Submitted by Jim Hurley on Wednesday, September 24, 2014 at 7:00 PM
After the first week of NFL action in the 2014 season, it looked like both the New York Giants and the Washington Redskins were in serious trouble. New York was dominated by Detroit in a Monday Night game, showing everyone they were struggling with their new West Coast offense. Washington played poorly in Houston, barely threatening to score for their new head coach.
Things are looking up a few weeks later as both teams get ready for a head-to-head meeting in this week’s Thursday Night TV game. But, the LOSER of that game will be saddled with a 1-3 straight up record. And, it’s very hard to matter in the NFL when you go 1-3 in September!
Let’s review what’s happened so far to see which team is more likely to make a ran at a Wildcard behind prohibitive NFC East favorite Philadelphia (who’s off to a 3-0 start).
Won-Lost Records (Strength of Schedule)
NY Giants: 1-2 (lost at Detroit, lost to Arizona, beat Houston)
Washington: 1-2 (lost at Houston, beat Jax, lost at Philadelphia)
Washington can be confident because they’ve played much better with Kirk Cousins than they had with the injured RGIII. Washington crushed the Jaguars, then hung very tough on the road with Philadelphia last week. To this point, the Redskins are at least playing at “.500 caliber” with Cousins, even though the record doesn’t show it. The Giants really struggled to execute in their two losses to Detroit and Arizona. And, the win over Houston was partially polluted by the fact that Texans were in a horrible travel sequence. Houston had to play in Oakland the prior week on the other side of the country, and were in a letdown spot after a 2-0 start. What turned out to be an easy Giants victory may have only proven that New York can beat flat, jet-lagged visitors! Washington will be neither flat nor jet-lagged Thursday Night.
NY Giants: 4.9 on offense, 5.9 on defense
Washington: 6.1 on offense, 5.0 on defense
Wow…HUGE difference there! These teams so even when you look at the won-lost records. Clearly, Washington has been doing the much better job on both sides of the field. The offense is more than a yard-per-play better, and the defense is almost there too. Now, Washington has had the easier schedule because Jacksonville was in the mix. But, that’s not as big a factor as you might think. Washington beat potent Philly last week 6.7 to 5.7 in yards-per-play. The giants lost the stat 6.6 to 5.9 even though they won the game.
NY Giants: -3
The Giants have been extremely turnover prone trying to adjust to this new offense. You have to assume that those problems will continue on the road against a fired up defense that’s played surprisingly well this year. Maybe the pressure will start getting to Kirk Cousins with expectations being so high for this game. That could lead to sloppy performances for both offenses. But, based only on recent form in these schematics…bit edges so far for the home team.
NY Giants: 1-2 ATS
Washington: 2-1 ATS (2-0 in games played mostly by Cousins)
The market overestimated Griffin and underestimated Cousins. It’s hard to know for sure if the Giants are closer to being pegged correctly because Houston was such a no-show last week. If New York “found” itself last week, then they could offer good value going forward. If that was a one-time fluke as the kinks continue to get worked out, then the trends you see above could continue for awhile.
Current Line: Washington by 3.5, total of 44.5
That’s not a line that makes sense based on the math we’ve seen so far. That doesn’t mean it’s wrong. Informed bettors could be correct that Washington has played over its head with Cousins…and there may be an assessment that Eli Manning now has things figured out. What that line is telling you, since home field advantage by itself is worth three points, is that the market doesn’t see much difference between these teams right now. Handicappers must determine if that’s a fair representation or not.
JIM HURLEY definitely has an opinion in this game thanks to what he’s learned from his New York sources! You can purchase that plus the very best from the three-game college slate right here at the website with your credit card. If you have any questions about seasonal packages, or combination packages for football and baseball, call us in the office at 1-888-777-4155. Don’t forget that the baseball playoffs start in just a few days!
We move over to college football tomorrow and Saturday here in the NOTEBOOK. The coming schedule…
Friday: College Football Preview…Missouri at South Carolina
Saturday: College Football TV Preview…Notre Dame vs. Syracuse
Sunday: NFL Sunday Night TV Preview…New Orleans at Dallas
Monday: NFL Monday Night TV Preview…New England at Kansas City
Another big football weekend kicks off Thursday Night. Be sure you GET ALL THE MONEY with BIG, JUICY WINNERS from JIM HURLEY’S NETWORK!