We’re on to Arizona.
It’s Week 2 and the New York Giants will travel across the country to take on the Arizona Cardinals in the first of two NFC West road games. The Giants are reeling from a disastrous season opener, but they get the chance at a bounce-back game against a team that could (should, and probably will) be in the driver’s seat of the Caleb Wilson Sweepstakes.
The Giants schedule to open 2023 is pretty brutal, so they need to win the games they should win. This game is a great opportunity for the Giants, and they should be able to get to a 1-1 record. The Giants should also present some pretty favorable bets in the game — and there are a couple on the Cardinals side if you want to put money there as well.
Daniel Jones: 45+ Rushing Yards (+150)
The Giants are going to let Daniel Jones carry the ball. Quarterback runs, whether they’re designed runs, read-option plays, “scrambles” off of play-action bootleg plays, or part of packaged plays, are a staple in the Giants’ offense. There was a time when we thought that if the quarterback was a primary ball carrier, it meant that something was going very wrong with your running game. Now, it’s just another opportunity for the offense to scheme a numbers advantage.
Jones carried the ball 143 times in 2022 (120 carries in the regular season, 23 in the playoffs). He averaged 44.3 yards per game last year, 51.0 yards per game in the playoffs. Last week, he had 13 carries against Dallas, and though much of that was him trying to make something happen, he still had 43 yards. I don’t expect the offense to be in dire straights this week, but we’re still going to see Jones run the ball.
It isn’t really a stretch to think he could pick up three more yards against a defense that doesn’t have anything like the speed and talent of Dallas’ defense.
Darren Waller: Anytime Touchdown (+180)
The strength of the Cardinals’ defense is in the secondary, but Waller has two big things going for him here.
The first is opportunity. Waller was tied with Isaiah Hodgins for the most targets (5) and the Giants have already shown a desire to move him around the offensive formation. Everyone already knows that the ball is going to go Waller’s way. However, there might not be all that much Arizona can do about it. Waller (6-foot-6) has a stark size advantage over CBs Kei’Trel Clark (5-foot-10) and Marco Wilson (6-foot), safeties Budda Baker (5-foot-10), K’Von Wallace (5-foot-11), nickel Jalen Thompson (5-foot-11). Only S/LB Kyzir White (6-foot-2) is close to being a size/speed match for Waller.
Marquise Brown: 50+ receiving yards (+125)
The Cardinals offense is still very new, and not very good. Josh Dobbs has only just arrived and his first meaningful snaps were in Week 1, and you can tell looking at how the offense played. But even so, it’s still somewhat surprising that Hollywood Brown only had 28 receiving yards.
I hardly expect the Cardinals passing game to explode against the Giants. But given Brown’s legit 4.3 speed, he only needs a couple catches to double his Week 1 performance. Josh Dobbs isn’t the kind of QB to air it out, but both Brown’s speed makes him a vertical threat and dangerous after the catch..
The Giants’ rookie corners weren’t the main problems against Dallas, but they’re still rookies and mistakes can happen. Brown is the type of player who can turn a missed tackle, slip, or coverage breakdown into a big play.
Saquon Barkley: 90+ rushing yards (+165)
The Giants’ offensive line is obviously a concern, particularly with Andrew Thomas’ status in question. On the flip side, Arizona nose tackle Leki Fotu is listed as “questionable” on their injury report
The Cardinals’ defense isn’t the Cowboys’ defense and the Giants’ probably won’t be forced to abandon the run early on. That means there should be more than 12 carries for Saquon Barkley. The Cardinals’ defense plays hard, rallies to the ball, and only had two missed tackles last week. However, 20 carries and 4.6 yards per carry will get Barkley to 92 yards on the ground. That should certainly be doable against the Cardinals.
Zach Ertz: Anytime Touchdown (+390)
I honestly don’t even want to write this, but this bet just stands out. Ertz has been a thorn in the Giants’ side for a long time now, and it’s just engrained in Giants fans to wince whenever the ball goes a tight end’s way.
Ertz saw 10 targets last week, twice as many as the next most-targeted players. Jake Ferguson had a bad game against the Giants last week and he still saw seven targets. If the Cardinals are able to work their way into scoring position, we should expect to see Ertz get a look. The Giants’ defense made some good plays against Ferguson, but he also had opportunities that he just missed. Unfortunately, we can’t expect Ertz to drop passes if he gets them with separation.
I don’t expect the Cardinals to not score an offensive touchdown again this week, and if they get a receiving touchdown, odds are that Ertz will be on the receiving end.
Same Game Parlay: NY Giants / NY Giants - Half Time / Full Time + Over 22.5 - NY Giants Total Points + Saquon Barkley Anytime Touchdown Scorer + Daniel Jones Anytime Touchdown Scorer (+675)
The Cardinals are widely considered to be among the worst teams in the NFL, if not the worst. And thanks to the Giants performance in Week 1, this game has gone from a “should win” to a “must win”.
That said, this is still a game the Giants should win.
Arizona has some players on the offensive side of the ball, but some pretty exploitable weaknesses — namely Josh Dobbs and the right side of their offensive line. Wink Martindale should be able to neutralize their offense and it probably won’t take much for the Giants to lead at the half, or end of the game.
If this is going to be anything like a bounce-back game, the Giants need their offense to come together. We’ll likely see the Giants come out running the ball to take pressure off of their offensive line (particularly in pass protection). Saquon Barkley was the Giants’ best player against Dallas, and it would be a surprise if Mike Kafka and Brian Daboll didn’t feed him. He’s going to see plenty of touches and targets, likely from the Giants’ first offensive play of the game.
Brian Daboll kept Daniel Jones in the game longer than he probably should have against Dallas, with the explanation that he wanted to get something positive going. It wouldn’t be a surprise if the Giants take some shots against the Cardinals’ quarters defense to get Jones in the black early as well. Cardinals head coach Jonathan Gannon is familiar with the Giants’ offense from last year, but Kafka and Daboll can use that against him.
If the Giants are able to get their rushing and passing attacks going, are ahead at half time, and come away with the win, they’ve probably scored more than 22 points against a depleted Cardinals defense.