Game time: 4:25 p.m. ET; Sept. 12, 2021
Venue: MetLife Stadium, East Rutherford, NJ
Where to watch: FOX
Opening Odds at USA Sportsbooks
DraftKings: Broncos -3; O/U 42; Broncos -160, Giants +140
BetMGM: Broncos -2.5; O/U 42.5; Broncos -139, Giants +120
Caesars: Broncos -2.5; O/U 42; Broncos -150, Giants +130
2020 season record
Broncos: 5-11 (Last place, AFC West)
Giants: 6-10 (T-2nd, NFC East)
Ben Burns WON BIG in the preseason, as per usual. His two biggest plays involved the Patriots and the Dolphins. His #1 SIDE was on the Giants when they covered against the Patriots. His #1 total was on the Dolphins/Falcons 'over' the total. Those teams hook up for Week 1 in an important divisional matchup. Catch Ben’s and other plays available right now at the Shop Picks page, where you can find all of the Best Bets from our champion sports handicappers.
Broncos - Giants preview and analysis
There aren’t many bad games in Week 1, but there always tends to be a stinker come the 4:25 hour. No exception here with the Denver Broncos traveling to MetLife Stadium to take on the New York Giants on Sunday.
Talent level on both sides indicate these teams should absolutely be better than 2020. The Broncos went 5-11, but that was without top receiver Courtland Sutton and edge rusher Von Miller.
Sutton was a breakout star for Denver in 2019, catching 72 passes for 1,112 yards and six touchdowns. Getting him back to speed with second-year wide-out Jerry Jeudy on the other side, and with Noah Fant coming off a career-high 62-catch season, Denver’s passing attack should improve from the 215.7 it mustered a season ago.
Another reason why that should lead to change is the change at quarterback itself with Teddy Bridgewater being named the starter in Denver. He takes over for Drew Lock after throwing 16 touchdowns and 15 interceptions last season.
The Carolina Panthers traded Bridgewater to Denver one year removed from signing him to a three-year, $63 million contract. His revised deal in 2021 pays him $11.5 million before testing free agency again in 2022. The former Minnesota Vikings quarterback threw for 3,733 yards with 15 touchdowns last season, while completing nearly 70 percent of his passes.
Denver’s quarterback situation sounds much better than what’s going on with the Giants. After going 6-10 last season, the Giants need to start seeing better, and consistent, play from former sixth overall pick Daniel Jones entering Year 3.
Jones passed for 2,943 yards last season to only the tune of 11 touchdowns. He did have to go nearly the entire season without Saquon Barkley after a season-ending knee injury two games in. A healthy Barkley takes a good portion of the pressure off, but Jones still needs to take that next leap under head coach Joe Judge. New York added Kenny Golladay from Detroit and signed tight end Kyle Rudolph, and also drafted Florida receiver Kadarius Toney at No. 21 overall.
New York’s defense allowed 22.3 points per game a season ago, the fifth-best in the NFC, and was only one of five teams to allow 20 points or fewer in more than half of its games. All six of the Giants’ wins came when they held those teams to 20 points or fewer. It’s a tough unit that’s going to play stingy even if the offense isn’t good enough to keep things afloat.
DEN - NYG Prediction
This is bound to be a slugfest in which both defenses won’t give up a lot. Barkley’s presence will alleviate some of the stress on Jones, but it comes down to which quarterback can make the fewest mistakes. In a game of field generals, Bridgewater is the safe choice. Broncos with the under, 17-14.
The Giants are 2-9 straight up in their last 11 games when an underdog of seven points or less.
The under is 9-7 in the Broncos’ last 16 games.
Players to watch
Broncos: Melvin Gordon’s first season in Denver was a success. He had 986 yards and nine touchdowns after spending the first five years of his career with the Los Angeles Chargers. He and Todd Gurley are the only two running backs with at least 800 yards from scrimmage in the past six seasons.
Giants: Look for Jones to find a lot of Evan Engram after making his first Pro Bowl in 2020. Engram had only one touchdown but caught 63 passes for 654 yards. Look for him to be a dangerous red zone target.
Statistical leaders from 2020
Passing: Drew Lock -- 2,933 yards, 16 TD, 15 INT
Rushing: Melvin Gordon III - 986 yards, 9 TD
Receiving: Jerry Jeudy -- 856 yards, 3 TD
Defense: Malik Redd -- 8 sacks; Alexander Johnson -- 124 tackles
Passing: Daniel Jones -- 2,943 yards, 11 TD, 10 INT
Rushing: Wayne Gallman -- 682 yards, 6 TD
Receiving: Darius Slayton -- 751 yards, 3 TD
Defense: Blake Martinez -- 151 tackles; Leonard Williams -- 11.5 sacks
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