NFL Week 2 Picks: Giants vs. Washington Thursday Night Football Best Bets

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By: Scott Kacsmar

The New York Giants and Washington Football Team both opened the 2021 season with disappointing home losses on Sunday. The Giants were pushed around 27-13 by the Broncos while Washington lost starting quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick (hip) and a fourth-quarter lead to the Chargers in a 20-16 loss.

Let’s see what the NFL odds look like for this week’s Thursday Night Football when both these teams meet.

New York Giants vs. Washington Football Team​

Thursday, September 16, 2021 – 08:20 PM EDT at FedExField

All Odds for this Matchup

The opening lines are out and Washington is a 4-point favorite at most sportsbooks. If there is anything the Giants do well, it is beat Washington as New York has won five straight meetings. Can they do it again and avoid an 0-2 start?

Giants: Daniel Jones in His Element​

New York quarterback Daniel Jones is now 8-19 as a starter, but he is 4-0 against Washington. That’s right, half of his wins are against this one team. I would feel more confident in this fact if Jones was more dominant in the matchups last year, but the Giants won two close games thanks mostly to their defense.

While Jones does have better numbers than average against Washington, his four-game sample is heavily inflated by the 2019 rematch where he threw five touchdown passes in an overtime win. He has only thrown one touchdown against Washington in each of the other three meetings.

In his last 16 starts since that five-touchdown performance, Jones has never thrown more than two touchdowns. New York only scored 13 points at home against Denver on Sunday, including a garbage-time run by Jones on the final snap of the game while trailing by three touchdowns.

Washington only sacked Jones two times in its first three meetings with him, but the Football Team got to him five times in the last meeting. That 23-20 final went New York’s way after Alex Smith uncharacteristically threw three interceptions.

It is just hard to back anything this New York offense is doing right now. Running back Saquon Barkley returned to action against Denver and only had 10 carries for 26 yards. Jones ended up leading the team in rushing with 27 yards.

The offensive line remains a weakness and should be outmatched against a Washington front-loaded with first-round picks, led by Chase Young.

Washington: Better Team?​

Unfortunately, due to injury, we only saw Ryan Fitzpatrick throw six passes for the team before leaving with a hip injury.

It is being reported that he could be out several weeks, which would put the onus on playoff starting quarterback Taylor Heinicke, who dazzled with some mobile plays against Tampa Bay last January.

Heinicke stepped in on Sunday and had some solid numbers again, but the offense really stalled out in the red zone.

Washington also missed a 51-yard field goal in the fourth quarter that would have extended its 16-13 lead. Then second-year running back Antonio Gibson fumbled, setting the Chargers up at the 3-yard line for the game-winning touchdown. While Heinicke tried to answer, the drive was stalled by a clipping penalty that set up second-and-20.

But the bigger problem was really that the defense could not get Justin Herbert and the Chargers off the field on third down. Los Angeles was 14-for-18 on third down conversions before a meaningless kneel-down to end the game with a 73.6% success rate.

That’s the most third-down conversions in a game since the Ravens had 14 in Pittsburgh in 2011. Herbert’s numbers may not have been eye-popping, but he really put Washington away with money throws on third down. Can Jones do that as well? I do not believe so.

The Pick​

Heinicke has some good weapons at his disposal and head coach Ron Rivera has been successful in the past at getting a backup quarterback ready to play. This is a short week for both teams, but it is still good to be at home for these matchups as your NFL picks will show.

Washington should be better on third-down defense this week, especially against a quarterback in Jones who still struggles with fumbling the ball as he did again on Sunday. Jones is 2-16 as a starter when the Giants allow more than 20 points. Washington’s mistakes on Sunday feel easier to correct than the core problems the Giants are suffering from right now.

Despite his 4-0 record against Washington, I think Jones gets rattled by the defense on the road in this one and the Football Team gets in the win column first.

NFL Pick: Washington -4 (-110) at Bovada (visit our Bovada Review)
 
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