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Giants’ NFC East Odds Improve After Daniel Jones Impresses; Is There Value with Saquon Injured for 4-8 Weeks?

NY Giants RB Saquon Barkley eludes Josh Norman of Washington.
NY Giants running back Saquon Barkley led the NFL in yards from scrimmage as a rookie. Photo by KA Sports Photos (flickr) [CC License].
  • Daniel Jones led the Giants to a 32-31 comeback win in Tampa Bay in Week 3
  • The New York Giants went from +4300 to +2000 in the odds to win the NFC East
  • Is now a good time to bet on New York  considering Saquon Barkley is out with an ankle injury?

The Daniel Jones era in New York got off to a winning start this past weekend, as the rookie quarterback led the beleaguered Giants to their first victory of the season, an entertaining 32-31 win in Tampa Bay.

The Giants have been rewarded at the sportsbooks for Sunday’s impressive comeback victory, improving from +4300 to +2000 in the latest NFL divisional odds.

Odds to Win NFC East

Team Odds at BetOnline*
Dallas Cowboys -200
Philadelphia Eagles +175
New York Giants +2000
Washington Redskins +2500

*Odds taken on 09/23/19

Jones Shows Veteran Poise in Debut

Taking over in place of Eli Manning, Jones demonstrated veteran cool while marching the Giants to touchdowns on a trio of long second-half drives. The sixth-overall pick in this year’s draft also became the first pivot to pile up 300 passing yards, two rushing touchdowns, and two TD passes in his NFL debut since 1970.

After opening the season as a respectable +1400 bet to win the NFC East, New York steadily tumbled while being outclassed in their first two outings, bottoming out at a lengthy +4300 following a 28-14 loss to the visiting Buffalo Bills in Week 2.

Barkley Injury Hobbles Giants’ One-Dimensional Ground Game

But while Jones is giving long-suffering Giants fans something to cheer, the team still faces huge challenges in its bid to return to respectability. Most notable among those is the current status of running back Saquon Barkley, who was forced to leave Sunday’s game with a high ankle sprain that is expected to sideline him for four to eight weeks.

Barkley has been key to the Giants’ one-dimensional ground game, accounting for over two-thirds of New York’s rushing yards this season. The second-year running back piled up 237 rushing yards before going down to injury, leaving Jones as the team’s leading active rusher after scrambling for 28 yards in Sunday’s win.

Golden Opportunities Diminished with Barkley Sidelined

The absence of Barkley will be particularly felt over the Giants’ next four outings, denying the squad an opportunity to exploit weak rush defenses in dates against Washington in Week 4 and Arizona in Week 7. The Redskins sport the NFL’s 30th-ranked rush defense, while the Cardinals are only marginally better, surrendering 168.0 ground yards, good for 29th overall.

The lack of a strong rushing dynamic in the Giants’ attack will also place added pressure on Jones when the team faces the Minnesota Vikings in Week 5, and again in Week 6, when they travel to New England to face the undefeated Patriots.

The Vikings defense is coming off another stingy performance in Sunday’s 34-14 rout of Oakland, limiting the Raiders to just 88 rushing yards and one score through the first 58 minutes of the contest.

The Patriots continued to roll over inferior competition in the early going of the season, demolishing the New York Jets by a 30-14 score, and have allowed just 17 total points through three outings.

Dates with Bears, Packers Highlight Tough Second-Half Schedule

And even if Barkley manages to return to action earlier than expected, the Giants face a daunting schedule in the second half. In addition to a pair of dates with the division rival Philadelphia Eagles, who have beaten them SU in five straight outings, and 18 of 22 since November 2008, the Giants also have clashes with Chicago and Green Bay to look forward to down the stretch.

In addition, the Dallas Cowboys look poised to run away with the division, improving to heavy -300 favorites after improving to 3-0 for the first time since 2008 with Sunday afternoon’s 31-6 demolition of the Miami Dolphins as 22-point chalk. The Cowboys also extended their SU win streak against New York to five games with a 35-17 win in Week 1.

So, while Jones and Barkley represent key pieces of the Giants future, that future is unlikely to arrive this season, leaving little value in the Giants’ dramatically improved odds to win the NFC East.

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