Well finally is almost here, first regular season game so thought I would give some early pregame thoughts regarding our first matchup.
First thing I would say is that generally I hate east coast games especially in the NY Stadium. For whatever reason, the Broncos have always seemed to struggle playing in the Meadowlands or now MetLife Stadium. Whether it was SB 48, or if many of you remember the 1998 season, our first loss of the season came to the Giants in the Meadowlands in what was arguably the worst game the Broncos had played in 2 seasons. In fact, our record against the Giants in NY is 1-6. Likewise, having some of our key players coming off injuries starting on what has been a notorious field for injuries has me somewhat concerned. That being said, at least it is a late afternoon game which we generally fair better with when playing in the east coast. I give the advantage to NY for this.
Looking at the coaching staffs of the two teams, I don't really give either team a huge advantage other than Fangio's staff has a definite experience factor going into the game. Judge is a 2nd year HC and changed a lot of his staff after year one. We should have an advantage of proven experience on our side. Advantage Broncos.
Giants Offense versus Broncos Defense. This should be a clear advantage for the Broncos. It's unclear if the Giants will be getting Shaquon Barkley back in action, it is also unclear how explosive he will be coming off his injury from last season as he has been held out of preseason action and has been limited to non contact drills. My guess is if he does see action it will be limited, and likely will be more focused as either a play action decoy or potentially as a wide receiving threat. The Giants QB situation has not looked promising, while I generally don't give too much hype to preseason. Daniel Jones played his first game last week in the preseason and did decent against a mix of mostly 2nd and 3rd team defenders from New England playing fairly vanilla defense. While I think Jones is a QB that can do well given time and when he is not the focus of the offense, without having Barkley as a true threat and a very inexperienced o-line, I am guessing Jones likely will have his struggles this week. Their skill positions at the wideout we should have a clear advantage against, which brings us to the TE position with Evan Engram and Kyle Rudolf where I am sure the Giants offense will try to focus and exploit our defense and our struggles with covering athletics TE's. If Simmons can at least provide some factor to slow down the threat. Engram did suffer an injury this week to his calf but it is unknown how serious it is. Rudolf also has been dealing with an injury so it is unclear if he will start. The Giants offensive line at least in preseason has not been great at protecting the QB. The starters are all fairly young group and athletic but with three rookies penciled in as starters, the Broncos should be poised to have a strong day rushing the passer. I would expect that Chubb and Miller should have at least 1 sack a piece at a minimum.
Broncos Offense versus Giants Defense. With what looks like to be a balanced attack by the Broncos and an o-line that should be somewhat improved with a year of experience together with 4/5 starters coming in and hopefully more consistent RT play, we should be able to sustain drives and move the ball against this team. The offense will obviously have to rely on being able to get solid production through the ground game and having WR and skill position players make some people miss or exploit breakdowns in coverage. I do think we will likely continue to struggle against the Giants with being able to convert TDs once we get into the red zone. The Giants definitely have talent in their DL and in their secondary, where they seem to struggle is in their LB corps , there are some decent players like Blake Martinez and Tae Crowder but they have lacked some explosive players from the LB position. They drafted Azeez Ojulari who may turn into that pass rushing specialist, but the rest of the LB corps bring limited explosive playmaking ability. I would expect that Shurmer is going to test their LB corps with steady dose of screens, and passes to the TE and RBs along with heavy does of run plays to the edges. If Bridgewater can limit turnovers and keep drives moving, we should be able to wear this defense down and I expect to score at least two TDs on offense.
Broncos ST vs Giants ST. I give the advantage to the Giants for no other reason that our ST have been awful. My hope is that on Kick offs we just go for touchbacks and punts we hopefully are not trying to hard to flip field position.
My prediction for the game is likely going to be a slow and kind of boring game from Denver's standpoint. A lot of dink and dunk type of plays on offense and defensively I think we are going to have some limited drives and likely give up some field goals and perhaps a long TD to the TE on some broken coverage.
Final score prediction Denver 20 Giants 13 with likely a late int in the 4th quarter to seal the victory.