It’s only Week 2, but the stakes are raised for a pair of playoff-minded NFC East foes.
The New York Giants visit the Washington Football Team to kick off the NFL’s second week of action. Both teams are coming off of home losses in which they failed to cover.
An 0-2 start may not be the death knell it was as recently as 2019. The expanded postseason field and 17th regular season game offer a little cushion for slow starters. However, the outlook will still be grim for the team that falters.
Not only will the losing side fall to 0-1 in the division, but they will be staring 0-3 straight in the face. The Giants host the Atlanta Falcons in Week 3 while the Football Team travels for a date with the Buffalo Bills.
It may be too early to declare a game a “must-win” — though pundits most certainly will. But it’s reasonable to expect elevated levels of urgency.
Online sportsbooks opened this game with a total of 43, suggesting a low-scoring affair.
New York Giants Overview
Sunday delivered more of the same for “Big Blue”. An uninspiring offense, a lack of running lanes, and another Daniel Jones lost fumble continued to plague this team. Jones has played in 28 career games and lost 18 fumbles. Needless to say, ball security will be a talking point in the days leading up to kickoff.
The 27-13 final tally is flattering to the Giants. Jones’ four-yard touchdown run as time expired added a little makeup to an ugly performance.
If there’s anything positive to discuss regarding the Giants, it’s Saquon Barkley’s return. He wasn’t productive — 11 touches for 27 yards — against a tough defense, but made it through the contest unscathed. It’s unclear what his availability or usage will be in a short week.
That’s not enough sunlight to break through the dark blanket of clouds cast over this team. Offensive coordinator Jason Garrett will find himself under the microscope if his unit doesn’t begin to click. Wide receiver Kenny Golladay — the Giants’ big-money offseason signing — admitted the Giants may start off slowly. It’s still concerning that he and first-round pick Kadarius Toney combined for six catches and 62 yards on eight targets.
Solace couldn’t be found defensively either. The Giants recorded a couple of sacks and recovered a fumble, but were ultimately broken down by the Broncos attack. Any defense will eventually struggle when its offense leaves it out to dry.
Washington Football Team Overview
The Giants looked poor, but fans of the Football Team have reason to be just as concerned, if not more. Ryan Fitzpatrick suffered what is considered a serious hip injury. His prognosis will become clearer as more information is gathered, but the early expectation is he will miss multiple weeks.
This is obviously alarming news for an organization that tabbed Fitzpatrick to upgrade their quarterback room and offense.
Taylor Heinicke replaced Fitzpatrick and played turnover-free in relief, completing 11 of 15 passes for 122 yards and touchdown. He’s in line to make only his third NFL start, the most recent one coming against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in last year’s Wild Card round. He threw for 306 yards and a touchdown while running for an additional score. Washington lost but Heinicke made a lot of fans both inside and outside of the organization with his performance. It’s fair to expect Ron Rivera and Co. to preach the “don’t beat ourselves” mantra to his players and staff.
Washington’s vaunted defense played well — they only allowed 20 points, dropped Justin Herbert twice, and recorded a pair of takeaways. However, the Chargers possessed the ball for 36 minutes and rattled off 78 plays compared to WFT’s 49.
The Giants won’t come into town with the same quality on offense. Not to mention, the Football Team’s front four will have the opportunity to attack the Giants’ weakness up front. In two matchups last year, Washington sacked Jones six times and forced two fumbles. The assumption is Washington will get to Jones, but the key is how often and with how much damage.
Online books quickly moved off the key number of 3, and several shops are currently dealing the Football Team at -4. They have moved the total down as well. Those eyeing the UNDER can still find 42.5 at FanDuel Sportsbook as of Monday afternoon. For historical context, these two teams combined for 39 and 43 points, respectively, in their two 2020 meetings.
In what projects as a classic, low-scoring, defensive display, it may be tough to lay the points with Washington. Especially since they’ll be calling on their second-string quarterback.
Washington backers missed the boat on the money line, where the Football Team opened at -150. The number has seen its value diminish, with Caesars (-190) standing out with the best price to bet the side. Anyone with the intestinal fortitude to put money on New York can find the Giants at +180 at FanDuel.