Giants vs. Cardinals Odds & Picks: New York Can Hang With Arizona In NFL Week 14
Michael Reaves/Getty Images. Pictured: New York Giants quarterback Daniel Jones.
Giants vs. Cardinals Odds
Against all expectations and amid a historically-bad season in the NFC East, the New York Giants (5-7) find themselves in first place after a cornerstone victory over the Seattle Seahawks on the road last week.
The Arizona Cardinals (6-6), meanwhile, are losers of three straight games and find themselves on the outside looking in at the NFC playoff picture.
Can the Cardinals regain form and take down what many consider to be an over-performing Giants team?
Wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins was a full participant in Friday’s practice after missing Wednesday and Thursday. He’s listed as questionable but anticipated to be active for Sunday’s game. Meanwhile, Larry Fitzgerald was activated off the reserve/COVID-19 list after missing the past two games with the virus. He’s expected to resume his normal role as the WR3 in this dynamic offense.
Quarterback Kyler Murray will have a tougher-than-usual task against a Giants defense that has improved over the second half of the season and now ranks ninth in the NFL with a 68.1 defense ranking, per Pro Football Focus.
Their run defense has been especially strong, ranking sixth overall with a 71.6 rating.
A mobile quarterback, Murray will likely have to rely on his arm in this one to get it done. His top receiver, Hopkins, has an especially difficult matchup against Giants corner James Bradberry, who has a strong track record of shutting down top opposing receivers.
In fact, PFF’s WR/CB Matchup Chart gives Hopkins a 0% advantage over Bradberry, something that you don’t see very often for a talent of his level. Hopkins can dominate nearly any matchup he’s presented with, but the numbers indicate that Bradberry should be able to keep Hopkins from a ceiling game.
Murray will likely have to rely on secondary options in the passing game like Christian Kirk and Fitzgerald, both reliable alternatives. Neither, however, matches up well against their primary defenders.
Per PFF, Kirk has a -15% advantage against CB Isaac Yiadom while Fitzgerald has a -3% advantage against slot corner Darnay Holmes.
New York Giants
Quarterback Daniel Jones (hamstring) was limited all week in practice but is expected to start. And while Colt McCoy performed well in Jones’ absence last week, his return is crucial if the Giants wish to maintain first place in the NFC East.
He’ll face off against a Cardinals defense that ranks 27th in the NFL in overall defense (52.1), 31st in pass rush (60.2) and 24th in coverage (51.3), per PFF.
Jones struggles under pressure, completing just 45.1% of his passes when the pocket collapses. But when he’s given a clean pocket completes 72.4% of his throws, the 12th-best mark in the league (per PFF). Against the Cardinals’ 31st-ranked pass rush, he should see a clean pocket more often that not.
That sets up well for Giants receivers Sterling Shepard and Darius Slayton, both of whom have a substantial advantage over their primary defenders. Per PFF, Slayton has a 19% advantage over cornerback Patrick Peterson, who has been a shell of his former self this season, while Shepard has an 18% advantage over cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick.
Running back Wayne Gallman has also seen a resurgence of late, averaging 114.5 yards per game over his past two starts. He’ll take on a Cardinals defense that ranks 14th with a -11.6% rush defense DVOA, per Football Outsiders.
While it would have been unfathomable to think early in the season, the Giants have transformed into a scary football team to be facing down the stretch.
Despite the advantage that the Cardinals may have in name-brand power and highlight-reel moments from earlier this year, the fact is that the Giants are playing better football at the moment.
This Giants defense has the personnel to make things difficult for the Cardinals on the offensive side of the ball, while their offense — assuming Jones plays — also has an advantage over a poor Cardinals defense that has struggled in nearly all facets of the game.
While I won’t go as far to say they will win outright, I am hammering them at +3 in a game that should at least be close throughout. I’m not looking to move lower than +3, but I do think the Giants have enough firepower to cover the spread.
Pick: Giants +3