Saquon Barkley or Sam Darnold? It’s a debate that will last for years in the Big Apple as long as the stars continue to shine. But Barkley will forever have a leg up after being taken second overall by the New York Giants, one spot ahead of Darnold, who was taken third by the rival Jets. Both had impressive debuts, however Darnold got his team a win, and isn’t that all that matters? Barkley will matchup with one of the best running backs in the game on Sunday night when the G-Men visit the Dallas Cowboys in a Week 2 showdown.
Watch this Week 2 regular season matchup live on Sunday, September 16, 2018, at 8:20 p.m. ET at ATT Stadium.
NFL Opening Odds at BookMaker.eu
New York Giants +3
Dallas Cowboys -3
The opening line was wagered down a half point with the Giants getting nearly 70 percent of the early money. Neither team was inspired last week, but the Cowboys have the benefit of home field and with it comes the current line of -3. The betting public doesn’t foresee an offensive battle with the under a strong pick even at the relatively low total of 42.5.
Olivier Vernon – With a number of changes on defense, the Giants are hoping to rework a group that was not very good last season. One player expected to play a pivotal role in the makeover is Vernon, who was brought in two years ago and led the Giants to a top-10 ranking. His specialty is rushing the passer and the Giants could use some of that after getting just one quarterback sack and four hits on Blake Bortles. Vernon missed the opener with an ankle injury and is questionable to return to the lineup for Sunday’s game.
Travis Frederick – Every football fan knows the story by now, but it’s worth repeating. The All-Pro center is out indefinitely following his diagnosis of Guillain Barre Syndrome and the line was affected by his absence against Carolina. Frederick missed the first game of his career and the offense suffered. The Boys managed just 232 total yards, Ezekiel Elliott had 69 yards on 15 carries and Dak Prescott was sacked six times. Ouch.
Matchup to Watch
Changes along the line didn’t help, but the Cowboys were going against the NFL’s third-best run defense from last year in the opener. The Panthers held Zeke to 69 yards on only 15 carries and the Boys amassed 94 for the game. Elliott’s average was a plump 4.6 yards per carry, but the Cowboys couldn’t stay on the field, converting just 2 of 11 third-downs.
Zeke and the Boys look for better success in the run game against a Giants team that struggled last season and didn’t show much improvement in the opener. New York allowed nearly 121 yards on the ground last season to rank 27th, and they surrendered 137 yards on 28 carries to Jacksonville. And it wasn’t Leonard Fournette doing the damage. T.J. Yeldon tallied 51 yards and Bortles added 42. Fournette had 41 yards on nine carries before leaving the game. This is a good week for Zeke and the Boys to flash some offense.
Player to Watch
The Giants have something the Cowboys don’t, and expect Odell Beckham Jr. to play a significant role in this game. OBJ is without a doubt the Giants top receiving threat. They aren’t paying him all that money to be a decoy. Meanwhile, the Cowboys are trying to figure out what they have among their group that doesn’t include Jason Witten and Dez Bryant.
In his first action since breaking his ankle in Week 5 last season, OBJ got plenty of work against Jacksonville. Beckham was targeted 15 times by Eli Manning with 11 catches for 111 yards. His longest reception was only 24 yards and you can expect the Giants to take some shots against a Dallas defense that isn’t quite like Sacksonville’s
Free ATS Pick
Both teams struggled on offense last week, which is a bit surprising considering all the talent on that side of the football. But they did go against some stingy teams, which helped in keeping the scores down. Look for the offenses to catch up this week, and with a total that is the lowest on the board for Sunday’s games, this one can go over.
Neither team wants to start 0-2 and with this being a division encounter, there is added importance. The Giants are more diverse on offense with Barkley and OBJ and they will keep the Boys on their toes. Prescott has had difficulty in the passing game and the Giants will key on Zeke, giving them enough for the outright road win.
NFL Betting Odds: Giants 23, Cowboys 20
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