Somehow, this is a key game in the playoff hunt for both sides. The Giants are just a game away from being tied for the NFC’s seventh seed, while the Saints are locked in a very tight NFC South race. With the stakes as high as they’ve been all year, key players on both sides are bound to be pushing hard to make a contribution. So let’s see who might have a big day. Get Giants vs. Saints player prop picks & odds for the (12/17/23) matchup, as Saquon Barkley, Derek Carr, and more take the field.
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As fun as the rise of “Tommy Cutlets” has been, the Giants want to be a ground-first team and the Saints defense definitely lends itself to that approach, and the exact same could be said about the other side of the ball for both teams. Let’s see how these trends play out on the field.
Saquon Barkley Over 67.5 Rushing Yards (-115)
At his best, Barkley is one of the best, most-talented backs we’ve seen in recent memory. He’s not often close to his ceiling, but when he is, it’s special. It could be argued that he’s trending in the right direction. He’s been over this number in six of his last eight outings, and one of the remaining two was a 66-yard performance, so he was just a short carry away from cracking this threshold.
With undrafted rookie Tommy DeVito in at quarterback, the Giants want to make things as simple for him as possible. Establishing a strong run game is a great way to accomplish that. Against a Saints defense that ranks 24th in DVOA against the run – compared to ninth against the pass – a heavy dose of Barkley is going to be their best approach, as it will allow them to stay ahead of the sticks and keep DeVito in comfortable situations.
If you believe that there’s upset potential in this one – which I surely believe – the script element comes into play. The Giants are six point underdogs, so the expectation is that they will be behind and throwing. If the game turns out to be more competitive than that, that notion could be dispelled very quickly.
Wan’Dale Robinson 31.5 Receiving Yards (-105)
Throughout the Giants’ surprising three-game win streak with DeVito at the helm, Robinson has undoubtedly been his most consistent wideout. The team’s leading receiver in this uninspiring offensive season has been Darius Slayton, but he hasn’t really held DeVito’s favor. He’s been below 20 yards in each of the past two games. In those contests, Robinson has racked up 35 and 26 yards, while both wideouts were right in the neighborhood of 80 yards in a banner day against the Commanders.
When a new quarterback takes over, he’ll often latch onto a receiver to whom he’s comfortable throwing the ball. With 12 targets over the past couple of games – compared to five for Slayton – it seems like Robinson is that guy. The Giants may not have a particularly prolific passing day against a solid Saints air defense, but they will throw the ball at times, and someone has to be the beneficiary. This isn’t a tremendously high bar for Robinson to eclipse. The second-year pro could do it with three or so catches.
Derek Carr Under 217.5 Passing Yards (-115)
Similarly to the Saints’ own unit, the Giants pass defense is a definitive strength. They rank 14th in DVOA on opponent dropbacks, compared to an abysmal 29th when stopping the run. If you’re the Saints – whose air attack is 22nd in DVOA compared to 12th for the ground game – you’re most likely perfectly happy with that dichotomy, as you can play your preferred offense and simply run the ball.
New Orleans has a Pass Rate Over Expected of -2.5%, so they run the ball more than average on a normal day. With a defensive matchup that could make it very hard to throw but quite easy to run, don’t expect Carr to be too prolific.
Carr is averaging just over 220 yards per game this season, so it would only take a small deviation below the mean for him to cash this under. This should definitely be a below-average air game for New Orleans in terms of volume. He’s been below this number in six games this season, so nearly half of his outings thus far, and he should do it again this Sunday, especially if the Saints do pull ahead like the spread implies they should.
Randy Bullock Over 1.5 Field Goals Made (+130)
It’s time; Randy Bullock is going to have his first multi-field goal game as a member of the New York Football Giants. Bullock is 4 for 5 thus far, with that production quite satisfyingly distributed across his past four outings with one field goal in each. Last week was his first with two attempts, but he missed a longer kick than he’d be dealing with at the end of a drive that stalls in the red zone.
Why is that distinction so important? The Giants have the 29th most efficient red-zone offense in the NFL, with just 44.12% of their trips inside the opponent’s 20 yard line turning into touchdowns. If they can move the ball – which they should against that New Orleans ground defense – they can get Bullock into range. But against a pretty solid Saints red-zone defense, they’re unlikely to consistently finish drives. Due to Bullock’s low level of productivity to this point, we’re getting a fantastic price, and it’s officially time to capitalize on the low point of his projections.