The Giants are coming home on Sunday. And to what should be a big party.
Big Blue is flying high after last week’s dramatic rally over the Titans. And now they have a chance to improve to 2-0 in front of their loyal fans at MetLife Stadium? Against the sloppy Panthers (1 p.m., FOX)? With Ben McAdoo involved? Sign them up.
But we caution: Everyone thought this team was going to stink. After one good half, we’re talking surprise playoff run. It’s likely wise to pump the brakes.
The Giants are 2.5-point home favorites, according to Sports Betting Dime. Here are ESNY’s staff picks:
Josh Benjamin (1-1 against the spread, 1-1 straight-up). Brian Daboll made everyone eat their words with a surprising Week 1 win against the favored Titans. Hot take coming, they’ll go 2-0 and beat the Carolina Panthers thanks to a revitalized offense and Baker Mayfield being, well, Baker Mayfield. Daboll isn’t afraid to take risks and proved he can make key adjustments mid-game, and he has a healthy Saquon Barkley. Look for him to outcoach Matt Rhule as the Giants stun everyone again. Giants 24, Panthers 20.
Ryan Honey, staff writer (1-1, 1-1). I’ve got to go with the Giants on this one. The halftime adjustments defensive coordinator Wink Martindale made to only allow seven second-half points from the Titans caught my eye, especially considering how bad this defense was supposed to be. And the fact Barkley is putting his struggles and injury history in the rearview (for now, at least) is incredibly promising for the offense.The Panthers don’t sport the roster the Titans do. The Giants should be able to exploit that by just sticking with the gameplan, running the offense through Barkley, and limiting the overall impact of Christian McCaffrey. Giants 20, Panthers 10.
Matt Musico, editor (1-1, 1-1). There was a lot of good stuff and some not-so-good stuff in the Giants’ Week 1 in Tennessee. Barkley looked great, and while Daniel Jones made big plays when it was needed, there were a couple of big turnovers. New York does get the comfort of being in a packed MetLife Stadium that can help get them jacked up and over the hump. Giants 24, Panthers 20
James Kratch, managing editor (0-2, 1-1). Well, I guess I will be the jerk here. Last week was a wonderful achievement and moment for the Giants. But victory masked some obvious deficiencies. The defense was vulnerable against the pass (and now cornerback Aaron Robinson is out). The special teams were shaky. And Jones is still good for a back-breaking turnover or two each week. It’s a competitive game, but the Panthers are desperate and they find a way in a shootout. Panthers 31, Giants 27.
Danny Small, staff writer (0-2, 0-2). Barkley looked like his old self in Week 1. If that’s a version of Barkley that’s here to stay, the Giants’ offense is going to be much better than we expected. On the other side, McCaffrey looked rusty in a loss to the Browns. Which team gets more splash plays could be the difference in this game. Giants 24, Panthers 17.
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