2018 New York Giants Road Schedule Odds with Expert Picks and Predictions
I'm not going to go much into what the New York Giants were in 2017 when they finished 3-13, the club's worst mark since it went 3-12-1 in 1983 - the first year a guy named Bill Parcells was the head coach. Three seasons later, the Giants won a Super Bowl. These Giants almost surely aren't winning a Super Bowl this year or the next two.
What I will say is that it was time for the Giants to cut ties with Tom Coughlin following the 2015 season as the NFL had passed him by in terms of scheming. New York messed up big-time, though, by promoting offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo to head coach. That guy's a boob. Sometimes you can just tell. The McAdoo experiment didn't even last two years - shoot, even Ray Handley made it two full years - as his offenses were terrible and guys were openly rebelling against him.
The problem I have with the Giants is taking Penn State running back Saquon Barkley at No. 2 overall in this year's draft. Barkley was a phenomenal player in college and is the early NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year favorite. He should be, and I'm sure he will have a fine career. But, you can't pass up a franchise quarterback on a relatively cheap rookie deal. Barkley's $31 million guaranteed was the second-most in NFL history for a running back until Todd Gurley recently got $45 million guaranteed. Barkley shouldn't be one of the highest-paid players at his position as a rookie, and there's a reason teams don't hugely pay that position well any longer.
On the flip side, had the Giants taken someone like Sam Darnold at No. 2 overall, he could potentially be a financial steal for five seasons on his rookie deal. The best way to win the NFL these days, unless you have a Tom Brady or Aaron Rodgers, is to do so while your quarterback is still lower paid (think Seahawks with Russell Wilson or Eagles with Carson Wentz, although obviously he didn't play in the Super Bowl) and you can spread all that money around to other positions.
Think of an NFL roster from a grocery limited budget perspective. You can't be spending too much on beer or something (a running back) when you have much more important needs (feeding your kids). To make matters potentially worse for Big Blue, they let a potential superstar QB in Darnold slip to the back-page tabloid rival Jets. Barkley had better be amazing! By the way, the Giants already got bad news on another rookie as cornerback Sam Beal, a third-round supplemental choice expected to contribute right away, is done for the season.
The Giants were 1-7 on the road last season, 4-4 against the spread and 3-5 "over/under." New York travels to three playoff teams from 2017: Carolina, Atlanta and Philadelphia. The road slate looks a bit tougher than at home. I project a 2-6 road mark. Odds listed for the home team.
Sept. 16 at Cowboys (-6): Sunday night, with the Giants off their home opener vs. Coughlin's Jaguars. The Giants had started their season in Dallas each of the previous three years. Dallas took Ezekiel Elliott at No. 3 overall a couple of years ago, and that worked out extremely well his rookie year. New York foreshadowed its 2017 season with a 19-3 Week 1 loss in Big D. Key trend: Giants 5-5 ATS in past 10 as road dog in series.
Sept. 23 at Texans (-6): This is the only time this season that the Giants play back-to-back weeks on the road. Maybe they should just stay in Texas? (Maybe they will). J.J. Watt against that porous New York offensive line? Yikes! The Giants lost their first-ever meeting with the Texans but have taken the past three. Key trend: Giants 3-5 ATS at AFC South foes.
Oct. 7 at Panthers (-6): Never a good thing when you have to travel ahead of a Thursday night quick turnaround, but that's the case here as the G-Men host Philly on Thursday in Week 6. Bit of a revenge game for Giants GM Dave Gettleman, who was fired in 2016 by Carolina despite a 2015 Super Bowl appearance. And new Giants OC Mike Shula formerly held that role with the Panthers. New York lost last meeting in 2015. Key trend: Giants 2-2 ATS at Panthers.
Oct. 22 at Falcons (-6): Monday night, with the Giants essentially off a bye week thanks to the Thursday Eagles game. This is as close as New York will get to playing in this season's Super Bowl as Atlanta hosts. It's the Giants' first visit to Mercedes-Benz Stadium and great matchup of Julio Jones vs. Odell Beckham Jr. (although not on field at same time). Falcons won last meeting in 2015. Key trend: Giants 4-2 ATS at Falcons.
Nov. 12 at 49ers (-6.5): Monday night and the Giants are out of their bye. In Week 10 last year, winless San Francisco essentially ended McAdoo's reign with a 31-21 victory as several Giants defensive players clearly quit in the game. Key trend: Giants 4-6 ATS in past 10 out of bye (any location).
Nov. 25 at Eagles (-8.5): New Giants head coach Pat Shurmur spent 13 NFL seasons working for the Eagles. Philly was one of the few teams Eli Manning had success against last year. New York lost both but they were close; it was 27-24 on the road in Week 3. Manning threw for 366 yards and three scores as the Giants staged a huge fourth-quarter rally to tie. Key trend: Giants 1-4 ATS as at least a 7-point road dog in series.
Dec. 9 at Redskins (-1.5): Always entertaining when Redskins DB Josh Norman and Beckham battle - how many personal foul penalties this time? Although the NFL has legislated against that now. The Giants lost at Washington in an ugly Thanksgiving night game last year, 20-10. Manning was awful (13-for-27, 113 yards). Key trend: Giants 7-3 ATS in past 10 as road dog in series.
Dec. 23 at Colts (pick'em): This one could be moved to Saturday. Colts first-year head coach Frank Reich and Shurmur are both former Eagles offensive coordinators. Of course, Eli's brother Peyton and Colts QB Andrew Luck are intertwined in a way. New York has lost the past three in the series - including a Manning Bowl in 2010. Key trend: On the off chance this is a pick'em, Giants are 0-5 ATS in the five pick'em games on record (last 2013).
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