The New York Giants fell just short of the playoffs a year ago. The Denver Broncos haven’t been there since 2016. The Broncos and Giants are two teams in similar spots. These are two teams looking to take that next step and get back to the postseason, and they start against each other in Week 1.
Daniel Jones vs. The Broncos Defense
It’s safe to say that this is a big year for Daniel Jones. After posting up 24 TDs in his rookie season in 2019, the Duke product would regress. Despite playing in one more game than he did in the previous year, Jones would throw 13 less touchdowns. His passer rating went down by 7 points as well and his sacks went up from 38 to 45 in 2020 with a very anemic O-Line. The Giants went out to get Jones some weapons- Kenny Golladay, 2021 first-rounder Kadarius Toney, and Kyle Rudolph. Along with Saquan Barkley returning healthy after an ACL tear ended his 2020 early, and Darius Slayton and Sterling Shepard returning. This is where The Broncos and Giants contrast.
Meanwhile, the Broncos defense is one that’s loaded with talent. Edge rusher Von Miller returns after missing all of 2020 after being put on injured reserve. He teams back up with Bradley Chubb, who’s coming off a 7.5 sack season a year ago. Dre’Mont Jones, Mike Purcell, and Shelby Harris fill out the defensive line.
The linebacking duo of Alex Johnson and Josey Jewell returns after both had 100+ tackle seasons. And in the secondary, they made the moves to add Ronald Darby. Kyle Fuller, and first round pick Patrick Surtain II in the offseason. The cornerback will be revamped, including Bryce Callahan, who only allowed a 47.8 passer rating last year.
In short, Jones and the Giants offense will have their work cut out for them.
Can The Broncos Offense Come Together?
This is a problem that the Broncos have had for years now. The offense has been the kryptonite for this team, even dating back to their Super Bowl year in 2016 at times. This year, Teddy Bridgewater gets the start after beating out Drew Lock in the preseason. While Lock is the gunslinger with the big arm, Bridgewater is the more safe option coming over from Carolina. After all, it is a positon that has been lacking stability for a long time now. Since Vic Fangio became the head coach in 2019, Denver has had six different quarterbacks start for them. Including this game from last season.
The receiving corps, while talented, were not exempt from their struggles in 2020. As a rookie, Jerry Jeudy suffered from a number of drops, 10 of them specifically. Fellow rookie receiver KJ Hamler was not far behind with seven drops of his own. Tight End Noah Fant had another five drops. While Hamler will be out for this game, they will get Courtland Sutton back after he missed all of 2020.
Melvin Gordan had a bounce back season a year ago with a 215/986/9 campaign. However, they did lose some depth with Phillip Lindsay leaving for Houston in the offseason and cutting Royce Freeman after the preseason. Gordan and rookie Javonte Williams look to build off the 13th ranked rushing attack last year.
Dealing With The Giants Defense
If there’s any reason to believe in the Giants this year, it will be for their defense. In 2020, the G-Men ranked in the top 10 in rushing yards allowed and rushing TDs allowed. In addition, they ranked in the top five in passing TDs allowed.
The focal point of this team is their secondary, led by James Bradberry. In his first year in the Big Apple, Bradberry would break out. With 3 interceptions and a career-high 18 pass breakups, Bradberry was elected to his first career Pro Bowl. Adoree’ Jackson comes over from Tennessee to align him opposite Bradberry. Jabrill Peppers and Logan Ryan will return as the safety tandem, with Xavier McKinney looking to see snaps as well.
Up front, they did lose DT Dalvin Tomlinson to Minnesota. However, they still have Leonard Williams and Dexter Lawrence on the defensive line. Williams had his best year yet in terms of sacks, when he logged his first double-digit season with 11.5 of them. The 342 pound Lawrence, while being instrumental to containing the run, also helped in the pass rush last year with 4.5 sacks of his own. With this talent plus Blake Martinez in the linebacking grouo, there’s no reason to think this defense can’t get even better in 2021.
Broncos / Giants Prediction
In all likelihood, this would be a low scoring game. The Broncos and Giants are two similar teams. Two teams with good running games, loads of defensive talent, and suspect passing games. This game could definitely go either way, but I will predict a win for the Broncos with a 21-13 victory.
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