The 2011 Monday Night Football season kicks off with a double header featuring AFC divisional rivals.
First, the New England Patriots head to Sun Life Stadium to take on their AFC East rival Miami Dolphins. Both teams have made significant acquisitions in the off season. Defensively, Patriot NT Wince Wilfork and newly acquired DT Albert Haynesworth will try to slam the Miami line with ex-Jet DE Shaun Ellis coming off the edge. WR Chad Ochocinco has struggled in the pre-season, but will be another target for Tom Brady.
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One matchup to watch is Patriots corner Devon McCourty on Miamis leading WR Brandon Marshall. Miamis new Offensive Coordinator Brian Daboll will likely leverage Miamis passing game against the stuffy front. Newly acquired RB Reggie Bush is a receiving threat as well and could open more opportunities for the pass against the New England rush. With the strong corner tandem of Sean Smith and Vontae Davis, look for LB Cameron Wake to try and keep the pressure on Brady.
The late game has the Oakland Raiders heading to Mile High to take on the AFC West division rival Denver Broncos. New Raiders coach Hue Jackson hits off the season with several questions on offense. QB Jason Campbell who has been inconsistent in the past, will be without one of his favorite targets, TE Kevin Boss who is out with a knee injury. Speedster WR Jacoby Ford is coming off an excellent rookie season but was slowed in the preseason with a broken hand and WR Louis Murphy is out with a groin injury.
Look for Oakland to turn to RB Darren McFadden to test the revamped Denver rush defense. Denver comes into the game after a strong preseason showing from QB Kyle Orton. The defense has been retooled under new Head Coach John Fox and Defensive Coordinator Dennis Allen switching to a 4-3. Star DE Elvis Dumervil is healthy and rookie LB Von Miller had a strong preseason recording 3 sacks. The Broncos also bolstered their running game with the addition of RB Willis McGahee who will share touches with RB Knowshon Moreno.
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] score for each team based on their record and the prior weeks market activity. Lets take a look at what the markets have to say.
The Dow Industrials ended last weeks abbreviated session down 2.2% and the S&P 500 was down as well closing out the week with a loss of 1.7% with both indexes falling two weeks in a row and six of the last seven. The markets were pressured by the continuing concerns of a Greek debt default and the impact to the EU as well as concerns around President Obamas $447 billion jobs plan as initial jobless claims climbed unexpectedly to 414,000.
Over the past 20 years, the Patriots have played 24 Monday night games and based on our calculations have a Monday night rank of .400 when the Dow closes the prior week down and .444 when the S&P 500 is up giving them a MNM rank for this week of .422.
During the same 20 year period, the Dolphins have played 37 Monday night games and have a rank of .467 when the Dow is down and .385 when the S&P 500 is down giving them an MNM rank this week of .426.
Monday Night Markets picks the Dolphins at home in a tight game over the Patriots.
The Raiders have played 27 Monday Night games over 20 years have a Monday night rank of .250 when the Dow closes the prior week down and .273 when the S&P 500 is down giving them a MNM rank for this week of .262. The Broncos have played 37 Monday night games and have a rank of .438 when the Dow is down and .412 when the S&P 500 is down giving them an MNM rank this week of .412.
Monday Night Markets picks the Broncos at home over the Raiders to open up their season.
FBN STAFF PICKS WEEK 1
Patriots @ Dolphins
Miami typically gives the New England Patriots a rough game no matter what the records are, but look for the Pats to kick off the new campaign with a convincing win. Tom Brady has some new weapons in Chad Ochocinco and a pair of rookie running backs to go with more returning talent than their hosts have, except for actual kick/punt returns where new Dolphin Reggie Bush may add some excitement if hes given the opportunity.
Patriots all the way!
Miami is just not quite ready for prime time, even at home on Monday Night. I like the Pats in a close one.
Raiders @ Broncos
Once upon a time the Raiders owned Monday Night&but there havent been as many happy endings since Ted Hendricks, Marcus Allen, Bo Jackson, or even Rich Gannon wore the Silver & Black. Both Oakland and its old AFL rival Denver are expected to be in rebuilding mode again this year. The Raiders will run DMC (Darren McFadden) early and often, but the difference tonight will be the Mile-High homefield advantage for the Broncos as they win their opener under new coach John Fox.
Have to go with the Raiders on this one.
Last year, the Raiders demolished the Broncos TWICE! Denver has Elvis Dumervil back and 1st round pick Von Miller up front defensively. Wrapping up a weekend of surprises, Denver beats Oakland.
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