The New York Giants enter Week 1 of the 2021 NFL season very much as they did for the majority of the season prior — as underdogs. The Denver Broncos are 1.5 point favorites heading into Sunday’s tilt in East Rutherford. Yet, while the spread is fairly close and both teams’ talent levels are viewed in a similar fashion by the masses, that didn’t stop former Broncos running back Montee Ball from giving the Giants some bulletin board material this week.
“Giants should be a walk. A cakewalk,” Ball said on the Broncos Breakdown podcast. “We should go into New York and obviously come out with a W there.”
To further rub it in, Ball showed more faith — albeit not much — in the Jacksonville Jaguars’ chances of knocking off his former team the following week. “Jacksonville, who knows. They’re looking like they’re putting their pieces together. Still a young team. Young, young team. Obviously Trevor Lawrence, very, very young, of course. I think that we’ll be able to get him rattled for sure because he’s gonna play against the top defense [in] Week 2.”
For what it’s worth, the Broncos haven’t opened a season with a Week 1 victory since 2018 and finished the 2020 season losing five of their final six games. Then again, it’s not as if the Giants have faired much better, starting the past four seasons with a record of 0-2 or worse.
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Vic Fangio on Daniel Jones: ‘I Think He’s Got it All’
While Ball may not be taking the Giants all too seriously, those currently in the Broncos’ locker room are singing a bit of a different tune.
While speaking with reporters, head coach Vic Fangio, one of the league’s brighter defensive minds, was quick to heap praise on Big Blue’s third-year signal-caller, Daniel Jones.
“Well, he’s got a big arm,” Fangio said of Jones while on a conference call. “He’s athletic. He can throw from the pocket. He can improvise with his athleticism and speed and get outside the pocket and hurt you with his running and scrambling. I think he’s a tough guy who will hang in the pocket too, which allows things to come open late. I think he’s got it all for the Giants to have their quarterback.”
Saquon Barkley: ‘I’m Ready to Go’
Jones wasn’t the only offensive starter that drew praise from Fangio, who chimed in on the well-rounded skillset of Pro Bowl running back Saquon Barkley.
“He’s [a] dual-threat back in that he’s really good on the handoffs and he’s a good receiver, both coming out of the backfield and when they split him out from the backfield,” Fangio noted of Barkley. “For a big guy, he runs with a nimbleness of a much smaller guy, but yet you feel his 230-plus pounds too in his running style. He’s a big guy that runs with a style at times of a much smaller guy. When you put that into a big man’s body that he has, it makes it double tough.”
Barkley, who hasn’t appeared in an NFL game since tearing his ACL in Week 2 of last season, was listed as Questionable on the Giants’ Friday injury report. Having said that, Barkley has been a limited participant in each of the team’s past three practices and the belief is that he’ll be on the field come game time on Sunday.