NFL Week 3 Late TV Games: Expect more nerves than points in Detroit

Even a below-par Manning should be enough to beat the toothless Lions
Even a below-par Manning should be enough to beat the toothless Lions

Two of the best quarterbacks of all time will strut their stuff in this weeks's late TV games, with both Peyton Manning and Aaron Rodgers capable of guiding their teams to victory, as Neil Harvey explains...


"Two stuttering offenses should make this a low scoring game. If ever Manning needed a gentle defense to practice his wobbly throws against though, this could be it, and as a result he should be able to guide his team to a comfortable victory."

Denver Broncos @ Detroit Lions
Monday, 01:30
Live on Sky Sports

I don't know how Denver have started 2-0. They were unimpressive against Baltimore in Week One and then phenomenally lucky to beat Kansas last week, coming from behind to snatch victory with two touchdowns in the final 40 seconds of the game, the winner being a fumble return.

But the thing about luck is, it tends to run out at some point. So the question is - when it does, will Denver be good enough to win on merit? Well certainly their defense is good enough. The Broncos have one of the best pass-rush units in the business. Lions' QB Matt Stafford has rarely enjoyed the luxury of time in the pocket during his tenure in Detroit, and he won't be getting it on Sunday. Expect DeMarcus Ware and Von Miller to be in Stafford's face from the get-go.

Since the departure of Barry Sanders in what seems a previous lifetime, Detroit have struggled with their running game. Certainly Joique Bell is no better than a back up RB. And rookie Ameer Abdullah, for all his promise, only got six carries last week against Minnesota, producing just nine yards. The Detroit offensive line has struggled to make the holes and it won't get any easier against Denver.

The prospects of Detroit discovering their scoring touch against this mean Denver defense seem slim to none. The Broncos forced two interceptions and two fumbles last week, and it won them the game. They could potentially be even more productive this weekend.

Denver have had their troubles too on offense. Peyton Manning's had little protection from a feeble offensive line and has looked just as shaky himself under centre. Those wobbly throws almost seem a result of the pressure of conforming to new Head Coach Gary Kubiak's system. It was only late on last week, with the Broncos staring at another defeat, that Manning started dropping into the shotgun and as a result the passes started to flow.

Running Backs CJ Anderson and Ronnie Hillman have also been victims of Denver's poor offensive line. The holes haven't been there in the first two games. They might find more opportunities though against a Detroit defense that surrendered 134 rushing yards and 26 points to Minnesota last week.

Two stuttering offenses should make this a low scoring game. If ever Manning needed a gentle defense to practice his wobbly throws against though, this could be it, and as a result he should be able to guide his team to a comfortable victory.

Recommended Bets
First Half Points Under 22.5 @ 1.9620/21 or better
Total Points Under 44.5 @ 1.9620/21
Denver (-3) to beat Detroit @ 1.9620/21
Ronnie Hillman rushing yards Over 42.5 @ 1.9620/21 or better


Kansas City Chiefs @ Green Bay Packers
Tuesday, 01:30
Live On Sky Sports

Poor Kansas must have felt like they had their pockets pinched last week in that shattering last minute loss to Denver, in a game they'd dominated. The worst possible time then to face the Packers. Because having been beaten by a fading gunslinger, they will now face the very best in the business in the form of Aaron Rodgers.

The Chiefs unravelled last week when Peyton Manning went into the shotgun and started to look deep downfield. Well that's a move that Green Bay's quarterback has down to a tee. And with running back Eddy Lacy an injury doubt, Rodgers has even more excuse than usual to be looking for the deep ball (which often as not he finds). Rodgers has five touchdowns and no interceptions for the season so far and arrives fresh from a clinical dissection of the much-vaunted Seattle defense. So the Chiefs should hold no fear for him.

Kansas have much to like about them. A strong running game and solid defense. But their passing attack under Alex Smith carries no edge to it. There's no threat of the deep ball. Smith just doesn't have it in him. And that will allow Green Bay to keep their defensive focus close to the line of scrimmage.

Kansas need to get ahead early in games for things to go their way. Jamaal Charles is no good to them if they have to abandon the run and chase the game. So expect Kansas to grind it out on the deck early on. Green Bay by contrast will probably look to open this up as early as possible. Since returning to the Pack, receiver James Jones has been faultless, catching three touchdowns. I see no reason why Rodgers should start looking elsewhere now, and so at 12.0011/1 he looks well worth a bet to grab the first TD here.

If Green bay do strike early, then this game could get away from the Chiefs. Lambeau Field is an intimidating venue and the (2-0) Packers have started the season in the sort of form which could see the (1-1) Chiefs become their third easy scalp. Smith's lack of arm strength could be exposed if he starts trying to play catch up, with Green Bay's secondary also good enough to jump on any errant throws and take them all the way to the endzone.

Recommended Bets
Green Bay (-7) to win on match handicap @ 2.0621/20
Green Bay (-3.5) to win on first half handicap @ 1.9110/11 or better
James Jones to score first/anytime touchdown @ 12.0011/1
Green Bay points Over 27.5 @ 1.9110/11 or better


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