Buffalo Bills (1-0) at New York Giants (0-1)
A lot of the concern around the Giants coming into the season was around their offense, which lost Odell Beckham this off-season, but they showed in their week 1 loss in Dallas that the bigger concern is their defense, which has lost Olivier Vernon, Landon Collins, and Damon Harrison in the past calendar year and looked like one of the weakest in the league coming into the season. Their offense actually has a chance to be decent when they are at full strength because they have an improved offensive line and they still have several playmakers without Odell Beckham like Saquon Barkley, Evan Engram, Sterling Shepard, and Golden Tate. Shepard is out this week with a concussion though, while Tate still has three games left on his suspension, so they’re pretty thin in the receiving corps as well right now.
The Giants are playing a Bills team that won on the road at the Jets week 1, coming back from down 16-0 to win 17-16. The Bills got down early because of turnovers, but managed to win the game despite a -3 turnover margin, which is very impressive, even against an underwhelming Jets team. On average, teams with a -3 turnover margin win just 10.3% of the time. Turnover margins tend to be inconsistent on a week-to-week basis and the Bills finished week 1 with the 3rd best first down rate differential in the league, only behind the Ravens and Patriots.
The Bills still have concerns, but they look to be improved over last season and could easily compete for a wild card spot in the AFC, which is by far the weaker conference. The Giants are an NFC team, but they’re one of the worst, so the Bills could easily win this game to start out 2-0. We’re not getting much line value with them at Buffalo -2, which is about where I have it, but most games are decided by at least a field goal, so Buffalo should cover if they win. A Buffalo win by a field goal seems like the most likely outcome, but there’s not nearly enough here to bet them with confidence.
Buffalo Bills 23 New York Giants 20
Pick against the spread: Buffalo -2