New York Giants

NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE - SEPTEMBER 11: Head coach Brian Daboll of the New York Giants looks on during the fourth quarter in the game against the Tennessee Titans at Nissan Stadium on September 11, 2022 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)

Last week nobody had high expectations for the New York Giants heading into the season. A week later, people are talking about the buzz that could come if Big Blue should move to 2-0 for the first time in seven years.

Hence is the life for football in the Tri-State area. The Giants enjoyed a thrilling 21-20 victory at Tennessee last week, a game highlighted by Saquon Barkley’s 164-yards on the ground, and a gutsy decision by Head Coach Brian Daboll to go for a two-point conversion after his Giants scored a touchdown in the final minute of the ballgame.

The question now is what can the Giants do for an encore? With the Carolina Panthers limping into town after Baker Mayfield’s “revenge” game against the Cleveland Browns went bust in Cleveland’s 26-24 victory, things on paper are looking up. Emphasis “on paper.”

Should Barkley have a big day running the football and quarterback Daniel Jones protects the football, and the Giants find their way to 2-0, the entire Tri-State area will explode. New Jersey/New York sports fans have been waiting to cheer for something on the football field for a long time. The Giants haven’t been to the playoffs since 2016. The Jets haven’t played serious January football since 2010.

Outside of the Mets and Yankees there isn’t much to feast off of from the Major sports teams in town.

A win Sunday, the Giants can change the narrative. Now are the up to the task?

  • Carolina Panthers (0-1) @ NY Giants (1-0) (-2.0)

    Denver Broncos v New York Giants

    EAST RUTHERFORD, NEW JERSEY – SEPTEMBER 12: Saquon Barkley #26 of the New York Giants looks on during the game against the Denver Broncos at MetLife Stadium on September 12, 2021 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. (Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images)

    As described above the Giants enter the game as favorites to get to 2-0 against the seemingly lowly Carolina Panthers. This is a dangerous game. The Giants haven’t started a season 2-0 in seven years, and Baker Mayfield is a guy who likes to play with a chip on his shoulder. The key will be the ground game. If the Giants can contain Christian McCaffery, and Saquon Barkley goes off, the Giants win. If not, and Daniel Jones has to win this game on his shoulder, things could go sideways.

    PICK: GIANTS 17 – PANTHERS 14.

  • NY Jets (0-1) @ Cleveland Browns (1-0) (-6.5)

    Joe Flacco

    EAST RUTHERFORD, NEW JERSEY – SEPTEMBER 11: Quarterback Joe Flacco #19 of the New York Jets avoids contact from Outside Linebacker Justin Houston #50 of the Baltimore Ravens during the second quarter of the game at MetLife Stadium on September 11, 2022 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)

    Can the Jets get off the mat and go to bat for their coach, Robert Saleh? Saleh told the press Monday that he is keeping receipts of those who keep criticizing his team which is 4-14 since he took over last season. Last week the Jets came out flat against Baltimore as the offensive line did little to help veteran quarterback Joe Flacco out.

    If there is a game that the Jets should win, this is it. The Browns aren’t world beaters. They inked it out against Carolina last week, and Jacoby Brisset is nothing special under center. The key will be two-fold: can the Jets slow down Nick Chubb who ran for 141 yards against Carolina? And can the Jets keep defensive end Myles Garrett off the back of Flacco? Got a feeling we might see a Mike White sighting at some point in the second half.

    PICK: BROWNS 24 – JETS 14.

  • Miami Dolphins (1-0) @ Baltimore Ravens (1-0) (-3.5)

    The Miami Dolphins looked real good last week against New England in the blitzing heat of South-Florida, but they face a stiffer test Sunday against the Ravens. Baltimore’s front seven proved to be too much for the battered Jets last week. And quarterback Lamar Jackson made enough big plays late to give the Ravens a nice, easy win.  The key here will be the play of Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa, who had one of his best games, tossing for 270 yards and completing 70 percent of his passes last week. That didn’t stop ex-Saints Head Coach Sean Payton from telling Colin Cowherd on Fox Sports that he thinks Tua will get benched this year.

    Can Tua start winning over believers? A win this week would help.

    PICK: RAVENS 31 – DOLPHINS 21

  • Cincinnati Bengals (0-1) (-7) @ Dallas Cowboys (0-1)

    Dak Prescott

    ARLINGTON, TEXAS – SEPTEMBER 11: Dak Prescott #4 of the Dallas Cowboys carries the ball against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers during the second half at AT&T Stadium on September 11, 2022 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)

    Oh Dallas! OOOOOOhhhhh Dallas! Things are getting ugly early in Big D. With Dak Prescott likely out til November with a hand injury and pressure already mounting on Head Coach Mike McCarthy, things could get really, really bad on Sunday. The Boys entertain the AFC Champion Bengals, who come in angry after letting one get away against Pittsburgh last week. Expect Joe Burrow to have a huge, and I mean HUGE afternoon against the Cowboys.

    PICK: BENGALS 44 – COWBOYS 20.

  • New England Patriots (0-1) (-2.5) @ Pittsburgh Steelers (1-0)

    Mac Jones

    MIAMI GARDENS, FLORIDA – SEPTEMBER 11: Mac Jones #10 of the New England Patriots gestures at the line of scrimmage during the first half against the Miami Dolphins at Hard Rock Stadium on September 11, 2022 in Miami Gardens, Florida. (Photo by Eric Espada/Getty Images)

    Perhaps the most fascinating game of the weekend. For the first time since 1998, the Patriots and Steelers will play a game when neither Tom Brady nor Ben Roethlisberger are involved. Yup, welcome to a new world for this rivalry.

    What makes this one even more intriguing is the fact the Steelers will be without defensive end T.J. Watt (pectoral muscle), and running Najee Harris will play on a injured foot. For New England, quarterback Mac Jones will play inspite of dealing with back spasms last week. In short this will be a game of attrition. It could come down to Steelers quarterback Mitchell Trubisky against the Patriots defense, and ultimately Pats Head Coach Bill Belichick. Belichick is a master at confusing weaker quarterbacks, and Trubisky falls into that category.

    This will have huge playoff implications, and it is only September.

    PICK: PATRIOTS 20 – STEELERS 17

  • Minnesota Vikings (1-0) @ Philadelphia Eagles (1-0) (-2.0)

    Jalen Hurts

    PHILADELPHIA, PA – AUGUST 12: Jalen Hurts #1 of the Philadelphia Eagles scrambles against the New York Jets in the first half of the preseason game at Lincoln Financial Field on August 12, 2022 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)

    This is a hard match-up to figure. Last week the Eagles relied on the legs of  running back Miles Sanders (13 carries, 96 yards, TD) and wide receiver A.J. Browns (10 receptions, 155 yards) to beat back the Lions 38-35. Questions still abound about quarterback Jalen Hurts, and a Eagles defense that gave up 144 to D’Andre Swift.

    On the flip side the Vikings beat the Packers 23-7, but the Pack is always slow out of the gate to start the year. Does anyone trust Kurt Cousins? Anyone?

    PICK: EAGLES 19 – VIKINGS 17.