Texans have had extra time to prepare coming off their Thursday night loss to the Eagles giving DE Mario Williams extra time to heal a nagging groin injury which could provide a boost to the league’s worst pass defense.
Fox Business has evaluated the win/loss and stock market statistics over the past 20 seasons of Monday night NFL games and come up with a Monday Night Markets (MNM) rank for each team based on their record and the prior week’s market activity. Let’s take a look at what the markets have to say.
The major indexes were up last week with the Dow Industrials gaining 0.25%, now on a two week winning streak and up eleven of the last fifteen. The S&P 500 was also up closing out the week with a 1.28% gain also up two weeks in a row and up twelve of the last fifteen. The markets were green following positive sentiment on the proposed tax-cut extension deal. While there was some pressure coming from Euro-zone debt concerns after Germany rejected an increase to the bailout fund, the markets were able to shrug those concerns off. Industrials led a late week rally following narrower trade deficit numbers and a stronger than expected consumer sentiment. GE also raised its dividend for the second time this year.
Over the past 20 years, the Ravens have played 15 Monday night games and based on our calculations have a Monday night rank of .545 when the Dow closes the prior week up and .545 when the S&P 500 is up giving them a MNM rank for this week of .545. During the same 20 year period, the Texans have played 3 Monday night games and have a rank of .500 when the Dow is up and .500 when the S&P 500 is up giving them an MNM rank this week of .500.
Monday Night Markets picks the Baltimore Ravens in a tight game on the road over the Houston Texans.
2010 Monday Night Markets picks: 8-6.
Week 14 FBN Staff Picks:
Going against all logic here, picking the Texans. The Ravens D will make life difficult for the Texans but Houston does not get the primetime spotlight put upon them often, so I think they will be highly motivated and respond with an inspired performance.
Full on Ravens!
Baltimore combines a robust offense to complement its perennially stout defense this season. Houston’s Texans can at times recall the old USFL Houston Gamblers with the big plays and wide-open offense. But like the Gamblers, the Texans suffer from an inability to stop opponents from scoring. The Ravens are in the driver’s seat for at least a wildcard berth and they’ll move a game closer to securing a berth with a victory tonight.