Two teams still in search of their first win will clash in Week 3 when the New York Giants (0-2) head to NRG Stadium to battle the Houston Texans (0-2) on Sunday (September 23, 2018 at 1:00pm EST). The Giants opened as 6.0-point underdogs.
Even with the addition of second-overall pick Saquon Barkley, New York’s offense has not improved from last year. They are struggling trying to throw the ball, averaging just 215.0 passing yards per game (24th), and they haven’t had much success on the ground either, averaging 74.5 rushing yards per game (28th). As you may have assumed, this has led to just 14.0 points per game (30th) through two weeks.
Eli Manning is not playing at the level New York needs. He is completing 69.1% of his passes, but has not been able to push the ball down the field. If Manning and Odell Beckham Jr (15 receptions for 162 yards this year) cannot get the aerial attack going, you can expect similar results from the Giants’ offense. A little help from Saquon Barkley (134 rushing yards this year) on the ground could make a huge difference, too.
But his success is predicated on the offensive line getting more push up front, and that doesn’t seem likely. Barkley is being met in the backfield all too often.
New York’s defense has held up relatively well, at least. They only cede 164.0 passing yards per game (2nd) and 20.0 PPG (10th). They have been vulnerable against the run, giving up 137.5 rushing yards per game (29th), but that doesn’t spell doom in today’s passing-centric NFL.
The Houston offense hasn’t been much better than New York’s so far, scoring just 18.5 points per game (26th).
Finding the endzone is pretty tough when you can’t move the ball through the air. Deshaun Watson, who averaged almost 270 yards in six full games last year, has put up just 223.5 YPG so far on 59.1% passing. He’s also thrown two picks and been sacked seven times.
Watson and RB Lamar Miller have at least been able to punish teams on the ground, averaging an NFL-best 157.5 rushing yards per game.
Facing a Giants defense that ranks 2nd against the pass, look for Houston to rely on Miller and their first-ranked running game all the more. It could be another tough one for Watson’s passing stats.
Defensively, the Texans are allowing 23.5 points per game, which ranks 19th in the NFL. They’ve been poor against the run, giving up 111.0 rushing yards per game (21st) but better defending the pass (225.0 passing yards per game, 12th).
You can bet Saquon Barkley will see more than his usual workload in Week 3.