The New York Giants are playing an NFL playoff game on Sunday — for the first time in 2,198 days.
This has been the team’s longest playoff drought since the 6,573(!) days between their 1963 NFL Championship loss to the Chicago Bears and their 1981 wild card victory over the Philadelphia Eagles.
So yes: The Giants are in. They did it with grit, Scotch tape, heart, some glue, and the coaching of Brian Daboll, who, in his first year as Giants coach, is setting the stage to one day be mayor of New York. Bottom line: Daboll got the most out of his players. There is zero question about that.
The question now, however, is if this magical season can continue, as the Giants head to Minnesota for the second time in four weeks to take on the Vikings.
The Giants lost that first matchup 27-24, and the sportsbooks are freezing that card and installing the Vikings as — yep — 3-point favorites.
The over/under is set at a healthy 48 points — the highest total of wild card weekend, narrowly edging out the Chargers-Jaguars tilt. WynnBET, at -108, has the best numbers on either side of the wager.
So, can the Giants pull what would amount to a mild upset here? Can they walk out of Minnesota with their first playoff victory since (checks notes) their 2012 Super Bowl win over the New England Patriots? (Holy moly, it’s been 3,995 days since the Giants won a playoff game. Yikes.)
So you’re saying there’s a chance?
Well, according to the minds at Football Outsiders, yeah, sure, why not? The Giants team DVOA checks in as the 21st best in the league, while the Vikings — despite their 13-4 record — have the 27th best DVOA number.
And nowhere — not offense, not defense, not special teams — does either team stand out in DVOA. In fact, the highest ranking belongs to the Giants and their 10th ranked offense.
Yep. Daniel Jones, Saquon Barkley, and any ambulatory wide receivers make up the Giants’ 10th ranked DVOA offense.
— Matt Hamilton (@MattHamilton25) January 12, 2023
Speaking of which, one of the more attractive player props posted is Barkley’s rushing + receiving over/under. It’s set at 99.5 (at -114) at FanDuel, a number he’s exceeded half the time this year, including in the loss to the Vikings. If Daboll is as sharp as everyone gives him credit for, you’d think he’d draw up numerous ways to get the ball into Barkley’s hands.
Which leads to Barkley’s receiving yardage prop: That’s set at 20.5 at PointsBet at -125. Again, he’s only hit that number half the time, but also again: How does Daboll not scheme the ball into the hands of his best/only playmaker?
Speaking of playmakers, Jones will probably be tasked with A) not screwing up and B) using his legs. His rushing yardage prop is at 38.5 at -113 at PointsBet, and that’s a number he’s exceeded only four times this year — but again, Jones is a playmaker with his legs, and Daboll should be expected to draw up designed plays for Jones.
Add it up, and it’s clear: For the Giants to win, they’ll have to do it on the backs of Jones and Barkley, while also hoping their defense keeps Kirk Cousins and company in check.
As far as a Giants fans’ single-game parlay? How about Jones and Barkley rushing yard overs, Giants to win, and the under. A few bucks there at about 10/1 odds doesn’t seem like the worst idea. It’s correlated enough, yeah?
Photo: Vincent Carchietta/USA TODAY