Week 1 left Nostrathomas’ predictions bruised and battered. It was the first week in recent, or distant memory, where underdogs won more games than the favorites.
Last week, Nostrathomas was 3-1 in his best bet games but only 1-3 against the spread. The biggest frustration in that group came when the San Francisco 49ers stopped playing with 15 minutes left in the game. The Detroit Lions scored 16 fourth quarter points to slip within the spread by half a point.
Breaking Down the First 2021 NFC East Rivals Game
Overall, Nostrathomas went 8-8 straight up but only 6-10 against the spread over the entire slate of Week 1 games. Still, we don’t let one tough week get us down. Let’s get started on the Week 2 action.
New York Giants vs Washington Football Team -3.5 (Thursday Night Football; FedEx Field, Washington D.C.)
The Dallas Cowboys made a strong statement in their loss last Thursday night in Tampa against the Buccaneers. What this means for the New York Giants and Washington Football Team is that both need this early divisional win to keep pace in what looks to be a more competitive NFC East in 2021.
In Week 1, New York was dominated 27-13 by the Denver Broncos in their home opener. In Washington, the Football Team was dealt a tough loss by the Los Angeles Chargers, 20-16. Even worse for Washington, in the second quarter they lost starting quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick for a minimum of six to eight weeks with a hip injury.
Taylor Heinicke took over for Fitzpatrick and completed 11 passes in 15 attempts for 122 yards and one touchdown. Now he gets a chance to show what he can do as the man. He’ll be starting the third game in his four-year career but his first as the number one quarterback.
Looking through the statistics, there are a couple of surprises to be found between these two teams after one week of action.
In net passing yards per attempt and on defense in net passing yards per attempt allowed, the Giants came out of Week 1 rated higher than Washington. New York was also eighth in third down conversions after Week 1 while the Football Team was 24th. Finally, Washington’s defense allowed the Los Angeles Chargers to convert 73.7 percent of third down attempts.
The Giants are among the bottom third of NFL teams after Week 1 in most offensive statistics but, they did face Vic Fangio’s Denver Broncos defense.
For Washington’s offense, can they take advantage of a demonstrated weakness by the Giants in stopping the run? New York surrendered 5.9 yards per carry last week to Melvin Gordon and Javonte Williams. Can Antonio Gibson build on his strong Week 1 effort when he gained 90 yards on 20 carries to help Heinicke keep the offense moving?
While a majority of the statistical analysis makes this game look like one that the Football Team can put in the win column, there are a few trends that make me pause from pulling that trigger.
New York quarterback Daniel Jones has lost all five of his prime-time appearances. However, he is 4-0 in his career against the Football Team. Jones has thrown eight touchdown passes against three interceptions in those games with a passer rating of 100.0.
As a team, the Giants are on a five-game winning streak against Washington and have won seven of the last nine meetings. They’ve also won three of their last four in Washington.
Normally Nostrathomas would recommend that, with all else being equal, put your cash behind the team with the better quarterback. That doesn’t apply here. Heinicke is practically unknown as a starter and Jones has yet to live up to his potential as a sixth overall draft pick.
Washington holds the definitive edge in 21 of the 25 team statistics that Nostrathomas uses to analyze games and that is going to have to be the tipping point here. Take the Football Team to win and cover.
Washington Football Team 23 New York Giants 18