NY Giants (+16.0) @ Dallas
Power rankings: NY Giants 32, Dallas 7
When the Giants have the ball: The Giants lost their Daniel Jones to a torn ACL last week. With Tyrod Taylor (ribs) still out, that leaves Tommy DeVito, an undrafted free agent rookie out of Illinois as the starting quarterback.
When the model recommended the Giants, Dom and I went back and forth on if we should officially follow the model's advise. We did have the Giants ranked dead last in our power rankings, and they're dead last in FTN's DAVE metric as well. Even still, DAVE includes data points where Taylor and Jones started, and the model isn't aware that DeVito will be playing the game's most important position. The Giants DAVE metric of -30.6% is also pulled up by preseason projections that had the Giants as a superior team then they've been thus far -- this is an important factor in our process so we do not fall victim to small sample sizes. Yes, we're more than half way done with the season, but teams have only played 8 or 9 games. That's a small sample, and we need more data to enhance our predictive powers.
The Giants DVOA metric - which only includes performances this season - is a -46.5%. This is easily the worst in the league - the Panthers -33.1% is 31st. We entered -46.5% as the Giants DAVE to make up for the QB change, and the model still wanted us to take the Giants. The lesson? 16 is a lot of fucking points.
Ok, back to the Giants offense.
DeVito is a 6'1, 210 quarterback who runs a quick 4.66 40. DeVito, currently 25 years young, was in college for 6 years, playing at Syracuse originally before transferring to Illinois for his.. senior season? Are you still a senior in year 6? I suppose. DeVito played well, completing 69.6% of his passes and earning a 84.5 grade from PFF, but wasn't considered a serious prospect due to his age and lack of playing time in college. It's far more impressive to put up those numbers as a 20 year old than a 24 year old. He's dropped back 41 times this season in the NFL, completing 63% of hisd passes for 6.4 yards per attempt, earning a 60.6 grade to go along with 29 rushing yards. He's averaging an unacceptably slow 3.33 time to throw, a recipe that could very well get him murdered, especially since he'll be playing behind one of the worst offensive lines in football (four of the lineman are bad, and LT Andrew Thomas is elite). They're also without TE Darren Waller (hamstring), who currently leads the team in targets. That leaves them with Wan'Dale Robinson, Daniel Bellinger, Darius Slayton, and Saquon Barkley as their top projected receivers, which a capable quarterback might be able to deal with, but DeVito isn't it.
Especially against the Cowboys defense, who are currently 4th in both DVOA and EPA/play. The best pass rush should overwhelm the Giants offensive line, Dallas currently ranks 2nd in pressure rate (35.8%) and 1st in ESPN's pass rush win rate (58%). The pressure will typically come from DE Micah Parsons (49 pressures), DE Demarcus Lawrence (25), and DT Osa Odighizuwa (22). Their are currently 7 edge rushers in the NFL who have pass rush win rates above 20%, and two of them are Parsons and Lawrence. Andrew Thomas can hold his own against anybody, but the rest of the Giants line doesn't stand a chance against these guys. With LB Markquese Bell, CB Stefon Gilmore, CB DaRon Blant, and S Malik Hooker, there isn't much in terms of a weakness in this defense.
Then the Cowboys have the ball:
The Cowboys are 17th in offensive DVOA and 6th in EPA/play. Dak Prescott ranks 4th in ESPN total QBR and 9th in PFF grades, completing 70.2% of his passes and gaining 7.6 yards per attempt. Prescott's 1.5% turnover worthy play ratio (PFF) is currently 2nd in the league behind Joe Burrow. CeeDee Lamb is currently having a career year, hauling in 57 balls for 827 yards and 3 touchdowns, good for a 89.4 grade from PFF, while Michael Gallup, TE Jake Ferguson, Brandin Cooks, and Tony Pollard are more than enough as complementary options. The Cowboys also have a top 10 offensive line. Tony Pollard is having a down year (his 4.0 yards per attempt is a career low), which is partially to blame for Dallas's lackluster rushing attack, which currently ranks 24th in DVOA.
The Giants defense is 26th in DVOA and 17th in EPA/play. Dexter Lawrence, one of the few true nose tackles left in football, is currently the top graded tackle by PFF grades and is a big reason why the Giants pass rush has been effective, which currently ranks 7th in pressure rate at 33%. The pressure rate is also scheme-based, as the Giants currently rank 2nd in blitz-rate at 37.4%. Prescott's numbers are similar when blitzed vs not blitzed, so that scheme shouldn't impact much. Bobby Okereke is one of the better coverage linebackers in football, which could help against guys like Ferguson and Pollard, but The Giants defensive issues come from their secondary. Deonte Banks currently leads all corners in coverage snaps and has a 42.6 coverage grade from PFF. That's not ideal.
16 is a lot of fucking points.