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Danny Dimes Forever
The love affair between New York and Daniel Jones has only just begun. With two wins in his first two starts, Giants fans must feel they’ve passed the torch from their Brett Favre to their Aaron Rodgers.
I’m not so sure we’re there yet with Daniel Jones, however. If we’re just looking at ESPN’s QBR, Daniel Jones is a very impressive 3rd in the NFL through two starts. However, I think QBR tends to overvalue situational factors and running. Were it not for the Redskins dreadful offense – exacerbated by the ill-fated and premature Dwyane Haskins experiment – the Giants offense would have looked much more pedestrian against a pretty bad Washington defense. Typical of many younger quarterbacks, Jones has excelled on the ground more so than he has displayed tremendous throwing ability. If we isolate “clutch weighted expected points on pass attempts” – or the passing portion of QBR in lay man’s terms – Jones falls from 3rd best in the league to 18th. Considering he has gone against two of the most susceptible secondaries in the NFL, maybe we should hold off on sculpting his bust for Canton.
The Vikings defense is several degrees stronger than Jones has ever played against in his career. They have the pass rush to make him uncomfortable. They have the secondary to expose Jones if he takes too many chances. Finally, they have the speed to mitigate if not eliminate Jones ability to pick up first downs on the ground.
Kirk Cousins vs. Bad Teams
Granted, Kirk Cousins has only won 5 of 32 career games against teams with a winning record. That also means he is 31-12 against teams .500 or worse. Ironically, if the Giants win this game they will have a winning record, but if Cousins beats them, they go back on the pile of terrible teams that Cousins has beaten in his career. Cousins has never posted a QBR less than 50 for a season – in other words, he has always been an above-average QB. That cannot be said in games he has played against the best defenses who force him out of his comfort zone. The Giants defense does not, however, present that challenge. Delvin Cook will eat. Cousins will play off his threat. The Vikings move the ball and exceed their expected Team Total of 24 points.
Zimmer Elite in this Spot
If you follow sports betting, you might have heard that Vikings HC, Mike Zimmer has by far the best ATS record of any coach in the NFL, close to 65% for his career. That’s 8 percentage points better than the great Bill Belichick. While I would expect the market to adjust and for him not to continue this excellent ATS record, I would lean toward giving Zimmer the benefit of the doubt in defeating any turmoil within the organization and giving his guys the best chance to succeed on Sundays. The public comments of Vikings WR Adam Thielen combined with the apparent trade demand of Vikings WR, Stefon Diggs could derail lesser teams. The Vikings organization under Zimmer is strong enough to overcome these internal problems.
Zimmer is at his best when coming off a loss. For his career, Zimmer is 23-9 ATS in the game following a SU loss. Moreover, when that next game after a loss comes against a non-division opponent, his record improves to 16-3 ATS.
Angle: Take the Vikings -5. Odds available at FanDuel.