Brian Daboll deserved to dance with his players after the New York Giants defeated the Tennessee Titans on Sunday in his NFL head-coaching debut. Though the game contained some familiar Big Blue foibles — a slow start, two turnovers and five sacks allowed — it also featured two dynamics that could have legs as this season moves along.
One is Daboll. If anything, he proved right away he’s not afraid to make a big decision at a critical time. Did he get lucky on the two-point conversion? Well, yes. When Saquon Barkley caught Daniel Jones’ shovel pass, two linebackers were squared up, a few feet away, to make the tackle. Barkley beat them to the goal line. Did Daboll get lucky again when Randy Bullock missed a 47-yard field goal as time expired? Hell, yeah! But Bill Parcells didn’t send back the Super Bowl XXV ring he won the exact same way, did he?
No, the key thing is Daboll seems to be connected to his team (unlike Ben McAdoo and Pat Shurmur) and a normal guy (unlike Joe Judge).
The other takeaway from Week 1 was Barkley’s burst. It was only one game, but it appears to be back after his 164 yards rushing and six catches for 30 more yards. If Barkley can get back to his 2018 form, that changes everything for the Giants.
Now the Carolina Panthers come to MetLife Stadium on Sunday. The Post’s recent 2022 NFL Preview section contained stats showing that over the past four seasons, the Giants were fourth-best in the NFL against the spread on the road but 32nd (dead last) versus the number at home. To be precise, the Giants are 9-22-1 ATS in that time, but that horror show includes a 25-3 home rout of the Panthers in 2021.
New customers only. Must be 21+. AZ, CO, IA, IL, IN, LA, MI, NJ, NY, PA, TN, VA, WV, WY only. (Welcome Offer not available in NY & PA) Full T&C apply.
New users only, 21 or older. NY, CO, DC, IA, IN, IL, MI, NV, NJ, PA, TN, VA, WV only. Full T&Cs apply.
21+. New customers only. AZ, CT, IA, IL, LA, MI, NJ, NY, PA, TN, WV, WY only. T&C apply
Dating back to last season, Carolina is 0-8 and hasn’t covered the spread once. It’s kind of amazing Matt Rhule is still around for Game 9, but here we are.
The pick: Giants -2.
New York Jets (+6.5) over CLEVELAND BROWNS
The Jets are so toxic in the marketplace, this spread looks to be about double what you’d expect to see with Jacoby Brissett at quarterback for the favorites. I do believe the Jets have more talent spread across the field than they’ve had in recent years. The problem is … still … the offensive line. The statuesque Joe Flacco needs time to be able to utilize the full talents of Garrett Wilson and Elijah Moore. If the line and playcalling of Mike LaFleur can keep Myles Garrett from ruining the game, the Jets can cover this.
Miami Dolphins (+3.5) over BALTIMORE RAVENS
Baltimore beat the Jets by 15, but the Jets left 11 points on the table with a missed field goal, missed PAT and dropped touchdown pass. One of the most stunning results of 2021 was a Thursday nighter in Miami when the 2-7 Dolphins beat the 6-2 Ravens, 22-10. Should be a tight one, so it’s nice to have that extra half point.
Washington Commanders (+1.5) over DETROIT LIONS
Prefer to back the Lions as large underdogs than short favorites, where they have to actually win the game. D’Andre Swift says he’s going to play, but he and two key offensive linemen (Frank Ragnow and Taylor Decker) are on the injury report. Commanders are still regarded as a bottom-third assortment, but this team is a stealth contender to win the NFC East.
Indianapolis Colts (-3.5) at JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS
Line has inched toward the home underdogs during the week, but the Colts were favored by 10.5 in Jacksonville last season, so this seems to be a heck of an adjustment for not much reason. Matt Ryan should have more continuity in his second game as a Colt.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (-2.5) over NEW ORLEANS SAINTS
Yes, Tom Brady is 0-4 with eight interceptions in regular-season games against the Saints as a Buc. You know he wants this one, badly, and it was impressive how Brady strolled in after missing the end of camp and destroyed the Cowboys.
New England Patriots (-2) over PITTSBURGH STEELERS
Kind of surprised the Patriots are favored and hate to go against my long-running profitable trend of Mike Tomlin as an underdog (46-23 ATS in his career). But the Steelers are down T.J. Watt, Najee Harris is hurting, and Bill Belichick has been great historically off a loss.
LOS ANGELES RAMS (-10) over Atlanta Falcons
The defending champs have had an extra few days to think about getting destroyed on opening night by the Bills. Falcons had a long trip, and it figures to be even a longer day for one of the least-talented teams in the NFL.
Seattle Seahawks (+8.5) over SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS
Make all the jokes you want about Geno Smith, but he’s a great fit in the Seahawks’ offense, with his strong arm and mobility. Tough spot for them with the travel off an emotional Monday night win, but I’m not ready to lay almost double digits with Trey Lance.
Cincinnati Bengals (-7.5) over DALLAS COWBOYS
Spread looks like a lot, but is it really? Is it hard to foresee Bengals 30-20 or 27-17 even if Cooper Rush can do some things with the Cowboys’ offense that Dak Prescott couldn’t do against the Buccaneers?
Houston Texans (+10) over DENVER BRONCOS
Nathaniel Hackett was the dunce of Week 1 for his unfathomable decision to bleed clock to try a 64-yard field goal in Seattle. A double-digit win over the Texans probably isn’t high on his to-do list as he circles the wagons. Besides, dating back to last season, Houston has covered four of its past five with Davis Mills.
LAS VEGAS RAIDERS (-5.5) over Arizona Cardinals
Raiders were a 2-point conversion away from a cover against the strong Chargers. Hard to trust Derek Carr to cover this tricky number, but I have the feeling the Cardinals could be in the beginning of a nosedive that leads to Kliff Kingsbury being the first coach fired.
Chicago Bears (+10) over GREEN BAY PACKERS
Rain is in the forecast for Lambeau on Sunday night, which could be good for Justin Fields and the Mudders from Chicago. Allen Lazard could be back for the Pack, but double digits is a lot to ask from Aaron Rodgers in a prime-time divisional game.
Betting on the NFL?
BUFFALO BILLS (-10) over Tennessee Titans
Revenge match for the Bills, who lost 34-31 in Nashville in an entertaining battle last season. Bills also have a few extra days of rest. Giants showed if you stop Derrick Henry, there’s not much to the rest of the Titans’ offense.
Minnesota Vikings (+2) over PHILADELPHIA EAGLES
After seeing what the Lions did to the Eagles’ defense in the second half last week, it’s hard to resist Kirk Cousins, Justin Jefferson and Dalvin Cook plus a few points here.
Buccaneers, Seahawks, Vikings.
Lock of the week
Buccaneers (Locks 1-0 in 2022).
6-10 overall, 2-1 Best Bets.
Thursday Night Football pick