Broncos vs. Giants Odds, NFL Week 1 Preview, Prediction, Pick: Back Denver’s Defense To Devour Giants O-Line
Dustin Bradford/Getty Images. Pictured: Bradley Chubb (left) and Von Miller (right).
- For Week 1 of the 2021 NFL season, the Broncos will take on the Giants as 3-point favorites.
- Teddy Bridgewater won the Broncos starting job over Drew Lock. The vet provides the Broncos with the game management and consistency they need, especially with such an elite defense.
- Daniel Jones is facing quite the 1-2 pass rush combo from Denver in Von Miller and Bradley Chubb, but Chubb is questionable and Miller is still working his way back. This could spell good news for Jones.
|Broncos Odds||-3 (-105)|
|Giants Odds||+3 (-115)|
|Time||4:25 p.m. ET|
|Odds via DraftKings. Find up-to-the-minute NFL odds here.|
We’re all excited to watch some real live NFL action again on Sunday, but on a jam-packed slate, this certainly isn’t the sexiest matchup on the board. Most pundits have both the Broncos and Giants out of the playoffs and not even necessarily in the picture, really, and these aren’t exactly exciting teams.
Do you know what’s exciting though? Making money — especially when we haven’t been able to bet on NFL action in eight months. And while one of these teams probably isn’t going to make much noise this year, the other could actually surprise us with a playoff run or maybe even more.
Let’s talk about why the Denver Broncos might be one of this year’s surprise teams and why they will start the year off with a big road win in New York.
Broncos Defense Leads Way
With the Broncos, it all starts on defense.
Denver’s defense ranks first in the league in my Defensive Unit Rankings, and this D truly has a chance to be something special. It’s a defense built for 2021, with an especially killer pass defense.
That starts with Bradley Chubb and Von Miller coming off the edge as a fearsome 1-2 pass rush combo, and it’s boosted by a remade tandem at cornerbacks that now includes Kyle Fuller, Ronald Darby and rookie Patrick Surtain, along with star safety Justin Simmons. Head coach Vic Fangio is still the leader of this defense, and he has made a living out of elite pass rushers and outstanding secondary play. This D could be reminiscent of some of those great Bears defenses over the past decade.
There aren’t many questions about this defense. The real question is whether the offense can do its part.
Denver decided to roll with Teddy Bridgewater at quarterback, and that seems like a wise choice. Drew Lock may offer more ceiling in theory, but a defense this good just needs a good game manager under center, and that’s exactly what Bridgewater is. He might not win you the game, but he won’t lose it for you either. Bridgewater is there to take care of the ball, make smart reads and get the ball into the hands of his playmakers.
And there are real playmakers. Jerry Jeudy, Courtland Sutton and Noah Fant are one of the more talented young receiving corps, and rookie Javonte Williams could be a breakout candidate at running back. Bridgewater’s job is just to grease the wheels for these guys and keep the gears moving. He can do that.
There’s a lot to like about Denver this season. The Broncos have a proven winning formula we’ve seen work in past seasons: elite defense, solid coaching and a safe offense that doesn’t screw things up. Recent Bears and Jaguars teams come to mind. Those teams tend to take care of bad opponents like the Giants, even if they struggle against high-end opponents.
Denver was decimated by injuries a year ago. The Broncos faced one of the top five most difficult schedules, and they were more hurt by turnovers than any team in the league. This team is poised for positive regression, and if you’re really in on Denver, you might even think about them at +900 at FanDuel) to be this year’s worst-to-first division winner, as I recommended.
But you aren’t going to go worst-to-first in a tough AFC West unless you can take care of business against a team like the Giants.
Daniel Jones Begins Prove-It Season
In many ways, the Giants are a reflection of the Broncos.
Like Denver, New York will enter the season most confident in its defense. Defensive coordinator Patrick Graham is a rising star in the coaching ranks, and he really has this defense headed in the right direction. Leonard Williams had a monster season in 2020, and so did corner James Bradberry. Now New York adds Adoree Jackson in what could become one of the better cornerback pairs in the league. This is an aggressive defense, and they’ll try to put Bridgewater under pressure and see how he holds up.
The offense is an issue though. Daniel Jones still hasn’t proven he’s a starting-caliber quarterback in this league, and he’s running out of excuses. New York went out and got Danny Dimes a ton of help this offseason. It splashed big on Kenny Golladay, spent a top pick on Kadarius Toney at receiver and brought in Kyle Rudolph at tight end. Saquon Barkley is working his way back from injury too, though he’s still a question mark and it remains to be seen if we’ll see him or how much.
The problem with the offense beyond Jones, though, are the two hidden factors: the coaching and the offensive line. New York’s line is the worst in the entire NFL, and that dooms everything else and could be huge trouble against such a dominant Denver defense. A shoddy line means Jones is always under pressure, and it means Barkley won’t have much room to run or time to hit that gap and get to full speed. And offensive coordinator Jason Garrett isn’t helping matters. All the weapons in the world aren’t very useful if you have prehistoric playcalling, don’t know how to use them and if your QB isn’t good enough to get them the ball.
This is a prove-it season for Jones, but this shapes up as a pretty rough start for him with a broken line and maybe no Barkley against such a devastating defense. Vic Fangio’s blitzers could make Jones miserable, and New York plays again four days later against Washington’s fearsome pass rush, so this could be a brutal start to the year for New York.
Barkley isn’t the only question mark this game. Adoree Jackson is questionable too, potentially negating that advantage at cornerback and leaving only Bradberry to cover both Sutton and Jeudy. That could be a problem. Denver’s Bradley Chubb is questionable, so if he’s not at 100% and Von Miller is still working his way back, maybe Jones isn’t under as much pressure as he could be.
Even still, it’s tough to get past the league’s worst offensive line and one of its worst quarterbacks against what could be the best defense in the league.
I like Denver this season, and I love them in this game. The Broncos have a chance to make a statement with this defense.
The under might also be tempting, but at 42, the total has already been steamed down from 43 and is the lowest on the board by a wide margin now. It could still be playable at that number with two aggressive defenses and not much offense, but the value is mostly gone.
I’ll stick with the Denver cover and count on the Broncos to start the new season with a big road win.
Pick: Broncos -2.5 (-115) at BetMGM