Following a debut winning slate last season, NFL Tipster Fabian Sommer returns to Matchbook Insights with his top bet for the opening weekend.
The New York Football Giants were highly frustrating to watch in 2020.
The combination of offensive coordinator Jason Garrett, quarterback Daniel Jones, and an underwhelming offensive line set the bar extremely low yet they still failed to climb above it.
During the off-season, you could read between the lines that Garrett blames the offensive struggles on the injury of RB Saquon Barkley and Daniel Jones being inexperienced in his first season in Garret’s scheme. That’s some hilarious self-scouting.
It’s not like Daniel Jones had an excellent supporting cast, but he didn’t get any help from Jason Garrett.
His scheme is stale and predictable.
The route combinations don’t put defenders in conflict often enough. Frequently it’s just four guys running isolated stick or hitch routes.
When watching their offense, you get the sense that Garrett lives for the “3rd & manageable”.
Reports from camp indicate that Jason Garrett hasn’t changed anything. It’s the same uninspiring scheme once again. Personnel-wise, the Giants made some additions to their receiving corps, and Saquon Barkley will be back. But that’s not enough.
Garrett’s run-first, stale passing offense requires the offensive line to hold up for routes to develop.
Especially when the signal-caller is Daniel Jones, who has 22 interceptions and 29 fumbles (6 recovered) to show in 26 NFL starts.
Jones is terrible under pressure and needs good offensive line play.
New York’s line is filled with below-average starters or developmental guys – it’s a bottom-three unit.
Kenny Golladay, a wide receiver famous for contested downfield throws, which might require some timing with Jones, missed most training camp.
Rookie Kadarius Thoney is a guy who could flash with a creative play-caller – Hello, Jason Garrett. TE Evan Engram will likely miss week one. TE Kyle Rudolph could be on a snap count after coming off the PUP list just recently.
Imagine facing the best defense in the league to kick off the 2021 season with all those issues in mind.
I think I can make a case for Denver having the best defense on paper, in addition to excellent coaching from Vic Fangio.
They have a top-5 defensive line with Von Miller coming back, a solid linebacking corps, an elite safety in Justin Simmons, and arguably the deepest cornerback group.
They are my best bet for the number one defense in EPA/play this year – Fangios unit could feast on some of the worst attacks, and the Giants are just that until they prove me wrong. The Giants will struggle to get their run game going, and Denver’s defensive line will put Daniel Jones under constant duress.
I cannot see Jason Garrett having enough answers for Vic Fangio, so I expect the G-Men’s scoring output to be relatively low.
On the other side, the Broncos don’t have a world-beating offense by any stretch of the imagination.
They have a much better matchup than the Giants. I liked what Patrick Graham did with that defense in 2020 – scheming up the pressure and disguising his zone coverages. But in the end, they were a middle-of-the-pack defense by EPA/play and DVOA despite playing in the NFC East. They still have some question marks and might take some time to gel if Graham wants to play more man coverage which he wants to.
Second-round rookie Azeez Ojulari is the Giants number one edge rusher. It’s hard to rely on that, and Denver has a solid offensive line. Safety Xavier McKinney is healthy and could provide a decent rotation alongside Logan Ryan and Jabrill Peppers.
But there are some question marks at cornerback outside of James Bradberry: Newly acquired Adoree Jackson has played only three games in 2020 and is dealing with a minor ankle sprain. He might not be 100% effective when defending Jerry Jeudy and Courtland Sutton. Rookie 3rd-rounder Aaron Robinson won’t be available.
That leaves the Giants with Darnay Holmes in the slot and potentially 6th-round rookie Rodarius Williams on the outside taking over some snaps for Adoree Jackson. Teddy Bridgewater should orchestrate a few scoring drives distributing the ball to Jeudy, Sutton, Hamler, and Fant.
The Broncos are at least the slightly better team in every aspect of this matchup when we consider the health of New York’s skill-position group.
They have one of the best matchups in the trenches in week one, and I expect that to make the difference to beat the Giants by more than 3 points.
- Denver Broncos -3 (1.97)
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