Written by: Tony “The Prophet” Yantosca
The Prophet gave you one of his “Stone Cold Lead Pipe Locks” last week predicting that the Giants would lose by more than 6 at home to the Steelers. The Giants were coming off a preseason with no OTA’s or preseason games with a totally new coaching staff. They had to play one of the top 3 defenses in the league (the most sacks in 2019) with a newly revamped offensive line that only spelled trouble with a capital T.
However, there were some bright spots for the Giants:
- The team looked crisper with Joe Judge as the coach and there was good effort even though they lost.
- You could tell immediately that the special teams looked much better than under the McAdoo and Shurmur administrations. It makes sense as Judge was a previous special teams coach. Peppers had 3 punt returns for 39 yards with a long return of 20 yards. I can’t remember the last time this happened.
- I am not a Gettleman fan, but his pick of Darius Slayton in the 5th round last year was brilliant! Since week 5 of last year, he has the most touchdowns receiving at 10. He added 2 against a tough Steeler defense. Since the start of last year, Slayton has three games of 100+ yards and 2 touchdowns. The only other player to achieve that is Chris Godwin of the Buccaneers. Michael Thomas, Julio Jones, Davante Adams or DeAndre Hopkins have not achieved this.
- Daniel Jones has thrown at least 1 touchdown pass in 13 straight games. That is the 4th longest streak ever. The leader is Kurt Warner at 23, Baker Mayfield at 17 and Brad Johnson at 15. However, Jones had 2 more interceptions. Jones has had 25 turnovers in his first 13 games! If you are only -2 in turnover ratio, you only have a 20% chance to win.
- Blake Martinez continues to do what he has done at the Packers at that is be a tackling machine. He had 12 tackles with 8 solo tackles vs the Steelers. Since 2017 he leads the NFL in tackles with 453.
- Stop the presses, Leonard Williams got a sack matching his total from last year!!! He had 5 tackles (4 solo), 2 tackles for loss and 2 quarterback hits. I think all the negative press and pressure from Giants Nation is finally making him perform.
Looking at this week’s game, this is the first time that the Giants have played the Bears three years in a row since 1993. They lost to the Bears last year 19-14 at Chicago. What I remember from this game is the fumble by Jones in the 3rd quarter. It was a sack fumble by Mack. The Bears got a touchdown to go ahead 19-7. Jones threw a touchdown to Tate with 5 minutes left but it was too little, too later. The Giants won in 2018, 30-27 in overtime at Met Life Stadium.
The first issue to address is Saquon Barkley. He looked terrible last week vs the Steelers defense. He rushed for 6 yards on 15 carries for his career worst 0.4 yards/carry. He did have 60 yards on 6 receptions. He looked very bad and was partially responsible for the 3 sacks (one was 100% on him) and the multiple hits Jones took. Tiki Barber called him out publicly saying that he was not a 3 down back. I mentioned in my Preseason Manifesto that the only weakness for Barkley is his pass protection. He, to this point does not want to get in the fray.
Barkley did not have a great game last year vs the Bears, He only ran for 59 yards on 17 carries, 3.5 yards/carry. The Bears kept him out of the passing game last year. Barkley only had I yard on 2 catches. There is hope for Barkley based on last week results. The Lions ran for 139 yards. A reborn Adrian Peterson ran for 93 yards on 14 carries, 6.6 yards/carry!
The Giants need to establish the run game to keep Khalil Mack, Robert Quinn and Akiem Hicks off of Jones. The Giants offensive line played okay given it was their first game together as a group with no preseason. Andrew Thomas was respectable going against Bud Dupree. It was a baptism of fire and welcome to the NFL, rookie!
Stafford threw for 297 yards vs the Bears last week. If Danny Dimes has time, he can do some damage. I think that Tate will play so this should be the first time Jones will have all his weapons, Slayton, Sheppard, Tate and Engram on the field for a game. Jones did manage to throw for 279 yards last week vs the number one pass rush. If he can do the same, the Giants can win. Sheppard looked bad last week. He did catch all 6 of his targets but it was only for 47 yards. There was an Amber Alert all game for Evan Engram. He had 2 catches for 9 yards on 7 targets! Engram is becoming persona non grata. If he keeps this up, I would cut him at the end of the year. The Bears gave up 5 catches for 56 yards to tight end, TJ Hockenson last week. The Bears have decent corners, Kyle Fuller and Jaylon Johnson.
When Chicago has the ball, the Giants defense has to worry about Allen Robinson and Anthony Miller. Robinson had 6 catches for 131 yards on 10 targets and a touchdown in the game last year. Miller had 6 catches for 77 yards on 9 targets. Bradberry will be 1 on 1 on Robinson. I would shade help to cover him. They may cover Miller with a zone. The Giants got killed on rub routes last week. I’m sure it was very obvious to Chicago when they saw the tape. The Giants need better communication between the defensive backs. It is one of the problems when there is no preseason and you have young defensive backs like Holmes, Love and Ballentine, who was targeted unmercifully by Big Ben as the weak link! Trubisky hit 11 different receivers, running backs and tight ends. So, he can spread the ball, around. Tight end, Jimmy Graham had 1 touchdown and nearly had a second. He looks to be the Bears’ 2020 Lazarus Award player.
Speaking of Trubisky, he was in a coma for 3 quarters vs the Lions last week. As soon as DB, Truffant, went down, he saved the game getting 3 touchdowns in the 4th quarter. He was efficient. He did it on 76 yards passing and 20 rushing yards in that quarter.
The Chicago running game isn’t scary but they did get 149 yards in this game. It may be significant given that the Steelers ran for 141 yards last week.
Let’s look at the spread analysis for this game. The Giants are 10-2 against the spread last 12 as a road underdog. They are 12-3 ATS the last 15 on the road. They are 5-1 ATS last 6 vs Chicago and 5-0 ATS on the road vs. Chicago. Chicago is 3-10 ATS last 13 games. So, what we have here is the “Preponderance of the Evidence” (a Prophet registered trademark term) pointing toward the Giants. I have been saying for the last 3 years that the Giants play better on the road. Maybe there is less pressure away from Met Life given their poor record the past 3 years. The numbers back it up!
Now for the pick. I am calling this close game Chicago 23 and the Giants 21 based on the evidence. I have a small legal wager both on the Giants +5.5 and the Giants money line at +205. The official pick is above, but I can see the Giants winning this game 24 to 20.
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