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Player Prop Bet Picks: Monday Night Football

When the NFL asks if it can refill your eggnog, the answer is always “Make it a double!” So, on this Christmas holiday, grab your favorite beverage (or two) and enjoy a double dip of Christmas Day action.

In the early matchup, the Steelers are 9-point road favorites over the Houston Texans. With a win, Pittsburgh would keep pace with New England heading into Week 17. The Steelers will be without Antonio Brown as he recovers from a calf injury.

In the nightcap, the Eagles are 10-point home favorites over the Raiders. Philadelphia’s Nick Foles makes his second start following Carson Wentz’s season-ending knee injury. Against the Giants in Week 15, Foles passed for 237 yards and four touchdowns with no interceptions.

All prop bets courtesy of Bovada.

Ben Roethlisberger Pass Yards O/U 272 ½


Ben Roethlisberger Completions O/U 22 ½
The Bet: UNDER (-105)

There are a couple of ways to analyze Roethlisberger’s matchup against the Texans. Obviously, the loss of Antonio Brown carries with it a huge impact. Through the first 15 weeks, Brown saw 30.9 percent of Roethlisberger’s targets, which is the NFL’s highest target percentage. In addition to Brown’s absence, the focus on Roethlisberger’s UNDERs also stems from this being a road contest.

Here are his home (7) / away (7) splits:

Home: 222-343 for 2,731 yards, 17 TDs and 8 INTs

Away: 141-232 for 1,809 yards, 10 TDs and 6 INTs

So, Roethlisberger has averaged 20.1 completions and 258 pass yards in seven road games to date.

It’s evident Pittsburgh has been much more interested in running the ball and controlling clock than prioritizing that Big Ben pass for 500 yards, unless absolutely necessary. Against the Texans, that won’t be necessary.

Reason To Fade: the Steelers don’t want to overwork Le’Veon Bell and get him hurt, too. So, they elect to pass more often. I don’t find this scenario likely, but it did cross my mind.

Le’Veon Bell Rush Yards O/U 99 ½
The Bet: OVER (-125)

Over the past four games, the Texans defense has allowed opposing running backs to average 129.3 rush yards per game with seven touchdowns.

While Bell has eclipsed 100 rush yards only once in the past seven games, the opportunity to break out is present. His 24 carries against the Patriots last week were the most since early November and without Brown eating up 10-12 targets, chances are Bell will inherit more touches.

JuJu Smith-Schuster O/U 75 ½
The Bet: OVER (-125)

Over the past two games, in matchups against the 49ers and Jaguars, the Texans secondary allowed 230.5 yards to opposing receiving units.

While Martavis Bryant may be targeted on some go routes as Eli Rogers works under routes out of the slot, Smith-Schuster becomes the Steelers’ new No. 1 receiver. He caught all six targets for 100+ yards last week against the Patriots. According to Pro Football Focus, Smith-Schuster has Week 16’s fifth most-favorable WR/CB matchup against Houston’s Kevin Johnson.

Touchdown Anytime
The Bet: Zach Ertz (+105)

No matter the quarterback, it would appear that the Eagles’ offensive system speaks to Zach Ertz. Granted, last week’s six catches for 56 yards and a touchdown came against the Giants, a defense that has struggled to cover tight ends all season, but Foles-to-Ertz was a success. Tonight, the duo gets a chance to carve up the Raiders secondary. Over the past six games, Oakland’s defensive backs have allowed 39 receptions for 500 yards and two touchdowns to opposing tight ends. Ertz will be busy and considering how often he’s targeted in the red zone, he’s as likely to score as any Eagle.

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The Falcons control their playoff destiny. If Atlanta closes out the season with three straight wins, they’ll claim the NFC South title. That path to the postseason begins this evening in Tampa Bay where the Dirty Birds have grown from 6 ½-point to 7-point favorites overnight.

The two teams met three weeks ago in Atlanta, but the Buccaneers were without Jameis Winston and the Falcons were missing Devonta Freeman. Tonight, Tampa’s inactives include several starters on defense, while the Falcons will be without running back Tevin Coleman due to a concussion.

All prop odds courtesy of Bovada.

Devonta Freeman Rush Yards O/U 75 ½
The Bet: OVER (-115)


Devonta Freeman Receiving Yards O/U 14 ½
The Bet: OVER (-115)

Not only is Coleman out, which means more touches for Freeman, but the Buccaneers’ run-stuffing defensive tackle Gerald McCoy is inactive due to a biceps injury. Without McCoy, the running lanes should be wide open. When McCoy was healthy, Tampa Bay still ranked 18th in rush defense, allowing 113 yards per game and 14 rushing touchdowns this season – fourth-most in the NFL.

As for the receiving yards, a role Coleman typically embraces, Freeman is a suitable replacement. In the seven games leading up to the Cowboys game, where he exited with a concussion, the Falcons lead back averaged 19.3 receiving yards per game, while sharing touches with Coleman.

Coleman rushed for 97 yards and two scores against the Buccaneers three weeks ago.

Julio Jones Receiving Yards O/U 95 ½
The Bet: OVER (-115)

Jones racked up 253 receiving yards and two touchdowns on 12 receptions in the first meeting. While the Falcons’ top target has now eclipsed 250 receiving yards three times during his career, we’ll temper expectations tonight.

His receptions O/U prop for tonight is 6 ½ (-115), while Pro Football Focus reports his matchup against Tampa Bay cornerback Brent Grimes is the most favorable in Week 15. At 15.9 yards per reception on the season and knowing what he did to this secondary last time out, Jones will cruise over 100 yards in what has been a quiet season for the seven-year vet.

Jameis Winston Rush Yards O/U 8 ½
The Bet: OVER (-120)

The Buccaneers running game is so opaque and undefined, there are no prop bets on the board for Doug Martin or Peyton Barber.

What is very clear is the Falcons pass rush. Atlanta got eight hits and one sack on Ryan Fitzpatrick three weeks ago. The bearded one rushed two times for 20 yards.

Since returning from injury two weeks ago, Winston rushed for 18 yards against the Packers and 10 yards against the Lions. Not only will the pass rush force him out of the pocket, but this game is on national television. I know it’s a subjective POV, but Winston has heard the noise about how he’s regressed this season. If he gets a chance to showcase his mobility and pick up a first down or two, he’s going to do it. The rush yards needed and a palatable vig make this a good bet.

Mike Evans Receptions O/U 5
The Bet: UNDER (-125)

Two receptions against the Lions secondary I can understand, but two catches against the Packers – who were just torched by the Browns and Panthers – is quite the deterrent.

Evans has caught more than five passes once in the past six games – against Atlanta, with Fitzpatrick behind center. Winston completed passes to 10 different targets – none of whom finished with more than four receptions – against the Packers. He completed passes to 11 different targets – none of whom finished with more than five receptions – against the Lions.

Taking the UNDER is more concern about Winston’s abilities to get Evans the ball than the receiver’s ability to catch it. He’s seen 5.5 targets per game the past two weeks compared to nearly nine targets per game this season.

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Tom Brady may have lost Rob Gronkowski to suspension for tonight’s game against the Dolphins but will reportedly recoup fellow red-zone target Chris Hogan for the first time since Week 8. The Patriots, 11-point favorites a few days ago, have watched their oddsboard advantage grow to 12 points. New England never rebuilds, it reloads.

With that said, the Pats still trail Pittsburgh in the AFC playoff standings. The Steelers’ fourth-quarter rally to beat the Ravens improved their record to 11-2 and they clinched the AFC North division. Even if the Pats beat the Dolphins tonight, the Steelers own the No. 1 seed tiebreaker.

All prop odds courtesy of Bovada.

Tom Brady Completions O/U 24 ½
The Bet: OVER (-130)


Tom Brady Touchdown Passes O/U 2 ½

Don’t think for one second that Tom Brady didn’t notice or doesn’t care that Ben Roethlisberger passed for 500+ yards last night. The 40-year-old G.O.A.T. may play coy in front of the camera and media, but that competitive fire in his belly applies as much QB vs QB as it does wins and losses.

Brady finished 18 of 28 for 227 yards, four touchdowns and an interception against the Dolphins two weeks ago. He has completed 71.7 percent of his passes for 1,673 yards with 13 touchdowns and two interceptions over his past six games. Miami allows opposing quarterbacks to complete 65.1 percent of their passes – seventh-highest in the NFL.

However, Miami’s defense has held opposing QBs to 239 pass yards per game over the past four. Despite Roethlisberger’s 500-burger against the Ravens, Brady hasn’t played his best ball in Miami.

Do I think he’s efficient tonight? Yes, but I’m not convinced that comes in the form of 300 yards and four touchdowns. New England wants that No. 1 seed to lock up home field throughout. They need the win.

Plus, with the way Dion Lewis and Rex Burkhead have been playing, Brady may lean on them a little more with Gronk out. New England rushed for 175 yards against the Dolphins two weeks ago and Miami has allowed 118.8 yards per game the past five.

Jay Cutler Pass Attempts O/U 35 ½
The Bet: OVER (-125)

The Patriots have held eight straight opponents to 17 or fewer points. During that stretch, opposing quarterbacks have averaged 38.25 pass attempts per game.

In three previous meetings with the Patriots, while playing for the Broncos and Bears, Cutler lost by an average of 30 points.

So long as Miami doesn’t wave the white flag in the third quarter, Cutler will have to pass to rally his team in the second half.

Danny Amendola Receptions O/U 3 ½
The Bet: OVER (-130)

No Gronk. No Edelman. This is where Danny Amendola becomes Brady’s security blanket. He’s been quiet the past two games as Gronkowski saw 19 targets. He’ll get a good chunk of those opportunities tonight. I wouldn’t be surprised if this OVER hits before halftime.

Anytime Touchdown Scorer
The Bet: Chris Hogan (+125)

All signs point to Hogan playing tonight. If he does and the Patriots are inside the Miami 15-yard line, he’ll get a red-zone target or two. Hogan scored five touchdowns in the Patriots’ first five games of the season. His seven targets inside the opponent’s 10-yard line still rank top 13 among fellow receivers despite Hogan not playing since Week 8.

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Antonio Brown remains a game-time decision with a toe injury that forced him to miss practice on Friday and Saturday, but the NFL Network is reporting Pittsburgh is optimistic he’ll play. The wide receiver racked up over 300 receiving yards and five touchdowns over the past two games. Brown was held to four receptions and 65 yards by the Bengals in their first meeting this season.

Brown’s up-in-the-air status places him on the sidelines as a prop bet asset. In-game setbacks linger on every play. So, we’ll look elsewhere.

All prop odds courtesy of Bovada.

Ben Roethlisberger Total Pass Yards O/U 255 ½


Andy Dalton Total Pass Yards O/U 219 ½
The Bet: UNDER (-110)

The Steelers are a different team on the road. They run the ball, control the clock and keep the point total low. Tonight’s O/U of 43 ½ is well above the 36 total points the Steelers and their opponents have averaged in Pittsburgh’s five road wins this season. The Steelers held the ball for 35 minutes in their first meeting against the Bengals. They’ve maintained possession for 35+ minutes in two other road wins – Ravens and Chiefs. Plus, the Bengals pass defense is fifth-best in the NFL at 204 yards allowed per game.

Dalton faces the Steelers’ second-ranked pass defense. If not for some long pass plays, Pittsburgh’s 193 yards allowed per game metric would be much lower. Dalton passed for just 140 yards against the Steelers in early October. He’s averaged 202.4 pass yards in the previous five games. If he does manage to hit the OVER, it’ll be in garbage time, but I expect a close game where garbage yardage won’t be in play.

Le’Veon Bell Total Rush Yards O/U 92 ½
The Bet: OVER (-125)

With or without Antonio Brown, the Steelers will concentrate on the run tonight. The NFL’s leading rusher carried the ball 30+ times for 134 yards against the Bengals the first time around. Since their Week 6 bye, the Bengals defense has allowed 117 rush yards per game, which is down from their season average of 126.6.

Even with Brown pacing the offense, Bell has averaged 74.5 rush yards on 21 carries the past four games.

Tyler Kroft Total Receiving Yards O/U 29 ½
The Bet: UNDER (-110)

Kroft caught four balls for 23 yards and a touchdown when Cincinnati played Pittsburgh earlier this year. Despite the third-year tight end scoring a touchdown in back-to-back games heading into Monday night’s contest, his volume of targets remains low. He’s caught six passes on 13 targets for just 30 yards the past three games.

According to NFL/fantasy football metrics that track how tight ends fare against opposing defenses, the Steelers rank third.

A.J. Green Total Receptions O/U 5
The Bet: UNDER (+120)

The vig on the OVER is -150 for a receiver who hasn’t caught more than five receptions in a game since the first week of October. Since then, he’s averaged 3.5 receptions per game. Green caught three balls for 41 yards against the Steelers earlier this season. Without the O/U hook to worry about, this appears a safe bet with some upside at +120.

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It turns out Tom Savage doesn’t instil a lot of confidence in investors looking to back the Houston Texans at Baltimore tonight. The point spread crept up since Sunday and the Ravens are now 7 ½-point favorites after marinating at -7 most of the week.

Granted, Baltimore is 29-1 straight up over its past 30 home games when favored by 7 or more points. So, their -350 looks more appealing than most moneylines carrying that much juice.

All prop odds courtesy of Bovada.

Joe Flacco Completions O/U 21 ½
The Bet: OVER (-125)

If you remove the Miami game where Kiko Alonso attempted to place Flacco in concussion protocol for the next year, the Ravens quarterback has averaged 26 completions in his past six games. The Texans pass defense is allowing 20.9 completions, 253 yards and more than two pass touchdowns per game.

Danny Woodhead Total Rush + Rec Yards O/U 44 ½
The Bet: OVER (-125)

The Ravens said their dynamic running back won’t have any restrictions tonight. Before he was injured in Week 1’s contest against the Bengals, Woodhead caught three balls for 33 yards on the opening series. Against an understaffed Houston defense, Flacco finally has a change-of-pace target as Baltimore looks to keep its playoff hopes alive. All of these factors point to Woodhead drilling the OVER.

Baltimore Total Successful Field Goals O/U 2
The Bet: OVER (-125)

Couple ways I look at the missing ½ field goal hook. Either oddsmakers believe the Ravens completely torch the Texans pass defense and Justin Tucker keeps busy by kicking extra points all night OR they’re content with the odds he hits two field goals and it’s survive and advance for both parties. I still think this is the safest prop out there.

Tucker has connected on two or more field goals in six straight games. Houston’s defense has allowed multiple field goals in three of the past four and four of the past six games.

Lamar Miller Rush Yards O/U 67 ½
The Bet: UNDER (-115)

Over his past four games, Miller has averaged 58 rush yards per game. Baltimore has held opposing rush units to 48.6 yards per game over the past three.

Reason To Fade: D’Onta Foreman’s Achilles injury promotes Alfred Blue back to RB2 and perhaps touches that would have gone to Foreman belong to Miller, and not Blue, the rest of the season.

DeAndre Hopkins Rec. Yards O/U 70 ½
The Bet: UNDER (-105)

Savage is going to have a hell of a time fighting the Ravens pass rush and opportunistic secondary that leads the NFL with 16 interceptions and who are +8 in turnover margin through 10 games. Despite his best efforts to be “matchup-proof” and produce under the toughest circumstances, I could see him coming up just short of 71 receiving yards because of the guy behind center.

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The Monday night injury report highlights the toll the NFL regular season has on its playmakers and we still have six weeks to go.

Richard Sherman out (Achilles). Earl Thomas in (hamstring). Kam Chancellor out (neck). Duane Brown questionable (ankle). Devonta Freeman out (concussion).

The Seahawks were 3-point favorites for much of the week before Chancellor’s Week 11 status was updated to OUT over the weekend. Money on the Falcons starting pouring in and a few days later, Seattle was just a 1-point favorite on its home turf as of Monday morning.

Although they’ve been home dogs on many occasions, the Seahawks have been a 1-point favorite or pick’em at home only three times since 1991. They are 1-2 against the spread in those games.

For those who believe the sky is falling in Seattle and all the momentum is behind the Falcons heading into tonight, remember this:

New York Giants – 12 Kansas City Chiefs – 9 (OT)

All prop odds courtesy of Bovada.

Russell Wilson Total Rush Yards O/U 29 ½
The Bet: OVER (-130)

Wilson is going to run regardless. He’s averaged six rush attempts per game over the past three. However, if Duane Brown is inactive, the Falcons pass rush will have an easier path to the quarterback and Wilson will be forced from the pocket more often.

Doug Baldwin Receiving Yards O/U 70 ½
The Bet: OVER (-125)

Over his past four games, Baldwin has averaged 87.3 receiving yards. According to Pro Football Focus, Baldwin has the seventh-most favorable WR/CB matchup this week with Brian Poole covering him out of the slot. Poole has allowed 42 receptions in nine games (4.6 RPG).

Julio Jones Receiving Yards O/U 83 ½
The Bet: OVER (-125)

Before tonight, Richard Sherman had never missed a start since earning the starting nod midway through his 2011 rookie season. Although Jones probably wishes he could have another go at Sherman, a secondary missing him and Chancellor does provide for a softer matchup and a chance for the veteran receiver to enjoy a much-needed breakout performance.

Jones has averaged 87 receiving yards per game over the past month. At EVEN odds, I do like Jones to score his second touchdown of the season tonight, too.

Austin Hooper Receiving Yards O/U 35 ½
The Bet: OVER (-115)

Over the past five games, opposing tight ends have averaged better than 64 receiving yards per game against the Seahawks secondary.

Hooper, who has caught two touchdowns in the past three games, averaged 44 receiving yards and 4-5 receptions on six targets per game the past six contests.

Note: The Falcons have said they want to “lean” on running back Tevin Coleman this week. What does that mean? I’m not quite sure. The dual-threat back has the ability to catch a handful of passes for 30-40 yards, but if he can squeeze out 4.0 yards per carry – which the Seahawks are yielding to date – Atlanta may be content with controlling the clock on offense. I, on the other hand, believe they’ll test an undermanned secondary that doesn’t know life without Chancellor and Sherman.

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The Carolina Panthers (-9) defense ranks first in total defense, fourth against the pass and second against the rush, while allowing just 17.7 points per game. Digging a little bit more into the box scores, the last three opposing RB1s have rushed for 46, 71 and 65 yards, respectively. The only two offensive touchdowns allowed over the past three games were scored by Mohamed Sanu and Tevin Coleman. Best of luck to Jay Cutler and the Miami Dolphins (+310) offense tonight.

All prop odds courtesy of Bovada.

Jay Cutler Total Passing Yards O/U 229 ½
The Bet: UNDER (-125)


Jay Cutler Completions O/U 20 ½
The Bet: UNDER (-105)

Don’t let Cutler’s 311 passing yards against the Raiders distract you from the fact he averaged 165.8 pass yards and 16-17 completions per game in his previous seven games. The Panthers are holding opposing quarterbacks to 196 yards per game. The Raiders allow 245 per contest and opposing QBs are completing passes at a 71.2 percent clip. Apples and oranges. You only need to fade garbage time production, which, unfortunately, Arizona’s Drew Stanton leveraged to hit similar OVERs last Thursday night.

Note: As for the rest of the Dolphins offense, I’m at a loss. I don’t trust Cutler and with Kenyan Drake and Damien Williams sharing a backfield for only the second week, there isn’t a definitive flow to their offense. Aside from Jarvis Landry catching three or four bubble screens for 10 yards, Miami’s offense is a fade for me.

Cam Newton Completions O/U 20 ½
The Bet: OVER (-125)

Only twice this season has Newton passed for 240 or more yards – against the Patriots and Lions in Weeks 4-5. Over his past four games, he’s averaged 185. That’s because the coaching staff once again embraced Newton’s mobility as an asset. He’s rushed 40 times the past month for nearly 63 yards per game. How does this factor into his Monday night completion O/U?

The Dolphins defense ranks 31st in completion percentage. Opposing quarterbacks are completing nearly 70 percent of their passes against Miami. Instead of attempting to project Newton’s pass-rush yardage totals, which are extremely volatile, I’ll embrace the thought he works the ball short to Christian McCaffrey and Curtis Samuel with Devin Funchess and Ed Dickson downfield.

Ed Dickson Total Receiving Yards O/U 29 1/2
The Bet: OVER (-125)


Ed Dickson Receptions O/U 2 ½
The Bet: OVER (-150)

If you caught a glance of the 49ers box score from Sunday, you might be surprised to see Garrett Celek’s four receptions for 67 yards and a touchdown. The New York Giants have struggled to stop opposing tight ends all season and, for context, rank dead last in fantasy points (yes, I know) allowed to the position. The trend held true in Week 10 against the 49ers’ second-string tight end.

Well, the Dolphins rank 26th against the position. Oakland’s Jared Cook torched them for 126 yards on eight receptions last week. On the season, Miami has allowed 60.5 receiving yards per game to opposing tight ends*.

During Newton’s hot stretch against the Patriots and Lions, Dickson racked up eight receptions for 237 yards. So, although his production has been down the past month, he has the ability to excel when the matchup suits him.

*Can include multiple tight ends on same team

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In the four games since Golden Tate was ruled short of the end zone, a 10-second run-off was enforced and Atlanta escaped Detroit with a 30-26 win, the Lions are 1-3 with an offense averaging only 4.5 yards per play and less than 20 points per game. Their offensive inefficiency culminated in Week 8 against the Steelers when 400+ yards of offense only produced five Matt Prater field goals.

The Lions (3-4, 3-4 ATS) travel to Lambeau Field to take on a Packers squad trying to find itself after losing Aaron Rodgers indefinitely. Hopefully, second-string quarterback Brett Hundley used Green Bay’s (4-3, 3-4 ATS) bye week to get on the same page with his receiving corps. He’s averaged just 122 pass yards, with one touchdown and four interceptions, since Rodgers went down.

With the O/U at 43, the offensive fireworks are assumed to be few and far between Monday night.

All prop odds courtesy of Bovada.

Matthew Stafford Pass Yards O/U 265 ½
The Bet: OVER (-135)

After a slow start, Stafford has averaged 321 pass yards per game over the past three games. Over the same stretch, Green Bay has allowed 273 pass yards per game and opposing quarterbacks to complete 66.5 percent of their passes (fifth-highest in the NFL). Ameer Abdullah is averaging 3.7 yards per rush this season. So, once again, Stafford is forced to move the chains with his arm.

Golden Tate Receiving Yards O/U 67 ½
The Bet: OVER (-125)

Stafford’s top target has averaged seven receptions for 91 yards against two top-12 pass defenses the past two games (NO / PIT). According to Pro Football Focus, Tate has the fourth-most favorable WR/CB matchup of the week against Damarious Randall. The Saints wide-receiving corps torched the Packers secondary for 254 yards on 16 catches two weeks ago.

Brett Hundley Pass Comp. O/U 18 ½
The Bet: OVER (-125)

Dink, dunk, check-down and build the inexperienced quarterback’s confidence via shorter routes. That and if you are of the belief that the Packers will trail the Lions (-3) late in the game, the path to 19 completions is easier than you think.

Detroit’s secondary has allowed 21-22 completions per game this season.

Aaron Jones Total Rush Yards O/U 69 ½
The Bet: OVER (-125)

For the first time in a long time, the entire Packers projected starting offensive line is healthy and active for Week 9. This is a huge win for Jones, whose 5.6 yards per rush ranks second in the NFL among running backs with at least 50 carries.

This bet does come with some risk as Detroit has held opposing backs to 3.6 yards per rush this season and just bottled up Le’Veon Bell last week. However, Jones rushed 19 times for 120+ yards against the Cowboys, who also rank in the top 12 in rush defense. So, it’s not like Jones hasn’t faced a tough rush defense before the Lions.

Considering Jones averaged 5.6 YPR with a banged-up offensive line, his chance for better numbers with the unit healthy makes me a believer in this prop’s OVER.

Davante Adams Receiving Yards O/U 45 ½
The Bet: UNDER (-115)

Despite the touchdown-heavy numbers, Adams wasn’t racking up yards even with Aaron Rodgers. He only has one game this season with more than 66 receiving yards. Likely matched up against Lions’ elite cornerback Darius Slay, it’ll be a nightmare for Hundley and Adams to connect.

Note: Adams only recently began drawing the opposing secondary’s top defensive back. I’ll be interested to see how involved Jordy Nelson is tonight and if Slay will slide over to cover him as the game plays out.