GAME OVERVIEW ::
BY MIKE JOHNSON >>
- This game has the lowest implied total of the week.
- Giants quarterback Daniel Jones returns from a three-week absence due to a neck injury.
- Las Vegas enters this game with plenty of changes due to the departures of its head coach, offensive coordinator, and general manager.
- Rookie quarterback Aidan O’Connell will get his second career start after the team announced they are benching Jimmy Garoppolo.
- The Raiders pass rush could pose problems for a Giants offensive line that has struggled with pass blocking.
How new york Will Try To Win ::
While everyone loves to pick apart teams and players on a one-week or recency basis, not nearly enough attention is paid to what is arguably one of the most important things to consider when evaluating: who did you play? It sounds fairly obvious and straightforward, but too many times we get caught up in what we see and lose sight of why we’re seeing it. The Giants were one of last year’s feel-good stories in the NFL, beating most people’s expectations and making it to the playoffs in head coach Brian Daboll’s first year with the team. They even won a road playoff game, going into Minnesota and knocking off the Vikings. Expectations were high coming off that season and the Giants have been disappointing, sitting with a 2-6 record through eight weeks. What happened to them? Has Daboll lost it? If you take the time to look deeper at the circumstances around both last year and this year, however, it is quite clear that “who they played” is a critical component in this harsh fall back to reality. In 2022 the Giants benefitted from a very favorable schedule and had a lot of things break their way, including two wins in the last four weeks of the season against teams playing without their starting quarterback. Even their win over the Vikings was a bit misleading, as the Vikings were nowhere near as strong of a team as their record would have indicated.
Flash forward to this year and the Giants started the season with a 1-5 record through six weeks, but their losses were against the Cowboys, 49ers, Seahawks, Dolphins, and Bills. All five of those teams are currently ranked in the top 10 of the NFL power rankings. The Giants also played three of those games without offensive centerpiece Saquon Barkley. The Giants then beat the Commanders with Tyrod Taylor under center before blowing an ugly game to the Jets in the rain last week when they were forced to play with third-string quarterback Tommy Devito and the team accumulated NEGATIVE NINE (-9) net passing yards over the course of the game. All of this is to say that the Giants get Jones back this week and this is the best combination of matchup and health they have had since Week 2. Their defense struggled early in the year, but it has given up only 34 points in the last three weeks, including holding Josh Allen and the Bills to their lowest point total of the year (14). The Giants have played two full games this year with Jones and Barkley on the field – one was a decimation in the rain against the Cowboys on Opening Night and the other was, ironically, a road game also in the desert against the Cardinals where they had by far their best offensive performance of the year.
As for how the Giants will approach this game, the simple answer is they will get back to being themselves. Barkley is their offensive centerpiece and they will put Jones in manageable situations while allowing him to use his athleticism and looking to simplify his reads. The Giants may also be getting reinforcements on their offensive line, as starters Andrew Thomas and Evan Neal may be returning to the lineup. The Giants rank 29th in the NFL in Pass Rate Over Expectation (PROE), but that number will likely rise this week as they finally have the core of their offense back together. Jones has never been a superstar talent or a quarterback who does well against elite defenses, but he has proven repeatedly that he can put up points against middling or poor defenses. Las Vegas ranks 29th in run defense DVOA and 20th in pass defense DVOA and the Giants should have increased offensive success, especially if their linemen return. Barkley was given 41 opportunities last week, so clearly they think he’s healthy. Look for Saquon to be the engine of this offense and Jones to open things up a bit, with the Giants having a chance to give us a glimpse of their 2022 form.