Sunday Night Football: Deep Dive

Warren Sharp
·4 min read

If a loss can ever be impressive, Baker Mayfield’s Browns delivered an impressive loss to the Baltimore Ravens on Monday night.

For the second time in two weeks, we get to see the magic that Kevin Stefanski created this offseason.

Even though this offense is Stefanski’s one constant remains, and that is Baker Mayfield struggles under pressure, and his splits are far worse than an average quarterback.

The Giants Defense ranks 8th best in pressure rate on the season.

The only 3 teams that Baker faced that were top-10 in pressure rate were Washington, Pittsburgh and Philadelphia so far this season.

The offense put up points vs Washington, but that’s because 4 of 5 drives began in Washington territory on short fields thanks to now backup QB Dwayne Haskins turnovers for Washington.

They scored only 7 points vs Pittsburgh.

And against the Eagles, they scored 13 offensive points, with 9 of their 22 total points scored by the defense.

The Giants Defense struggled to stop Kyler Murray last week, but will use a totally different game plan vs Baker Mayfield.

The biggest edge for the Browns Offense here will be the loss of stud CB James Bradberry due to close contact for COVID tracing. Bradberry is the guy in that secondary that brings it all together. His ability to lock down opposing offenses top receivers allows the rest of the secondary to “do their job” and have a far easier time. He is one of the top graded CBs in the entire NFL. Not having him available is a huge blow to what the Giants can do defensively.

Left on the roster is Isaac Yiadom (60th of 126 in CB grades), slot CB Darnay Holmes (95th) who is banged up and Montre Hartage with his 21 career snaps.

Once Bradberry was announced out, what was a 5 point spread in favor of the Browns jumped to 6 points, with some spots as high as 6.5 points. To reiterate, the Bradberry loss was massive and the line adjusted appropriately.

The reason for the Giants lopsided loss last week can be traced down to two key stats: fumbles and sacks.

In the Giants loss last week, the Arizona Cardinals fumbled 3 times, but recovered all of them.

The Giants fumbled 5 times and lost 3 of them.

Kyler Murray was sacked once, while Daniel Jones was sacked 6 times.

Sacks are drive killers. Turnovers are game killers.

For this reason, I have no idea why a banged up, limited Daniel Jones was even out on the field for the Giants.

Colt McCoy isn’t as good, but he just emerged from Seattle with a win over the Seahawks and Daniel Jones clearly wasn’t close to being healthy.

Jones was nursing a hamstring injury which severely compromised his mobility. Jones is no where close to the level you could play him despite being compromised. You would do that for only one of two reasons:

1. You have a QB with a laser rocket arm who can make all the throws with precision and can just use him out of shotgun with a redesigned offense to get rid of the ball quickly, on time, so prevent him from moving around in the pocket.

2. You have a QB with years and years of experience, who is so much better than the backup at getting into the right plays, calling out audibles, adjusting to coverage, and whose mental acuity is off the charts.

Neither of those are the case with second-year QB Daniel Jones.

Jones uses his legs to escape pressure, and constantly runs the football. His inability to do that was a great reason to bet the under 17.5 in his rushing yards last week, and is worth a look this week if the Giants name him as starter.

Which they shouldn’t do, given the fact that his lack of mobility last week caused him to sustain an ankle injury and now he’s dealing with hamstring and ankle injuries.

I would much rather take my chances with a healthy Colt McCoy than a completely limited Daniel Jones.

Most of the Giants offensive production comes from the passing game, not the running game. Only the Jets have a higher rate of production skewed to the passing game. As such, limiting the passing game with an injured QB hurts the Giants far more than other teams.

Over the last month, the Giants use 11 personnel to pass the ball on 72% of their attempts, a higher rate than average, but are recording just 32%^ success, -0.33 EPA/att and 6.2 YPA out of these passes, with 0 TDs and 1 interception. And defending 11 personnel passes, even without CB Denzel Ward on the field, has been a strength for the Browns, as they allow just 44% success, -0.16 EPA/att and 5.8 YPA.

Ordinarily I would be looking towards backing the home dog in this spot, especially after a loss they sustained last week and the opportunity to catch the Browns on a short week. But given the uncertainty at quarterback for the Giants, I can’t do it.

OddsMoney LinePoint SpreadTotal Points
+380+9.5O 57.5
Kansas City
-500-9.5U 57.5