New York’s first season without Eli Manning at quarterback and its first season with Joe Judge as head coach didn’t go quite as planned. Saquon Barkley tore his ACL in Week 2 and his absence deprived the offense of a game-breaking option, which certainly didn’t help Daniel Jones who showed no signs of progress in Year Two. The Giants dug themselves an insurmountable hole with their 1-7 start last season, but they ended up just one game out of the NFC playoffs (-450) by winning five of their final eight games to finish with a 6-10 record (9-7 ATS). The Giants lost 10+ games for the fourth straight season — the third straight with GM Dave Gettleman in charge — but there’s more optimism for 2021 after a strong off-season and after Judge laid a strong foundation for the organization in his first season.
The Giants scored the second-fewest points per game (17.5) and they allowed the ninth-fewest points per game (22.3), which resulted in a staggering 13-3 mark toward unders. New York ended the year 5-5 in one-score games and 0-2 in contests decided by three scores or more, and they finished with the league’s ninth-worst point differential (-77).
New York’s 2021 win total (7) climbed by a victory thanks mostly to its strong showing in free agency. The Giants pushed their 2020 win total by winning their sixth game of the year over the Cowboys in the season finale. Entering this season, I have the Giants power rated as the 22nd-best team in the NFL (+8000 to win Super Bowl LVI), as the 11th-best team in the NFC (+4000 to win the conference), and as the third-best team in the NFC East (+450).
Spreads are first-look lines from the SuperBook, which were released in early June.
|2||@Washington Football Team||+3||8:20 (Thurs)|
|4||@New Orleans Saints||+5.5||1|
|6||Los Angeles Rams||+3.5||1|
|8||@Kansas City Chiefs||+10||8:15 (Mon)|
|9||Las Vegas Raiders||-1.5||1|
|11||@Tampa Bay Buccaneers||+10||8:15 (Mon)|
|14||@Los Angeles Chargers||+6||4:05|
|18||Washington Football Team||-1.5||1|
New York has a difficult schedule overall, but it has friendly stretches to start and end the season. They’ll open against the Broncos, Football Team, and Falcons in Weeks 1-3 before closing the season with matchups against the Eagles, Bears, and Football Team in Weeks 16-18. The Giants have just one opponent coming off of a bye this season, which comes against the Raiders in Week 9.
The Giants will face the eighth-toughest schedule this season based on 2021 win totals (per Sharp Football), which includes a stretch where they play both the Chiefs and Buccaneers in a three-game stretch in the middle of the season. To add insult to injury, both of those games will be on the road on Monday Night Football. Ouch. They also have an important three-game stretch in Weeks 4-6 against the Saints, Cowboys, and Rams, which could be an early indicator if the Giants are ready to contend for an NFC playoff berth.
Key Off-season Moves
|Kenny Golladay (WR)||Kadarius Toney (WR)||Wayne Gallman (RB)|
|Devontae Booker (RB)||Azeez Ojulari (OLB)||Dion Lewis (RB)|
|Kyle Rudolph (TE)||Aaron Robinson (CB)||Devonta Freeman (RB)|
|John Ross (WR)||Elerson Smith (DE)||Golden Tate (WR)|
|Zach Fulton (OG)||Kevin Zeitler (OG, Bal)|
|Adoree’ Jackson (CB)||Cameron Fleming (OT, Den)|
|Ryan Anderson (DE)||Dalvin Tomlinson (DT, Min)|
|Danny Shelton (DT)||Kyler Fackrell (LB, LAC)|
|Reggie Ragland (LB)||David Mayo (LB, Was)|
|Ifeadi Odenigbo (DE)||Colt McCoy (QB, Ari)|
|Mike Glennon (QB)|
|Corey Clement (RB)|
|Alfred Morris (RB)|
2021 Season Odds
Odds courtesy of DraftKings Sportsbook
|Season Win Total (O/U)||7 (-130/+110)|
Season Prop Movement
Win Total: 7 (-110) in late March to 7 (-130)
Super Bowl: +6600 in early February to +8000
Reasons to Bet Over the Season Win Total
GM Dave Gettleman and the Giants are determined to get the most out of Daniel Jones in his third season. They signed the top free agent wide receiver in Kenny Golladay to a four-year, $72 million contract and they used their first pick in the draft on the explosive Kadarius Toney. This is a make-or-break campaign for the 2019 No. 6 pick in a gettable NFC East, and he won’t be lacking for weapons between Golladay, Toney, Sterling Shepard, Evan Engram, and Darius Slayton. Saquon Barkley is also set to return off his ACL tear so this Giants’ offense has the chance to take a major step forward after they finished with the second-fewest yards per game (299.6) and the second-fewest points per game (17.5).
The Giants finished with a winning ATS record despite their major offensive woes last season thanks in large to their defensive efforts last season. They allowed the eighth-fewest points per game (22.3) and the 12th-fewest yards per game (349.3). New York lost Dalvin Tomlinson in the middle of their 3-4 front but they still have studs Leonard Williams and Dexter Lawrence up front. They also added Adoree’ Jackson to play across from James Bradberry, which gives the Giants a formidable tandem at outside cornerback. The Giants could have one of the better secondaries in the league if Jackson can return to his 2019 form after playing in just three games last season.
Reasons to Bet Under the Season Win Total
The Jets’ lack of relevance over the last decade has given the Giants some cover in New York, but the Giants have been the franchise that’s fallen short of expectations the most in the NFL over the last 10 years. The Giants haven’t topped their win total since 2016, which is the only time they’ve cleared their win total in the last 10 years. They own a 1-7-2 mark toward unders in the last decade, which is the worst mark in the league.
The Giants suddenly have one of the deeper casts of skill players in the league but the biggest question is do they have the right combination of quarterback in Jones and playcaller in Jason Garrett to take advantage of their assembled talent. Both Jones and Garrett are entering make-or-break years in their careers. The Giants need to decide if they want to commit to Jones long-term, and Garrett is looking to prove he can run a potent offense if he has any hopes of being a head coach again. Jones didn’t show any progress in his sophomore season after showing glimpses of greatness as a rookie in 2019. Garrett ran a boring, predictable offense that squeezed off the third-fewest plays per game (60.4) because they couldn’t stay on the field.
Jones and Garrett will also need some help from their offensive line, which could be one of the league’s worst units if they don’t see major improvements from 2020 draft picks Andrew Thomas and Matt Peart. Thomas was in over his head at left tackle after the Giants selected him fourth overall while the Giants essentially redshirted third-round pick Peart last season. The Giants are also hoping that Nate Solder has something left in the tank after he opted out last season. New York isn’t devoid of talent up front but they have a ton of question marks with the group entering the season.
Notable Player Props
Daniel Jones: passing yards (3800.5), passing TDs (24), rushing yards (400.5), MVP (+10000), most INTs (+1400)
Fantasy Points Projection: passing yards (3900), passing TDs (24), rushing yards (370), INTs (11)
Best-Case Scenario: Like Josh Allen did last season, Jones takes a massive step forward in his third season thanks to the franchise going out and getting him a stud, #1 WR in Kenny Golladay.
Worst-Case-Scenario: The Giants loaded up on weaponry to surround Jones in 2021, but he fails to make significant gains on his lowly 6.6 YPA average and his 62.2% completion percentage from his first two seasons.
Saquon Barkley: rushing yards (1150.5), rushing TDs (9), most rushing yards (+1200), Comeback POY (+700), OPOY (+1800)
Fantasy Points Projection: rushing yards (1125), rushing TDs (8)
- Best-Case Scenario: Barkley is ready to go from the jump in 2021 despite the organization’s posturing this summer, and Saquon shows no ill effects from last season’s ACL tear.
- Worst-Case-Scenario: The Giants decide to protect the face of their franchise by easing Barkley into a large workload over the course of the first two months of the season.
Kenny Golladay: receiving yards (1000.5), receptions (69.5), receiving TDs (5.5), most receiving yards (+3300)
Fantasy Points Projection: receiving yards (970), receptions (67), receiving TDs (6)
- Best-Case Scenario: Golladay may be the new guy in New York’s passing attack, but he quickly becomes a target hog and his presence elevates Daniel Jones’ play in his third season.
- Worst-Case-Scenario: Golladay fails to stand out in a much more crowded receiving corps from top to bottom, and switching from Matthew Stafford to Jones slows down his production.
Evan Engram: receiving yards (600.5), receptions (54.5)
Fantasy Points Projection: receiving yards (645), receptions (59)
- Best-Case Scenario: Engram settles in as the second option for Daniel Jones and his explosiveness returns with another year removed from his Lisfranc surgery in December 2019.
- Worst-Case-Scenario: Engram fails to clean up his TE-worst eight drops and his three-year low catch rate (57.8%) and he struggles to separate from the likes of Sterling Shepard and Kadarius Toney in this passing attack.
Kadarius Toney: receiving yards (505.5), receiving TDs (3.5), OROY (+2800)
Fantasy Points Projection: receiving yards (525), receiving TDs (4)
Best-Case Scenario: The Giants reached a bit to select Toney at No. 20 but the coaching staff gets him actively involved ahead of New York’s secondary receivers behind Kenny Golladay.
Worst-Case-Scenario: Toney fails to stand out in a crowded receiving corps between Golladay, Sterling Shepard, Darius Slayton, and Evan Engram and he finds himself mostly on the bench as a rookie.
New York Giants over seven wins (-130, DraftKings) — The Giants made a major splash in free agency by addressing two of their biggest weaknesses by landing a #1 WR in Kenny Golladay and #2 cornerback in Adoree’ Jackson. They’re now deep in the secondary and at the skill positions, and they have a roster that’s talented enough to compete in a weak NFC East. I still have major questions about Daniel Jones as a starting NFL quarterback, especially behind an offensive line that’s far from proven, but he at least has the necessary receivers to improve in his third season. I don’t like what I saw from Jason Garrett last season in his first stint as a playcaller since 2012, and I’m skeptical that he’s the guy to take Jones and this offense to the next level. I also lack confidence in this organization to get over the hump since they’ve been the worst team against their win total over the last decade with a 1-7-2 mark toward unders. The Giants have enough talent to get over seven wins this season but I have enough questions about key players and coaches to stay away from this total.