Written by: Tony “The Prophet” Yantosca
Here we go, Football 2021 is here. It’s the Prophet’s 7th year writing at this website. It is also my 62nd Giants’ season. I started watching this team at age 7 and I have seen it all over that time, the good, bad and ugly. It is an exciting time for all who love this game! It is a challenging water shed year for Dave Gettleman, Daniel Jones and Giants fans everywhere.
After 2 years, we don’t know if Daniel Jones, who was the 6th overall pick in 2019, is a starting NFL quarterback. He has more turnovers 39 than touchdowns, 37. He has only won 8 games in 2 years but he has not beat a winning team. Four of those wins came from a rebuilding Washington team that has a losing record both years. Garrett hid Jones last year. Jones only had 210 yards/game passing. All the games they won, the Gmen had over 100 yards rushing. One game they even had over 190!
Juxtaposition Justin Herbert, who was also was the 6th pick overall the next year in 2020, compared to Daniel Jones. He got his 1st start with 5 minutes notice when Tyrod Taylor suffered a collapsed lung from a shot. Herbert had no OTA’s and no preseason. He never got 1 first team rep that week. He almost beat the world Champion Chiefs, and played a great game. He only went on to break all the rookie quarterback records in the 100+ year NFL history. The Giants got screwed when he decided not to come out as a junior in 2019. He would have been the Giants pick at 6 because he was the best quarterback after Murray who was taken at number 1. Long-term he will probably be better than Murray. If the Gmen kept Eli in 2019, who they paid $23.2M to hold a clipboard, they could have drafted Herbert at 6 last year and we would have our 12–15-year franchise QB. We have a big question mark after two years at quarterback. This caused Gettleman to go on a free agency buying spree because he wants to have it known that if Jones fails, it’s not his fault.
THIS WEEK’S MATCHUP
I can’t change history, so let’s look at the week 1 matchup. The Giants need to start fast in games this year. When they were on their 1-7 start last year, they were behind in the first half in most of those games. In the second half of the season when they won more games they ran for over 100 yards in each of those games. They did not rely on Jones under extreme pressure to bail them out.
When the Giants have the ball, look for them to ease in Barkley with 8-10 carries and 4-5 catches. Booker will have to step up and handle 12-15 carries. I expect the Giants offense to be rusty for most of this game. They were very disjointed in the preseason. Barkley and Golladay did not play a down. New slot receiver, human joy stick, Toney, was out most of the preseason. Jones only played the last preseason game and was making bad decisions again with a horrific pick in the end zone. Engram is hurt again. What else is new! He will miss the first few weeks at least. He missed 14 games in his first 4 years. Also, they are facing their former coach, Pat Shurmur, which is an intangible that may have some impact on this game. This could work in the Giants favor too since they should know his tendencies.
The Broncos were bad stopping the run last year. They were 25th giving up 130 yards/game. They made some improvements but look for the Giants to establish the run. Then Garett will have Jones take some shots down the field. The Broncos were torched last year vs the pass. They gave up 368 yards/game and 28 points/game. The Broncos passed up on Justin Fields to take Patrick Surtain, who I think was the best cornerback in the draft. They also brought in free agents Kyle Fuller, Ronald Darby and Mike Ford to stop the bleeding. They should be improved vs the pass.
The $72 million free agent ($40M guaranteed), Golladay, needs to start earning his money this week. I was against this signing because after this year the cap hit is low this year but it escalatesto $21.4M, $21.4M and $21.1M the 3 years after. He missed the preseason due to injury, and he has missed 17 games (a full season) in his 4-year career. In his best year he only had 70 catches. This is quite below the $20M/year going rate unless he can improve on that. There may be too many mouths to feed here to attain more. Gettleman was desperate to get weapons for Jones because he knows it is this year or else. I expect Sheppard, who is Jones’ favorite target, to have 5 catches. Slayton may get 2-3 catches. Jones does check down to his backs.
The key matchup in the game is tackle, Andrew Thomas vs edge rusher, Bradley Chubb. Chubb missed most of 2019 with a torn ACL. Von Miller missed all of 2020. Now they are together bringing pressure from both sides. Garrett will have to run some 12 personnel or keep the backs or Penny in to block on third and longs. This will limit the Giants passing game if they cannot handle the pressure. We all know Jones is prone to turnovers. The beleaguered offensive line must do their job in this game or it is all over.
When the Broncos have the ball, they will have a steady balanced gameplan. “Teddy Two Gloves” Bridgewater beat out Drew Lock for the starting quarterback job. Fangio is under pressure to have a winning record so he’s going with the proven veteran and ultimate bridge quarterback. The Broncos added a competent rookie, Javonte Williams, in the run game. Gordon will be the lead back but by the second half of the season, Williams will take over more snaps. However, the Giants are strong up the middle and I expect that the Broncos will have to throw to win.
Denver has an accomplished receiving corps that includes second year WR, Jerry Jeudy, Cortland Sutton, returning from injury last year, KJ Hamler and Tim Patrick. They also have a top 10 tight end in Noah Fant. Bridgewater can lull you to sleep with shorter passes but he will take some deep shots. Remember he had Anderson and Moore at Carolina last year. They both had over 1000 yards receiving. Bradberry should be on Jeudy. Adoree Jackson is questionable. They could really use him in this game. They will also try to get Fant on Martinez or Peppers over the middle.
Looking at all the factors, the Giants are coming off an offseason:
:• Key players like Golladay, Barkley and Jackson were not available most of the preseason.•
The inexperienced offensive line has not had a much time together to gel.
• The Broncos have a strong pass rush from the edge.
• The Giants actually play better on the road. I don’t know if it is the pressure when things are going bad.
• The Giants are 9-23 straight up at home from 2017 to 2020.
• Broncos are 7-2 in last 9 season openers, 5-2-2 against the spread with 44-point differential.
This will be a close game between 2 teams that went 11-21 last year. Denver has made improvements in the secondary and up front. They should be decent at every position except quarterback. I think the Giants are still on the learning curve putting all their new pieces together. Both defenses should be ahead of the offenses at this point.
I am calling this a low scoring (O/U 41.5) Denver win, Denver 21 and the Giants 17.
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