The official listing for the first half of the NFL’s Monday night doubleheader is ‘‘New Orleans Saints-New York Giants at Giants Stadium.’’
The oddsmakers know it’s really Saints AT Giants, no matter that New Orleans season ticket holders who have no other worries, of course got first crack at admission. So the Giants are favored by three, probably a six-point swing if the Saints were truly home.
The question is whether New Orleans can carry the emotion that helped in a win at Carolina for another week.
‘‘The football field is always the same length and the same distance,’’ coach Jim Haslett said. ‘‘They’ll be excited about playing on Monday night. They’ll be excited about the opportunity to play in New York, and hopefully we can continue to keep playing well.’’
The last time these teams met, the Saints won 45-7 in the Superdome against a demoralized New York team in the final throes of the Jim Fassel era. That was the game in which Joe Horn pulled out a cell phone after scoring a touchdown, got fined by the league and earned a ‘‘showboat’’ tag nationally.
These Giants are much better and Horn’s image has taken a 180 he’s been in the forefront of the players’ effort to comfort victims of Hurricane Katrina.
This game might come down to one matchup: Jammal Brown, the Saints’ rookie right tackle, against Michael Strahan. That means Brown is starting his career against Nos. 1 and 1a among left defensive ends. He did well against Julius Peppers in Carolina, while Strahan had seven tackles and 1 1/2 sacks in the Giants’ 42-19 win over Arizona.
Back to emotion. The Saints are now America’s team ...
Jacksonville (plus 8 1/2) at Indianapolis
The Colts scored ‘‘only’’ 24 in each game against the Jags last season and lost 27-24 at the RCA Dome.
Indy’s defense is better now.
Atlanta (minus 1) at Seattle
Short week and a long trip for the Falcons, who spent a lot of emotional energy against the Eagles.
New England (minus 3) at Carolina
Can the Panthers bounce back against the best team in football despite losing Kris Jenkins?
Washington (plus 5) at Dallas (Monday night, Game II)
Mark Brunell isn’t the answer to anything.
San Francisco (plus 12 1/2) at Philadelphia
The 49ers have their win.
The Eagles have their loss.
Miami (plus 5 1/2) at New York Jets
The Dolphins aren’t as good as they looked at home, the Jets aren’t as bad as they looked on the road.
San Diego (plus 3 1/2) at Denver
The Chargers have lost five straight in Denver, but Antonio Gates returns.
Kansas City (even) at Oakland
Randy Moss will test the Chiefs’ new defense.
Minnesota (plus 2 1/2) at Cincinnati
The Vikings’ offense was flat at home.
Chad and Rudi Johnson breach the defense.
Buffalo (plus 1 1/2) at Tampa Bay
The Bills play defense now like the Bucs used to.
Baltimore (minus 3 1/2) at Tennessee
The Titans look like a team in the Matt Leinart (Vince Young?) sweepstakes.
Pittsburgh (minus 4 1/2) at Houston
The Steelers can plug in anyone at RB.
St. Louis (minus 1) at Arizona
The Rams know Kurt Warner.
Detroit (minus 2 1/2) at Chicago
The Lions could win the NFC North at 8-8.
Cleveland (plus 7 1/2) at Green Bay
Could be a long season for both teams. If this wasn’t at Lambeau ...
LAST WEEK: 9-7 (spread) 9-7 (straight up)
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