It turns out the Giants will play in a big game this season.
The Washington Football Team’s trip to MetLife Stadium on Oct. 18 should be circled on the calendar. It’s the only time in the final 12 games that the Giants (0-4) are likely to play as a favorite, according to projections from two bookmakers.
So, the doomsday crowd anticipating the Giants will finish 0-16 either will be silenced or gain credence in less than two weeks.
“I think that game could open up as a pick ’em, maybe Giants favored by a point,” said Thomas Gable, director of race and sports at Borgata. “It’s tough to say they would be favored as the opener in any other game on the schedule. They play in a very poor division overall, so they’ll probably win at least one, probably two of those NFC East games.”
In fact, the Westgate SuperBook installed the Giants as a 3.5-point favorite over Washington (1-3) on its lookahead line.
BetMGM listed the Giants’ win total at 4.5 — before losing their best player, Saquon Barkley, to a season-ending injury.
“It’s very tough to go winless,” Gable said.
But the Giants do not face any of the other winless teams (Jets, Texans, Falcons) and their 0-4 start is against a softer schedule than their peers’. Giants’ opponents have a .548 winning percentage compared to at least .609 for the three others.
“You can’t ride a roller coaster in this league,” Giants coach Joe Judge said. “It’s a long season. There’s a lot of ball to be played. We are an improved team from last week. We have to make sure we don’t have self-inflicted wounds that stop us from having the wins we need.”
There have been only five winless NFL seasons since 1944, including two 0-16’s (2008 Lions, 2016 Browns). The ball usually bounces the way of a win, but gut feelings are difficult to figure into creating a point spread.
“They won’t be much of an underdog at Washington, either, because even in the best of times, [Washington] never really had much of a home-field advantage since they moved into the new ballpark,” said Chris Andrews, manager of South Point sportsbook. “The Bengals are probably a little better than advertised. Who knows? A lot of things change during the course of the year.”
If the Giants lose Oct. 18, they will be upset-reliant to avoid history. Here is a look at the 12 remaining games, grouped by winnability.
NFC L-East (6): at Cowboys (Sunday); vs. Washington (Oct. 18); at Eagles (Oct. 22); at Washington (Nov. 8); vs. Eagles (Nov. 15); vs. Cowboys (Jan. 3).
Same old tune of optimism here. But is it warranted?
The NFC East has produced only two total double-digit win teams in the last three seasons, but it hasn’t benefited the Giants, who have lost six straight to the Cowboys and 10 of 11 to the Eagles. The home-and-home with Washington has produced splits in four of the last five seasons.
Forget It (3): vs. Buccaneers (Nov. 2); at Seahawks (Dec. 2); at Ravens (Dec. 27).
Beat quarterbacks Tom Brady, Russell Wilson or Lamar Jackson? Even for an overachieving defense, that’s a three-time MVP, the reigning MVP and the early-season favorite for MVP.
These teams are a combined 10-2 and all have a point differential of at least plus-28 because they play defense, too.
With a Little Luck (3): at Bengals (Nov. 29); vs. Cardinals (Dec. 13); vs. Browns (Dec. 20).
Hold off on labeling any of these three perennial non-playoff teams as unbeatable.
Giants-Browns will have plenty of juice if a healthy Odell Beckham Jr. faces his old team — especially after his three-touchdown performance against the once-rival Cowboys.
The enigmatic Cardinals started 2-0 but just lost to the lowly Lions and Panthers. Kyler Murray already is 1-0 head-to-head against Daniel Jones in the matchup of the top two quarterbacks drafted in 2019.
The Bengals are 4-24 in their last 28 games and have a talent shortage similar to the Giants’, but rookie quarterback Joe Burrow appears to be changing the loser’s mindset