Los Angeles Rams (4-1) at New York Giants (1-4)
This line shifted from favoring the Rams by 6.5 points on the early line to now favoring them by 9 this week, crossing the key number of 7, a margin which decides about 10% of games. That shift is likely primarily due to the Rams winning by 9 in Seattle and the Giants losing by 24 in Dallas, but it’s hard to put much stock into the final score of either of those games because both games featured a quarterback getting injured and leaving the game at a time the game was much closer. In the Rams case, they were up just 9-7 in the third quarter and the Seahawks had the ball when Russell Wilson suffered a finger injury that hampered him before knocking him out of the game, while the Giants had played the Cowboys to a 10-10 tie in the second quarter when Daniel Jones left with a concussion and did not return.
Jones is set to return for the Giants this week and, while they will be without top wide receiver Kenny Golladay and featured running back Saquon Barkley, Golladay’s absence should be more than offset by the return of both Darius Slayton and Sterling Shepard, who missed each of the past two games, while Barkley’s absence alone isn’t enough to move this line as significantly as it did, especially since he hasn’t been 100% all season anyway. I also thought the early line was too high to begin with at 6.5 and, even with the Giants missing key players to injury, my calculated line this week has the Rams favored by just 5.5 points.
The Giants are just 1-4, but two of their losses were very close games that could have been wins, while their loss to the Cowboys could have been a lot closer had the Giants not lost their quarterback in the middle of the game, even though the Cowboys have been one of the best teams in the league thus far. Daniel Jones doesn’t get a lot of respect from the national media, but he played pretty well before suffering a serious hamstring injury last year, when you take into account the brutal schedule he faced and how many drops his receivers had.
This year, it’s showing up more in the statistics, as he ranks 10th in QBR and 8th in yards per attempt, despite an underwhelming and injury plagued supporting cast. Despite his statistical success, he’s still regarded as barely better than a replacement level quarterback, with this line only shifting about 1.5 points when it became clear that Jones would be able to play this week, even though backup Mike Glennon looked like a clear downgrade last week. The Giants have an underwhelming roster overall and Jones’ play hasn’t translated to wins, but they’ve been competitive in all but one of their games with Jones healthy and they should be able to keep this one relatively close. This isn’t a big play, but this line is inflated.
Los Angeles Rams 27 New York Giants 21
Pick against the spread: NY Giants +9