Recommended Bet: NY Giants +3 over Carolina

by Brady

Vegas: JAX -3
DomModel: Pick em
Recommendation: NYG +3

Key injuries:
Jacksonville:
-Marquise Lee (WR) was placed in IR with a knee injury
-Brandon Linder (C) is QUESTIONABLE with a knee injury
-Marcel Dareus (DI) is QUESTIONABLE with a pectoral injury
-Dante Fowler Jr (DE) is SUSPENDED

New York (Football) Giants:
-Oliver Vernon (DE) is QUESTIONABLE with an ankle injury
-Evan Engram (TE) is PROBABLE with a concussion. He cleared concussion protocol on Wednesday (9/5)
-Saqon Barkley (RB) is no longer listed on the injury report (hamstring). He will play

Breakdown:
When Jacksonville has the ball:
Last year, the Jaguars boosted the lowest pass percent (51%) of any team in the league. This is a team that likes to run the ball, and this year (and game) should be no different after starting WR Marquise Lee tore his ACL.

On the ground, the Jaguars rely heavily on Leonard Fournette. Through volume, he put up solid raw statistics last year, but his efficiency numbers left a lot to be desired. He ranked 26th of 47 running backs in Football Outsider’s rushing success rate and averaged a mere 3.8 yards per carry. This was done while facing a relatively soft defensive schedule. The good news is the Jaguars added LG Andrew Norwell to help bolster their offensive line, and Fournette is fully healthy. We saw his numbers dip significantly after a week 6 ankle injury.

Through the air, the Jaguars are relying on a mediocre QB (sorry, Blake) with depleted weapons. They let Allen Robinson walk in free agency in favor of Lee. The only additions are perpetual disappointment Donte Moncrief and “meh” tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins. This passing offense will have some brutal games. That is going to lead to Fournette facing teams that will game plan specifically against him. This is not a great offense.

New York’s defense:
The Giants ranked 26th against the run in Football Outsider’s rankings, and 15th in PFF’s. There are not any major personnel changes to lead us to believe this unit will be any better. They do have the best run stopper in the league, Damon “Snacks” Harrison. I mention him both as to tribute to point out how great he is against the run, but also because his nickname is fucking awesome.

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Along the defensive line, the Giants have solid edge defenders in Oliver Vernon, David Tomlinson, and Kareem Martin. The problem is their linebackers are some of the weakest in the league. Teams have success running the ball by following the opposite strategy of my diet – run away from Snacks. That said, they can dedicate more personnel to stopping the run against the Jaguars offense.

As for the Giants secondary, I have zero respect for any of them except Landon Collins.

TL;DR Conclusion: This is a classic matchup of suck, which typically means not a ton of points will be scored.

When New York has the ball:
Eli Manning was benched for Geno Smith last year. This is all I have to say about the Giants offense.

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Ok, fine. I’ll write more words.

Odell Beckham Jr. is a top 5 wideout. He’s probably going to snag a one fingered (yes, finger) catch and take it 70 yards to the house because he’s OBJ. He’s shown in the past that he’s essentially immune to elite corner play, which the Jaguars have. He also runs about 30% of his routes from the slot, where the Jaguars are more vulnerable. The Giants also added Saquon Barkley 2nd overall in this years draft- yes, they used the 2nd overall pick on a running back – and the dude is an absolute freak. He’ll excel both as a runner and a receiver out of the backfield. They also have Evan Engram at tight end and Sterling Shepard behind OBJ, but their offensive line is weak.

As for Eli, he is entering his age 37 season and hasn’t been good since 2012. He has plenty of weapons, but this offense will still struggle.

Jacksonville’s defense:
The Jaguars have the best defense in the league, period. I could go through the highlights of the defense, but that would just be me listing just about every player on the team. There isn’t much of a weakness anywhere on the field.

If you are going to gain like, any yards against the Jaguars, it’s against the run and passing to the slot. They allowed 116.3 rushing yards/game and ranked 27th against the run in Football Outsiders rankings, but it’s worth noting they improved after adding Marcel Dareus last year. As for the slot, top corners Jalen Ramsay and AJ Bouye do not tend to travel there.

TL:DR Conclusion: The Jaguars defense might literally murder Eli Manning. I do not expect them to be able to put up many points at all. They have shown some weaknesses on the ground, and that plays into the Giants favor after they used their 2nd overall pick on an RB.

This is a home game for the Giants, which is traditionally worth 2.5 points. They should be able to keep it close by stopping the Jags from scoring much, and can rely on big plays from their skill position players on offense while gaining yards on the ground. The model projects this to be a pick em, so we’ll gladly take the Giants with the 3 points.

That’s it for now, bitches. Read my other stuff:

Other week 1 analysis:
Cowboys +3 over the Panthers
Ravens -7.5 over the Bills
Seahawks +3 over the Broncos

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