This article is part of our NFL Observations series.
That was fun. I had the Football Team -4.5, but was happy to see the Giants get a win after the missed field goal. Only Dexter Lawrence jumped offsides, and they lost. Worst of both worlds -- no win, no cover.
- Daniel "Lamar Jackson" Jones did not turn the ball over, ran for 95 yards and a touchdown and nearly had a second long one, but for a holding call. Jones ran only a 4.81 40 at the 2019 Combine, but he looks a lot faster than that, and his designed runs are a major part of the game plan. While Jones took four sacks, the offensive line gave him enough time more often than not, and he was able to step into his throws, including a perfect deep ball TD to Darius Slayton. He slightly overthrew a wide open Slayton for a would-be second long TD (he was so wide open there was no need to lead him that much) but Slayton still should have caught it. Bottom line, the designed runs and better protection bodes well for Jones.
- Saquon Barkley (13-57-0, 3-2-12) has a deceptively decent line, but when you take away his one 41-yard scamper, he went 12 for 16 on his other carries. The good news is he played 58 of 69 total snaps, and he looked perfectly healthy and got a good workload on only four days' rest. I'd assume he'll have his full workload in 10 days, but the offensive line needs to run block much better.
- Sterling Shepard (10-9-94-0) looks awfully spry this year, and he's still Jones' favorite target. Kenny Golladay (8-3-38-0) is healthy, but hasn't been able to get open as well as Shepard. Moreover, Darius Slayton (6-3-54-1) is being used as the deep guy, cutting into Golladay's upside. Slayton should have had a massive game, but for the dropped second TD.
- Graham "Justin Tucker" Gano has made 35-straight field goals, seven of which were from beyond 50 yards.
- The Giants (after the James Bradberry pick) were too conservative with two minutes left and WFT having all of its timeouts. I love Barkley, but he had been stuffed all day, so running him into the teeth of the defense just to make the Team burn timeouts was a mistake.
- Taylor Heinicke can play, though he looked less mobile to me than I remember from last year's playoffs. He was smart enough to force-feed Terry McLaurin, though.
- Antonio Gibson (13-69-0, 2-2-4-0) passes the eye test -- he's smooth, quick, break tackles and pushes the pile. But it looks like they're still using J.D. McKissic (4-10-1, 6-5-83-0) on third downs and in the two-minute drill. McKissic even got the rushing TD on a nice play call when the Giants were expecting a pass. I wouldn't be worried if I had Gibson, though.
- Terry McLaurin (14-11-107-1) was everywhere and put up this line with Bradberry (one of the league's top corners) on him a lot of the time. The sky is the limit, and Heinicke is plenty good enough to support him.
- Dustin Hopkins sure got bailed out by that offsides which didn't affect his initial missed kick.
- The WFT team defense did not look especially stout in what should have been a great matchup.