Thursday Night Football Best Bet

I hate to say it, but I am on the Giants tonight. I really shouldn’t give myself a reason to pay attention to this game, but as far as TNF tilts go, this is a game between two NFC East contenders. As bad as that NFC East is, one of these teams will be hosting a playoff game in January, so we may as well pay a little bit of attention to the poor East teams.

Daniel Jones vs. Carson Wentz

If you were reading a preview of a future matchup bewteen Wentz and Dimez back in the summer, you could have reasonably expected it would be a battle between two top 15 QBs. Instead, it’s a pillow fight between two of the worst quarterbacks in the league. Wentz at least has the excuse that his receiving core has been decimated. Dimez doesn’t have that excuse, but he does have the excuse of being a second-year quarterback coming off a COVID non-training camp.

While we can cut Wentz some slack for not having his receiving core intact, the cavalry isn’t coming back tonight. When it comes to QBR, Jones and Wentz are back to back with Jones at #23 (55.5) and Wentz at #24 (51.1). These are two below-average quarterbacks, but Jones at least has youth and a little foot speed on his side.

Injury Report

Not only will Wentz be relying once again on Travis Fulgham at wide receiver, but RB Miles Sanders and TE Zach Ertz have been ruled out with injuries. Sanders took pressure off Wentz with his big-play ability on the ground and also provided him with a security blanket to check down to. Sanders’ injury is what tipped the scales for me on this game. The Ertz injury is nearly as significant, as the Eagles’ other pass-catching tight end, Dallas Goedert, is also out. This is in addition to the injuries to Alshon Jeffrey, DeSean Jackson, and first-round pick Jalen Reagor.

Bottom Line

Take a look at the Giants schedule. They opened with the Steelers and then had to play a top-five D in Chicago, a brutal start for a young offense. In order of games played, here is where the Giants opponent’s defenses rank per DVOA: 2, 5, 11, 13, 28, 7. The 28 is Dallas, and a game the Giants should have won. The Eagles rank 19, two spots below the Giants in defensive DVOA. Overall, New York ranks #30 to the Eagles at #31. Even before the new injuries are considered, there is no good reason the Eagles should be considered a 3-point favorite on a neutral field to the Giants. Without Ertz and Sanders, I’ll hold my nose and take the Giants.

The Pick: Giants +4.5

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