Saquon Barkley and Daniel Jones Keys For New York Giants vs. Minnesota Vikings

The trick to winning an NFL playoff game is giving the ball to your best player and letting him do his thing. For the New York Giants this Sunday, will that player be Saquon Barkley? Or Daniel Jones? Or both?

Against the NFL’s second-worst passing defense, the correct answer is probably some combination of the two.

Barkley ended the regular season as the NFL’s fourth-leading rusher with 1,312 yards. But he has not rushed for more than 87 yards since Nov. 13 — two months ago. Jones ended the regular season with 708 rushing yards to go along with his 3,205 passing yards, which ranked 15th among NFL quarterbacks. Barkley caught 57 passes, tied with Richie James for the team lead.

As they prep for Sunday’s NFC wild-card game by turning up the speakers at full blast at practice to replicate the noise they will experience in Minneapolis, coach Brian Daboll and his staff are scheming a game plan. Thinking like a coach and using common sense and creativity will help you wager on this one, in which the line sits at Giants -3 at all nine of New York’s nine licensed sportsbooks.

Kickoff is 4:30 p.m. EST Sunday, with New York looking for its first postseason victory since 2011. Minnesota last won a playoff game three years ago, needing overtime to defeat the New Orleans Saints. Anyone wagering the game today, Friday the 13th, must overcome triskaidekaphobia (fear of the number 13).

Best Gambling Strategy

Well, the teams played on Christmas Eve, and Greg Joseph won it with a 61-year field goal on the game’s final play. That’s after the NFL’s leading receiver, Justin Jefferson, had the last of his 12 catches to get Joseph close enough to make the longest kick of his career.

The 3-point victory was the last of 11 single-digit victories for the Vikings, who lost by 24 to Green Bay and then defeated Chicago by 16 to finish the regular season 13-4. They are seeded third behind the San Francisco 49ers, winners of 10 straight, because of the conference winning percentage tiebreaker.

Last week, Daboll rested all of his regulars, along with backup quarterback Tyrod Taylor, in a meaningless 22-16 loss against the top-seeded Philadelphia Eagles. It was meaningless because the Giants were already locked into the sixth seed. But as any Giants fan will tell you, they haven’t looked all that great since Dec. 12. That’s when they defeated the Washington Commanders 20-12 behind the defensive exploits of rookie Kayvon Thibodeaux, who had a strip sack and recovered the ensuing fumble for a touchdown in a breakout performance.

But that was more than a month ago. And the Giants have very few players with postseason experience.

Sunday will mark Daboll’s first time leading an NFL team as a head coach. But he won five Super Bowls with the New England Patriots as an assistant, and has been to the postseason each of the past three seasons as the offensive coordinator of the Buffalo Bills. He won a college national championship with Nick Saban at Alabama. All three coordinators on his staff have Super Bowl rings: Defensive coordinator Wink Martindale won with the Baltimore Ravens, offensive coordinator Mike Kafka won with the Kansas City Chiefs, and special teams coordinator Thomas McGaughey won with the Giants in 2007.

“I’ve been around a lot of different teams that have had varying levels of experience — some a lot, some a little, some not much,” Daboll told reporters. “I think really, what matters is taking advantage of your opportunities when they come and playing a good football game and coaching a good football game. But I really think it’s an overrated thing.”

So this is uncharted territory for New Yorkers, who are now worried about whether they will ever be able to buy a gas stove again as their governor, a Buffalo Bills fan, pushes through green legislation that ignores the fact that electric stoves must be fueled by something. And that will likely be fossil fuels since, the Indian Point nuclear power plant has been decommissioned.

(Side note: Assemblyman J. Gary Pretlow, head of the state Gaming Commission, told this site that state legislators referenced Fukishima when making that decision, despite the fact that Indian Point is in Buchanan, New York. “If Buchanan was underwater, that also means that all of Long Island and New York City would be underwater,” Pretlow said in disbelief.)

You cannot make this stuff up.

A Same-Game Parlay That Makes Sense

The sportsbooks are changing their parlay rules daily, which is par for the course in New York. That’s because the state’s politicians have been doing the same thing since the COVID pandemic began. But that being the case, we went hunting and based our research on the premise that New Yorkers who wager will be wagering on the Giants to win. Several options are below. Do with them what you wish.


Good luck this weekend!