Mar 30, 2024; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; Former Philadelphia Eagle Jason Kelce reacts before the game between the Philadelphia Phillies and Atlanta Braves at Citizens Bank Park. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Ross-USA TODAY Sports

Jason Kelce joining ESPN’s ‘MNF’ pregame show

Recently retired Jason Kelce is joining ESPN this fall to be part of its “Monday Night Countdown” pregame show, The Athletic reported Monday.

Kelce announced his retirement early last month after 13 seasons as the center for the Philadelphia Eagles.

Kelce was sought after by CBS, NBC and Amazon, per the report. CBS was interested in Kelce for its “NFL Today” show, per the report.

Drafted in the sixth round (191st overall) in 2011, Kelce became a Super Bowl LII champion and one of the most durable, decorated and respected centers in NFL history — and one of the league’s most passionate players.

The six-time All-Pro and seven-time Pro Bowl selection started 205 games for the Eagles, including the postseason.

Kelce, 36, is the older brother of Kansas City Chiefs star tight end Travis Kelce. The siblings have a popular podcast called “New Heights.”

–Field Level Media

Dec 18, 2023; Seattle, Washington, USA; Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts (1) rushes against the Seattle Seahawks during the second quarter at Lumen Field. Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

Seahawks stun Eagles with last-minute TD pass

Drew Lock fired a 29-yard touchdown pass to Jaxon Smith-Njigba with 28 seconds remaining to give the Seattle Seahawks a dramatic 20-17 victory over the visiting Philadelphia Eagles on Monday night.

Starting with 1:52 left, Lock drove the Seahawks 92 yards on 10 plays, hitting DK Metcalf for 34 yards along the way. Smith-Njigba later beat Eagles cornerback James Bradberry to make the scoring catch and help Seattle (7-7) halt a four-game losing streak.

Seattle’s Julian Love made two interceptions in the fourth quarter, including the game-clincher with six seconds left. The Seahawks never led until Lock’s TD throw to Smith-Njigba.

Jalen Hurts rushed for two touchdowns to equal the NFL single-season record, but the Eagles (10-4) lost their third consecutive game. With his second score on the ground, Hurts raised his season total to 14 and matched Cam Newton (2011) for the one-year record for rushing touchdowns by a quarterback.

Hurts played despite battling an illness that reportedly led him to fly to Seattle separately from the team. He connected on 17 of 31 passes for 143 yards and the two interceptions, and he added a team-high 82 rushing yards on 13 carries for Philadelphia.

Lock completed 22 of 33 passes for 208 yards and one touchdown in his second straight start for the Seahawks. He played in place of Geno Smith (groin), who was active for the game but didn’t play for the second straight game.

Kenneth Walker III ran for 86 yards and a touchdown on 19 carries and Metcalf caught five passes for 78 yards for Seattle.

D’Andre Swift rushed for 74 yards on 18 carries for the Eagles.

The Eagles used the “Tush Push” to take a 17-10 lead as Hurts plunged in from the Seattle 1-yard line with 4:43 left in the third quarter.

The Seahawks cut their deficit to four when Jason Myers kicked a 43-yard field goal with 10 minutes remaining in the game.

Philadelphia opened the contest with a 15-play, 75-yard touchdown drive that took 8:29. Hurts finished it with a 3-yard keeper.

The Eagles increased their lead to 10-0 when Jake Elliott booted a 27-yard field goal with 6:20 left in the first half.

The Seahawks got on the board when Myers kicked a 26-yard field goal with 1:42 remaining in the half.

Seattle knotted the score at 10 when Walker broke loose on a 23-yard scamper with 10:05 left in the third quarter.

–Field Level Media

Nov 20, 2023; Kansas City, Missouri, USA;Philadelphia Eagles running back D'Andre Swift (0) celebrates toward fans against the Kansas City Chiefs  during the first half at GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

Week 15 MNF: Eagles-Seahawks Preview, Props, Prediction

Despite back-to-back losses, the Philadelphia Eagles are a half-game ahead in the NFC East and in contention for the conference’s top playoff seed.

With four consecutive defeats, the Seattle Seahawks have gone from atop the NFC West to needing to make up ground for a wild-card playoff berth.

So plenty will be on the line when the Eagles (10-3) visit the Seahawks (6-7) in the first NFL game to be flexed to Monday night.

QUICK PICK
With the status of both quarterbacks going down to the wire, this has been a difficult game to gauge with much certainty. While the Eagles’ Jalen Hurts (illness) may try to play after traveling separately from the team, the Seahawks’ Geno Smith could miss a second straight game due to a groin injury. Seattle is spiraling out of the playoff picture and even if Hurts isn’t cleared to play, backup Marcus Mariota won in Seattle with Atlanta just last season.

Prediction: Eagles 27, Seahawks 23

TRENDING
The Eagles opened as 3.5-point favorites at BetMGM, where the line has shifted only slightly to 3.0 despite the quarterback uncertainty on both sides. Philadelphia has been backed by 79 percent of the spread-line bets and 75 percent of the money. The Eagles’ -165 moneyline has also been popular, drawing 67 and 80 percent of the action, respectively.

The public has been more split on the 47.5-point Over/Under, which has held steady. The Over has been backed by 55 percent of the bets and 56 percent of the money.

PROP PICK
Seahawks WR DK Metcalf Anytime TD (+145 at DraftKings): This has been the most popular Anytime TD prop at the sportsbook, in part due to the absence of Eagles cornerback Darius Slay. Metcalf has a modest seven touchdowns on the season, but four of them have come in the past two games and he has five in his past four as offensive coordinator Shane Waldon has attempted to get him involved early.

THE NEWS
The schedule over the past month has been difficult for both teams.

The Eagles defeated Kansas City and Buffalo, then lost to San Francisco and Dallas, allowing the host Cowboys to pull into a first-place tie in the division with a 33-13 victory last week. Dallas has since lost to Buffalo to move to 10-4.

“We’ve played a lot of high-profile games here before and executed well. I don’t think it is the magnitude,” Eagles center Jason Kelce said after his team lost three fumbles to Dallas. “These are good teams, and you can’t make mistakes against good teams. We’ve done far too much of that.”

The Eagles have games against Seattle and Arizona and two against the New York Giants remaining.

“You can’t even look that far ahead,” Eagles receiver A.J. Brown said. “We play Seattle (this) week. That’s the only thing we need to worry about.”

The Seahawks have lost twice in the past three weeks to the division-leading 49ers, including 28-16 last Sunday in Santa Clara, Calif., as Drew Lock started in place of the injured Smith (groin).

“It’s a challenge at this point of the season to see if we can make it through (to the playoffs),” coach Pete Carroll said. “The fourth quarter of this season is still there for us, and we’ll see if we can. I believe these guys are going to bounce back and be ready to go again. We’ve got to get back on track.”

INJURY REPORT
Slay is out following a knee procedure, as is Eagles linebacker Zach Cunningham (knee) and offensive lineman Cameron Jurgens (pectoral). Hurts was officially designated as questionable.

Smith returned to practice in a limited capacity Thursday but is questionable to play. Seattle safety Jamal Adams (knee), linebacker Nick Bellore (knee), cornerback Devon Witherspoon (hip) and wide receiver D’Wayne Eskridge (ribs) are all questionable after not practicing this week. Linebacker Jordyn Brooks (ankle) was removed from the injury report Saturday.

KEY STAT
The Seahawks have lost four consecutive games for the first time since Pete Carroll took over as coach in 2010.

THEY SAID IT
“You don’t win without some type of adversity. That’s just the name of it. We’d love to come out here and be perfect. But perfection is only an illusion.” –Hurts

–Field Level Media

Nov 26, 2023; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts (1) reacts after a victory against the Buffalo Bills at Lincoln Financial Field. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

NFL’s first-ever ‘MNF’ flex bumps Chiefs-Patriots for Eagles-Seahawks

The Philadelphia Eagles-Seattle Seahawks Week 15 game will be played on Monday, Dec. 18, marking the first flex in “Monday Night Football” history.

Bumped to make room for the battle of the birds, the Kansas City Chiefs and Patriots will play the day before — Sunday, Dec. 17 at 1 p.m. ET — a step that prevents New England (2-9) from making three consecutive primetime appearances.

The Seattle-Philadelphia game moved to Monday was previously scheduled for Sunday, Dec. 17 at 4:25 p.m. ET.

The NFL also made official the Week 15 tripleheader on Saturday, Dec. 16.

The Minnesota Vikings are at the Cincinnati Bengals (1 p.m. ET), followed by the Pittsburgh Steelers at the Indianapolis Colts (4:30 p.m. ET) and the primetime Saturday finale featuring the Denver Broncos at the Detroit Lions (8:15 p.m. ET).

In other Week 15 scheduling news, the Atlanta Falcons-Carolina Panthers and Chicago Bears-Cleveland Browns games will be played Dec. 17 at 1 p.m. ET.

–Field Level Media

October 8, 2023; Santa Clara, California, USA; Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott (4) before the game against the San Francisco 49ers at Levi's Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Week 6 MNF: Cowboys-Chargers Preview, Props, Prediction

The Dallas Cowboys will play their second consecutive road game in prime time and hope Monday night’s game at the Los Angeles Chargers goes better than the 42-10 beat-down they suffered at San Francisco in Week 5.

The Chargers (2-2) are coming off their bye week, which was much needed with quarterback Justin Herbert and running back Austin Ekeler dealing with early season injuries. Los Angeles is fifth in total offense (388.8 yards per game), while the Cowboys (3-2) are 17th (327.4).

Dallas ranks eighth in scoring (26.8 points per game), just behind the Chargers (27.5).

QUICK PICK
This is a key early season matchup for both teams. Dallas is only a game behind Philadelphia in the NFC East despite last week’s lopsided loss, while Los Angeles is trying to stay in the thick of the wild-card picture in the AFC.

The Cowboys are consensus 1.5-point favorites. The have been backed by 61 percent of the spread-line bets and 65 percent of the handle at BetMGM, and 57 and 61 percent of the action, respectively, at BetRivers.

The game will likely be decided by which defense is able to get a key stop or two and buckle down in the red zone. With a fine margin, we’ll side with Dallas’ defense.

Prediction: Cowboys 27, Chargers 23

PROP PICK
Cowboys TE Jake Ferguson Over 3.5 Receptions (-130 at BetMGM): This has been the third most popular player prop at the book, with the Over drawing 99 percent of the bets. Ferguson has reached the end zone just once through the first five games, but he has been quietly productive. That includes 15 receptions over his past three games, and Ferguson has caught all 10 of his targets the past two weeks.

THE NEWS
Former Cowboys offensive coordinator Kellen Moore now runs the Chargers’ offense after having the keys to the Dallas attack the previous four seasons.

Moore was pushed out the door by Dallas coach Mike McCarthy after last season. There was a dropoff in 2022 after Moore’s offense produced NFL-best figures of 31.2 points and 407 yards per game in 2021.

The Cowboys allowed a total of 41 points over their first four games before they had no answers against the 49ers.

“I’m pretty sure (Moore) wants to go out there and put it on us, but you’ve got to put on some perspective for what we just went through on Sunday and how we’re champing at the bit to get out there and get out next game, on the road, so we can kind of just get this taste out of our mouths,” Dallas safety Jayron Kearse said.

“We just went out there (against the 49ers) and had an all-time stinker for what this defense is about, and we’re ready to go out there and play against somebody as well. So I’m pretty sure he’s ready for it and we’re ready for it as well.”

There certainly won’t be any secrets after Kearse, star linebacker Micah Parsons and other Dallas defenders regularly practiced against Moore’s offense.

“It’s not uncommon in the league to have matchups where both sides know each other a little bit,” Chargers coach Brandon Staley said.

McCarthy now calls the offensive plays for Dallas, and the club had a problematic night against San Francisco. Quarterback Dak Prescott threw three interceptions as the Cowboys totaled just 197 yards on offense and eight first downs.

“Continuity and consistency is obviously what we’re focused on,” McCarthy said. “No. 1, you have to score points in this league.”

INJURY REPORT
Los Angeles Chargers defensive end Joey Bosa and wide receiver Joshua Palmer are expected to play against the Dallas Cowboys on Monday night, NFL Network reported. Both are officially listed as questionable.

Bosa, battling a toe injury, did not participate in practice Thursday and Friday but was limited Saturday. Palmer practiced all week before being listed as questionable with a groin injury on Saturday, per the report.

Bosa has three sacks in three games this season. Palmer has 11 catches for 160 yards and a touchdown in four games.

Tight end Donald Parham (wrist) and defensive tackle Nick Williams (back) are also questionable to play against the Cowboys.

Defensive backs Deane Leonard (hamstring) and Alohi Gilman (heel) are doubtful.

Herbert and Ekeler were both listed without a designation on Sunday after a full week of practices.

“I feel really good,” said Ekeler, who was removed from the team’s injury report on Saturday. “I felt like I probably could’ve played during the bye week if I had a game then.”

Dallas outside linebacker Leighton Vander Esch (neck) will be placed on injured reserve sometime before Monday’s game, McCarthy said. In addition, special teams ace C.J. Goodwin (pectoral) told reporters that he will be sidelined for four to six weeks. Both players were hurt against San Francisco.

Standout running back Tony Pollard (shoulder) practiced in full on Friday and Saturday and is set to play. So is returner/receiver KaVontae Turpin (ankle).

Dallas safety Juanyeh Thomas (hamstring) is doubtful, while guard Chuma Edoga (illness) is questionable.

THEY SAID IT
“I spent eight years there so there’s a lot of relationships you love and appreciate there, a lot of people you’re close to and you’ll be close to for a long time. It’ll be fun to see all those people.” — Moore, who spent five years on the Cowboys’ staff after three as a backup quarterback in Dallas.

–Field Level Media

Oct 1, 2023; Inglewood, California, USA; Las Vegas Raiders running back Josh Jacobs (8) runs the ball against the Los Angeles Chargers during the second half at SoFi Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

MNF Week 5: Packers-Raiders Preview, Props, Prediction

Jordan Love and the Green Bay Packers hope for better results in their second straight prime-time matchup when they visit the Las Vegas Raiders on Monday night.

Green Bay (2-2) is coming off a 34-20 loss to the Detroit Lions in front of a national audience on Thursday, Sept. 28. The Packers fell behind 27-3 before halftime and never recovered in what proved to be their most lopsided loss of the season.

Love completed 23 of 36 passes for 246 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions. He said the Packers’ slow start proved costly, and it is something the team will look to fix in Week 5.

“I think just offensively as a whole, we’ve just got to start faster,” said Love, who has thrown for 901 yards, eight touchdowns and three interceptions in his first four starts. “We don’t start fast and we kind of get behind and it’s hard running the ball.”

It’s a pattern that also has plagued Las Vegas (1-3), which will try to snap a three-game losing streak as it returns home. The Raiders lost 24-17 on the road against the Los Angeles Chargers a week ago.

An efficient ground game could help Las Vegas, but so far that has proved to be a challenge. Raiders running back Josh Jacobs is averaging 2.7 yards a carry through four games.

The Raiders’ top receiver is no stranger to the Packers or their fans. Davante Adams, who has hauled in 33 passes for 397 yards and three touchdowns this season, spent his first eight seasons with Green Bay before joining Las Vegas in 2022.

Adams seems to thrive in the national spotlight. He has notched at least 100 receiving yards in each of his past four games on Monday nights, and he could become the first player in league history to do so five times in a row, according to NFL Communications.

Green Bay linebacker Rashan Gary will try to add to his team-high 3.5 sacks. Fellow linebacker Quay Walker, who enters the contest with a team-leading 47 tackles, will focus largely on limiting the Raiders in the running game.

QUICK PICK
The Packers have been the more popular choice as the line has shifted from Green Bay -1 to Las Vegas -1.5 at BetMGM. The Packers have been backed by 66 percent of the spread-line bets and 51 percent of the money at the book. Their moneyline has been even more popular, drawing 80 and 71 percent of the handle, respectively.

The line has shifted in large part due to the improving health of Raiders quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo and Adams. But the game will likely hinge on the play of Love, who has been inconsistent through the first quarter of the season.

He faces a favorable matchup in the Raiders’ 16th-ranked defense allowing and average of 337 yards per game with just one interception thus far.

Prediction: Packers 26, Raiders 23

PROP PICK
All eyes are on Adams, who played his first eight seasons with the Packers (2014-21) before being traded to the Raiders last year. He leads the Raiders (1-3) with 33 receptions for 397 yards and three touchdowns through four games.

The six-time Pro Bowl selection has 802 catches for 10,034 yards and 90 touchdowns in 137 games (130 starts).

The top two most popular player props at BetMGM involve Adams — +700 that he will be the first player to score a touchdown Monday night and -165 that he will score at some point in the game. We like the latter despite the short odds, as Adams has three touchdown catches in the past two games Garoppolo has started.

KEY STAT
The Packers want to keep the game close into the second half, where Love has been far more effective this season. He has a 66.0 passer rating in the first half of games this season, compared to 104.7 after intermission. Love also has thrown four touchdowns against no interceptions with Green Bay leading in games.

INJURY REPORT
Garoppolo cleared concussion protocol this week and returned to practice in full on Friday. Adams has barely practiced since sustaining a shoulder injury in Week 4 and is officially listed as questionable, but reportedly will play after being limited in practice Saturday.

The Packers’ offense could return to better health this week. Running back Aaron Jones and wideout Christian Watson both returned from injuries last week but were limited in snaps.

This week, both could play a bigger role.

“We have some of the best training staff in the world and they take great care of us and keep our best interest in mind,” Jones said. “Now, I feel like I’ll be able to go out there against Vegas on Monday night and be 100 percent.”

THEY SAID IT
“I think we’re in a good spot. We had a good practice out there, had a good rhythm and a good tempo to us. It’s just about doing the little things right now. That’s what we’re focused on.” — Garoppolo on Friday.

–Field Level Media

Feb 13, 2022; Inglewood, CA, USA; Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow (9) throws a pass against Los Angeles Rams defensive end Aaron Donald (99) in the fourth quarter of Super Bowl LVI at SoFi Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

MNF Week 3: Rams-Bengals Preview, Prop Pick, Prediction

The teams that met in Super Bowl LVI will square off for the first time since when the Los Angeles Rams visit the Cincinnati Bengals on Monday night.

Star quarterback Joe Burrow was leading the Bengals on a potential game-tying or game-winning drive when nose tackle Aaron Donald got to Burrow on fourth down and sealed the Rams’ 23-20 win.

The Rams have turned over their roster significantly since, with the exception of Donald, the three-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year.

The Bengals are just hoping that Burrow can get on the field for the rematch after he re-aggravated his right calf strain in last week’s 27-24 loss to the Baltimore Ravens. Burrow returned to limited practice Friday and Saturday and by mid-day Monday optimism was growing that he would be able to play.

“You got to be able to adapt. It’s part of the game. Nobody’s 100 percent healthy out there,” Burrow said. “Everybody’s dealing with something.”

QUICK PICK
The Bengals were a consensus 3.0-point favorite shortly after reports that Burrow is trending toward playing. It’s a dicey spread, especially against a Rams team that has been far more competitive than most thought entering the season — opening with a resounding win at Seattle and playing San Francisco tough at home.

Cincinnati is the more desperate of the two, but Los Angeles also has a healthy quarterback. Matthew Stafford has thrown for 641 yards through two games and if he can avoid turnovers, the Rams can send the Bengals to 0-3. The public has backed Los Angeles with 55 percent of the total spread-line bets and 54 percent of the money at BetMGM.

Prediction: Rams 27, Bengals 23

THE NEWS
The Bengals have started 0-2 for the fourth time in five seasons under Zac Taylor. Last year, they were able to recover and win 14 of their next 16 games before falling to eventual Super Bowl LVII champion Kansas City in the AFC Championship.

“The beauty of this team is we know it’s a 17-game season,” Taylor said. “There’s no overreaction on our end. We’ve got to be prepared for it outside of our locker room, which is natural. This is exactly where we were last year.”

This marks the first game for Bengals starting safety Nick Scott against his former team after signing with Cincinnati in the offseason. He has 20 tackles through two games.

The Rams won their opener at Seattle before dropping last week’s home opener to San Francisco, 30-23.

Stafford passed Peyton Manning for the third-most passing yards by a player in his first 200 regular-season games (52,723 yards in 193 games). In the loss to the Niners, Stafford completed 34 of 55 passes for 307 yards.

“(The offensive line) did a great job,” Stafford said. “They kept me clean the majority of the (game).”

PROP PICK
The Rams have turned the running game over to feature back Kyren Williams after trading Cam Akers and a 2026 conditional seventh-round pick to the Minnesota Vikings for a conditional 2026 sixth-round pick.

Williams ran for a touchdown and caught another score against San Francisco, marking the first Rams player to score through the air and on the ground since Week 8 of 2021.

Williams’ Over/Under rushing total at DraftKings is 60.5 — a number he has yet to reach after totaling 52 yards on the ground in each of his first two games. We think that changes this week, with the Rams relying a bit more on the ground game in a tough prime-time road venue and Williams hitting the Over.

KEY STAT
Rams rookie receiver Puka Nacua is just the fourth player in the Super Bowl era to record at least 10 catches and at least 100 receiving yards in his team’s first two games of the season. He is the only rookie to accomplish the feat.

“My success will come when the team wins,” Nacua said. “So I’m excited us for to be able to come back and capitalize when we’re able to win. It was sweet (vs. Seattle). I got things to improve on, but the most important thing is getting that (win).”

INJURY REPORT
Nacua (oblique) returned to limited practice Friday and Saturday and is officially listed as questionable. Cornerback Cobie Durant (groin), center Brian Allen (illness), guard Joe Noteboom (shoulder) and defensive tackle Jonah Williams (back) were all back to full practice by Saturday and are expected to play.

Burrow was officially listed as questionable and will be a game-time decision. Burrow initially injured the calf on July 27, the second day of training camp, and felt a twinge again on the play before his second touchdown pass of the game to Tee Higgins last week.

“Just feeling better. Not as sore,” Burrow said Thursday. “Time heals. So we’ll see. We’ll see.”

Bengals tight end Irv Smith Jr. is doubtful with a hamstring injury, while safeties Tycen Anderson (calf) and Scott (concussion) returned to full practice and are expected to play.

THEY SAID IT
“We’ve done it before. Obviously, you don’t want to start 0-2. It’s not what we were planning on, not what you want to do at all. But we’re going to bounce back. That’s what we do, that’s all there is to it.” — Burrow

–Field Level Media

Sep 11, 2023; East Rutherford, New Jersey, USA; New York Jets quarterback Aaron Rodgers (8) runs on to the field at MetLife Stadium before the game against the Buffalo Bills. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

Jets-Bills sets “Monday Night Football” viewership mark

The “Monday Night Football” game between the visiting Buffalo Bills and New York Jets drew more than 22.6 million viewers, the most since ESPN began airing the NFL broadcast in 2006.

The game featured the much-anticipated Jets debut of quarterback Aaron Rodgers, who exited after tearing his left Achilles tendon on his fourth snap.

Despite Rodgers’ early departure, the Jets beat the Bills 22-16 in overtime on Xavier Gipson’s 65-yard punt return for a touchdown. The Jets announced on Tuesday that Rodgers would miss the rest of the season.

The game, which aired on ESPN, ABC, ESPN2, ESPN+, and ESPN Deportes, broke the network’s record that was set in 2009, when the Green Bay Packers faced their former quarterback Brett Favre and the Minnesota Vikings. That game drew 21.8 million viewers.

The viewership total for this year’s season opener of “Monday Night Football” was up 14 percent from last year’s opener (Denver Broncos vs. Seattle Seahawks) that drew a then-record 19.8 million viewers for a Week 1 Monday night contest.

The breakdown for the Monday viewership included 11.7 million watching on ABC, 9.4 million on ESPN and 1.52 million on ESPN2, which aired the “ManningCast” alternate feed featuring Peyton Manning and Eli Manning.

Sports Business Journal noted that the total MNF viewership this week topped the most recent totals for the College Football Playoff final, the men’s NCAA Tournament final, the Kentucky Derby, the Oscars and the Grammy Awards.

–Field Level Media

Aug 26, 2023; East Rutherford, New Jersey, USA; New York Jets quarterback Aaron Rodgers (8) leaves the field after the first half of their game against the New York Giants at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports

NFL Week 1: Bills at Jets Preview, Prop Pick & Prediction

Week 1 of the 2023 NFL regular season comes to a close with a marquee “Monday Night Football” matchup between the Buffalo Bills at the New York Jets.

It’s a season-opening tilt between AFC East rivals who both harbor realistic Super Bowl aspirations.

QUICK PICK
The Bills opened as 1.5-point favorites at BetMGM and the line has held steady with Buffalo backed by 68 percent of the spread-line bets and 69 percent of the money. However, the Jets’ +110 moneyline has also been a popular play as it has drawn 63 and 60 percent of the action, respectively.

There are still a lot of unknowns in terms of how the Jets’ offense will exit the gates with quarterback Aaron Rodgers at the helm. But New York also has a stout defense that gave Bills quarterback Josh Allen fits in two meetings last year, so we’re taking the points with the Jets at home.

Prediction: Jets 26, Bills 23

THE NEWS
Allen was 9 years old when Aaron Rodgers was drafted by Green Bay. Allen said he’s mimicked a lot of Rodgers’ movements and looks up to him. Rodgers wants the Bills looking up at the Jets in the standings when the dust settles Monday.

At 39, Rodgers relocated for the first time in his career following a prolific run with the Packers. Unpacking Super Bowl and MVP credentials in New Jersey, Rodgers said he’s grown comfortable in a new shade of green in part because of the level of talent around him.

“I think we’re ready,” Rodgers said. “I played in a great spot for 18 years. We had a great home-field advantage, place was always sold out. I’m expecting a big crowd, a loud crowd. It’s going to be electric — ‘Monday Night Football’ — last game of the first week. It will be a pretty special moment to take the field against a division rival and a great quarterback, really good football team. It will be a special environment to start off my career with the Jets.”

Wide receiver Garrett Wilson was the 2022 NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year and created a quick connection with Rodgers, who compared his new No. 17 — Wilson — to former Packers teammate and All-Pro wideout Davante Adams. The Jets also signed free agent Dalvin Cook to a one-year deal and added familiar Rodgers cronies Allen Lazard and Randall Cobb.

There’s depth here, too. New York wants to co-feature running back Breece Hall with Cook and brought in wide receiver Mecole Hardman from the Chiefs.

KEY STAT
Defensive Rookie of the Year Sauce Gardner, a rare All-Pro selection at cornerback in his first season, and the Jets’ defense have an established track record of mortalizing Allen.

Gardner made sure Allen’s favorite target, wide receiver Stefon Diggs, didn’t have his hands full in their two matchups in 2022. Allen had 147 passing yards in the Bills’ 20-12 win on Dec. 11 — when Diggs was held to three receptions for 37 yards — and New York’s defense sacked him eight times with two picks in those two games. Allen had three rushing TDs.

In the Nov. 6 meeting, Gardner intercepted Allen and broke up a late pass on fourth-and-21 that ended Buffalo’s final drive and preserved the Jets’ 20-17 win.

“They’re a pretty good group — really good group for that matter,” Allen said. “They’ve got rushers that have motors, they sub those guys in and out so they’re fresh. Their DBs are smart. They game-planned pretty well for us the last couple times we’ve played them and we’ll have our hands full come Monday night.”

PROP PICK
Two of the most bet player props for Monday night at BetMGM involved Wilson, the Jets’ second-year wideout.

No. 1 has been Wilson at +145 to score a touchdown in the game, while Wilson topping 68.5 receiving yards at -115 is No. 4.

The Jets signed Hardman and long-time Rodgers running mate Lazard to help keep defenses honest. Wilson will still be the primary focus of Buffalo’s secondary, but the Bills will be hard-pressed to keep the playmaker in check for four quarters so we like the Over on 68.5 receiving yards.

INJURY REPORT
Despite safety Micah Hyde dealing with a back injury, the Bills are still expected to make Damar Hamlin inactive Monday night and go with Taylor Rapp and Cam Lewis as the primary backups. Hamlin, 25, made the 53-man roster as the latest awe-inspiring mile marker of his progress returning from on-field cardiac arrest at Cincinnati in January.

The Jets are expected to be at or very close to full strength, with everyone taking part in Saturday’s final practice of the week.

THEY SAID IT
–“That first game, I feel like it’s also finding yourself, what kind of team you’ve got, figuring out your identity.” –Diggs on being ready for the Jets in Week 1.

–“Having a guy like Aaron come in, the type of caliber player and person he is, he elevates everyone. You have to elevate your standards and your level of play. And across the board, we have so much talent. It is probably the most talented team I have been on and a great mixture of youth and veteran leadership.” –Jets OT Duane Brown on Rodgers’ presence.

–Field Level Media

Nov 20, 2022; Indianapolis, Indiana, USA; Indianapolis Colts running back Jonathan Taylor (28) runs the ball while Philadelphia Eagles linebacker T.J. Edwards (57) defends in the second half at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

Steelers at Colts: Preview, Prop Picks, Prediction

Indianapolis’ Matt Ryan is trying to keep the Colts’ faint playoff hopes alive as the Pittsburgh Steelers visit on Monday night.

Ryan regained the starting quarterback job after interim coach Jeff Saturday replaced the fired Frank Reich. In two games since, the Colts (4-6-1) have split a pair of close contests while Ryan has avoided turnovers.

He has started 225 more NFL games than his Monday counterpart, Steelers rookie Kenny Pickett. Pickett has also avoided interceptions the past two games but still has eight picks against three touchdown passes on the season.

The Colts are consensus 2.5-point favorites at home and have been backed by 63 percent of the spread bets and 60 percent of the money at DraftKings.

However, the public is backing the Steelers (3-7) with 54 percent of the bets and 57 percent of the money at BetMGM and 54 and 51 percent, respectively, at BetRivers.

PROP PICKS
Colts RB Jonathan Taylor Anytime TD Scorer (-139 at BetRivers): The same prop is -160 at the other two sportsbooks and has drawn the most money at BetRivers. Taylor has scored in consecutive games since Ryan returned to the lineup. The Steelers rank sixth in run defense, but that’s in part because opponents have been hammering their 31st-ranked pass defense. Pittsburgh allows an average of 24.4 points per game.

Under 39.9 Total Points (-110 at all three sportsbooks): The Steelers average a league-worst 6.1 yards per attempt and have thrown a league-low seven TD passes. The Colts haven’t been much better at 6.7 and 10, respectively, and Ryan struggles to throw the ball down field behind poor pass protection.

Steelers OLB T.J. Watt Over 0.25 Sacks (-195 at DraftKings): This has been the fourth-most popular non-touchdown prop bet at the sportsbook. The odds are short, but so, too, are the odds of the Colts keeping Watt away from Ryan for four quarters. The Steelers have only 19 sacks on the season but Watt missed seven games. The Colts have allowed 40 sacks through 11 games, second-most in the NFL, and Ryan has been dropped 29 times in nine starts.

INJURY REPORT
Steelers: Running back Jaylen Warren (hamstring) and cornerback Ahkello Witherspoon (hamstring) are out, while wide receiver Miles Boykin (oblique) and linebacker Robert Spillane (back) are questionable)

Colts: Defensive end Kwity Paye (ankle) is out and tight end Kylen Granson (illness) is doubtful. Defensive tackle DeForest Buckner (ribs/illness), defensive end Yannick Ngakoue (back) and outside linebacker Zaire Franklin (illness) are each questionable.

PREDICTION
Both offenses are likely going to need to string together lengthy drives in order to put points on the board. That’s a tall task for two turnover-prone quarterbacks – their past two games notwithstanding. Give the nod to the veteran signal-caller at home. — Colts 20, Steelers 16

–Field Level Media