Atlanta Falcons (1-0) at New York Giants (0-1)
The Giants almost won in Dallas last week, only losing after Dallas conducted a last minute touchdown drive and scored with 7 seconds left, resulting in a 1 point New York loss. The Giants’ performance was much worse than the final score suggested, as they needed to win the turnover margin by 3 to even keep it close. They lost despite winning the turnover margin by 3. Teams that win the turnover battle by 3 lose the game just 10.7% of the time over the past 25 or so years. On top of that, turnover margins are very inconsistent on a week-to-week basis. In fact, over the past 25 or so years, teams that post a -3 turnover margin in a game, on average, have a -0.1 turnover margin the following week.
If the Giants couldn’t win last week despite forcing some fluky turnovers, I don’t think it says much good about their team. The Giants have finished with the most adjusted games lost in each of the last 2 seasons and that doesn’t seem like it’s going to correct itself this year. Already missing linebacker Jon Beason, left tackle William Beatty, wide receiver Victor Cruz, and Jason Pierre-Paul with significant injuries, the Giants are just too banged up to be considered a good team.
The Giants also aren’t that much better of a team at home than on the road, or at least they haven’t been in the Tom Coughlin/Eli Manning era (since 2004). They are 51-41 (44-48 ATS) at home over that time period, outscoring opponents by an average of 2.62 points per game, as opposed to 53-43 (58-38 ATS) on the road over that time period, getting outscored by an average of 0.10 points per game. The Giants are also in a particularly bad spot with a Thursday night game on deck. Teams are 37-56 ATS since 2008 as home favorites before a Thursday Night game. The Falcons aren’t that good of a team and I wouldn’t put money on them unless this line was a field goal, but Atlanta should be the right side.
Atlanta Falcons 27 New York Giants 24 Upset Pick +110
Pick against the spread: Atlanta +2.5