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Syndication: The Record

The New York Giants’ playoff push begins now.

The Giants are fresh off their bye week and will host the Houston Texans on Sunday (1 p.m. ET, CBS). The Giants are a 6.5-point favorite, according to Sports Betting Dime. Here are the ESNY staff picks:

Matt Musico, editor. This does seem like the ultimate letdown game for the Giants. They’re coming back after a week off and are in a surprising spot to contend for a playoff spot. I have to think Brian Daboll and his coaching feel that same way and have been doing everything possible during practice this week to combat it. This is a winnable game at home. If the Giants are going to be a playoff team, this is exactly the kind of game they need to win. I think they do that. Giants 27, Texans 17.

Danny Small, staff writer. Daboll is garnering a ton of early love in Coach of the Year debates, and for good reason. It’s hard to envision the Giants laying an egg after a bye week. Even though most of their wins have come in one-score games, they are going to run away with this one against hapless Houston. Giants 30, Texans 17.

Josh Benjamin, staff writer. Both the Giants and Texans are similar, with the run game featuring heavily in their offense. The difference is New York has Saquon Barkley and the motivating Daboll, while Houston has the rookie Dameon Pierce and a retread in Lovie Smith. Big Blue should take this in a walk. Giants 28, Texans 13.

Ryan Honey, staff writer. This is a huge game for the Giants. Coming off a loss to the Seahawks prior to the bye, they must defeat the Texans and Lions the next two weeks before enduring a tough part of their schedule that includes the Cowboys, Vikings, and Eagles twice. And I think Daboll and company get the job done this Sunday. The Giants will be without starting safety Xavier McKinney no thanks to the bye-week ATV accident. But this Wink Martindale defense won’t need to stress too much going against a 26th-ranked Texans passing attack (188.6 yards per game), especially with cornerbacks Adoree’ Jackson and Fabian Moreau playing well. Daboll will also likely stick to a run-heavy game plan, with Barkley looking like his rookie-year self and Houston’s defense struggling in that department. The Texans are last in the NFL with 180.6 rushing yards allowed per game (31.8 more average yards than the next-worst mark). Expect the Giants to score enough points to take pressure off a defense that won’t have a huge challenge anyway. Giants 24, Texans 13.

James Kratch, managing editor. Yes, the Texans have the worst record in the NFL. But they have been pretty frisky this season. They’ve lost five games by 12 points or less and three by a touchdown or less. And they will well-rested as well following the post-Thursday night mini-bye. We’ve seen nothing from the Giants to suggest they are equipped to pour it on anyone. They should be able to run their way to a win here, but it will be tight. Giants 17, Texans 16.

T1-Musico: 11-6 against the spread, 10-7 straight-up.
T1-Small: 11-6, 10-7
3-Benjamin: 9-8, 10-7
4-Honey: 9-8, 9-8
5-Kratch: 9-8, 7-10

James Kratch can be reached at

James Kratch is the managing editor of ESNY. He previously worked as a Rutgers and Giants (and Mike Francesa) beat reporter for NJ Advance Media.