Expectations were low for Daniel Jones when he took over the role of starting quarterback for the New York Giants in week three. All he had to do was play better than how Eli Manning had been playing—and he has. After two starts, he is 2-0, the Giants are 2-2, and they are only one game back in the NFC East.
Does this mean it is safe to go ahead and get excited about the Giants? Some would say yes; many more would say no. But depending on how Sunday’s game vs. the Minnesota Vikings plays out, that could change.
According to DraftKings, the Vikings (-215) are favored by five points over the Giants (+185). Oddsmakers see the game as a low scoring one, too, with the over/under set at 43.5 total points.
Can Daniel Jones Remain Undefeated?
Jones will face easily his toughest test to date in the Vikings defense. Minnesota ranks sixth in the league in total yards allowed (312.8 per game), are ninth against the pass (218.5 yards/game) and are tough against the run as well (tenth; 94.3 yards/game).
While he has the offense playing well, even without Saquon Barkley in the backfield, Jones knows he has a real challenge on his hands this week (via ESPN):
“They are a good unit, a good team. We’ll be prepared. I think when you look at them, they are a strong front seven and they are good in the back end, too. I think we’ll be ready.”
The Vikings defense has 11 sacks on the year and three interceptions. But they have also allowed teams to complete 72.1 percent of their passes. For an accurate quarterback like Jones (he’s completed 69 percent of his passes), that could be the window the Giants need. If he can complete some passes and Golden Tate, Sterling Shephard, and Evan Engram can break a few tackles, the Giants could steal a win.
Of course, their defense is going to need to keep the Vikings offense from getting on track. From a statistical perspective, that looks like something easier said than done. The Giants defense ranks towards the bottom of the league in total yards allowed and passing yards allowed. But their run defense hasn’t been too bad (19th in the league; 109.8 yards/game allowed).
If the defense can slow Dalvin Cook down, they could force the Vikings to turn to Kirk Cousins. Since the Giants have the 25th ranked pass defense (279.5 yards/game allowed), that could be a bad thing. But with all of the issues the Vikings and Cousins have had in the passing game, they might be okay.
Or it could be the reason the Vikings pass offense finally wakes up.
Look for the Vikings pass offense to show signs of life for the first time this season. Jones and the Giants will have a good day throwing the ball as well. If the Giants can create a running game as they did against Washington (five players combined for 37 carries and gained 164 yards and a touchdown), Daniel Jones will get his third win of the season.
If they can’t, the Giants may still cover the spread.