The Impact of Adding Daniel Jones but Losing Saquon Barkley
How valuable is a franchise running back? How valuable is a franchise quarterback? These are the questions the sports betting community is weighing in the lead up to the New York Giants matchup this Sunday against the Washington Redskins.
Last Sunday against the Buccaneers, the Giants lost their franchise running back for a month or more when Saquon Barkley went down in the 2nd quarter with a high ankle sprain. Barkley had one of the best rookie campaigns any running back has ever had and looked even better during the first couple weeks of his sophomore season.
By the end of the 4th quarter, millions of Giants fans felt they had a gained new franchise quarterback in Daniel Jones. Jones, who posted an excellent 90 QBR for the game, looked poised and dynamic throughout the contest. He capped his excellent debut by completing an 18 point second-half comeback to start his NFL career 1-0.
The opening line for this game provides great insight into how these two events affect the Giants outlook. Prior to Sunday’s game, the look-ahead line for this game was Giants -2.5 at home vs. the Redskins. Since the standard Home Field Advantage in the NFL is 3 points, we can impute from this opener that the Giants were considered to be slightly worse than Washington.
A Good Quarterback Trumps Even the Best Running Back
Currently, the Giants are three-point favorites in this matchup, indicating they are viewed as about even with Washington. Considering how miserable the DC Football team looked on Monday Night, we can say that they deserved at least a half-point downgrade. Therefore, the betting market has weighed the Giants loss of Barkley and the impressive debut of Daniel Jones about equally.
I think this is a mistake. In my opinion, the Giants have gone from one of the worst QBs in the league in Eli Manning to a league average or better replacement in Daniel Jones. Jones possesses many of the qualities that helped Manning excel throughout his illustrious career. Steadiness, anticipation, fearlessness. He also adds to that mix game-changing mobility. Jones max speed on Sunday was higher than all but two starting quarterbacks: Lamar Jackson & Kyler Murray. In today’s game, a quarterback that can at least pose a threat to run gives any a team a major boost in offensive potency. As Peter King said in his Monday Morning QB recap, overnight the Giants transitioned from a 1990’s quarterback to a 2019 quarterback.
Angle: Take the Giants -3. In addition to the on the field improvement New York will enjoy switching to Jones, the boost in team morale will pay dividends throughout the week. The team suddenly feels they can be a relevant force in the NFL, which they may not have felt a week ago. Conversely, Washington, at least for the time being, is sticking with Case Keenum. If rookie QB, Dwyane Haskins is not ready to play this season, what positives does the team have to look forward to about the 2019 campaign?