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Giants vs Broncos: Week 1 NFL preview

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The New York Giants play host to the Denver Broncos in what should be a gritty defensive battle in Sunday’s Week 1 action. Continue reading for our full preview, key matchups to watch and score prediction for this late-afternoon showdown.

See how the Giants and Broncos stack up in our latest NFL power rankings

New York Giants vs Denver Broncos: What you need to know

Giants tackles vs Bradley Chubb & Von Miller

New York Giants vs Denver Broncos: What you need to know
Oct 14, 2018; Denver, CO, USA; Denver Broncos linebacker Bradley Chubb (55) celebrates with linebacker Von Miller (58) after a sack against the Los Angeles Rams in the fourth quarter at Broncos Stadium at Mile High. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

This is mainly directed as second-year New York left tackle Andrew Thomas. He was a top-four pick out of Georgia in 2020 and got absolutely manhandled as a rookie for the most part. Thomas must play better, or else Giants quarterback Daniel Jones is going to have a rough time.

Veteran Nate Solder may step in for Thomas if he isn’t up to snuff, and meanwhile, Solder is still competing with Matt Peart for snaps at right tackle. Having those key positions in flux isn’t great, what with the Broncos boasting one of the NFL’s premier pass-rushing duos on the edge in Bradley Chubb and Von Miller.

  • Thomas The Turnstile: You never want to see a young player fail, especially in the New York media market, where he’s put on blast. That said, Thomas ranked 69th out of 75 offensive tackles in Pro Football Focus’ pass blocking grades last season. Not a promising start whatsoever.
  • Miller Time: Chubb had 7.5 sacks in 2020 even with Miller out for the whole season. A torn ACL limited Chubb to only four games the year before. When this pair last played together in 2018, they combined for 26.5 sacks. All opposing QBs will be on notice, but it’s worth monitoring how Chubb’s ankle injury impacts his playing status.

Advantage: Denver Broncos

Will the Giants or Broncos make it to the postseason? Read our NFL playoff predictions now

Joe Judge vs Vic Fangio

Giants vs Broncos: Week 1 NFL preview
New York Giants quarterback Daniel Jones (8) throws the ball as head coach Joe Judge looks on during OTA practice at the Quest Diagnostics Training Center on Friday, June 4, 2021, in East Rutherford. Credit: Danielle Parhizkaran/NorthJersey.com via Imagn Content Services, LLC

This is an interesting coaching matchup between two no-nonsense style of leaders. What’s fascinating is, it doesn’t seem like the Giants or Broncos are having any trouble buying in.

You could see how Judge or Fangio could alienate the modern player. Instead, Judge got the Giants off the mat from a 0-5 start last season to finish 6-10. Fangio’s record regressed to 5-11 from a 7-9 mark in his first season at the helm in Denver, but there was never a sense he was truly on the hot seat.

  • Judge’s Way: Coming over from Bill Belichick and the New England Patriots, Judge was a polarizing hire to begin with. It’s an encouraging sign that his version of the Patriot Way is catching on thus far.
  • Fangio On The Fringe: It’s a real pressure cooker in Denver. There are no more excuses amid Fangio’s third season, and especially in the AFC West, if he can’t keep up, the Broncos likely won’t hesitate to move on, especially with a new GM in place in George Paton.

Advantage: New York Giants

Daniel Jones vs Teddy Bridgewater

Giants vs Broncos: Week 1 NFL preview
Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

Two vastly different quarterback styles here. Jones is an attacking, aggressive and accurate downfield thrower with excellent athleticism who can really extend plays with his legs — and may need to often with a collapsing pocket.

Teddy Bridgewater beat out Drew Lock for the Broncos’ starting QB gig because of his high football IQ, aversion to risk-taking and experience. He lacks the deep throwing talent of Jones, but he’s a better decision-maker and is precise in the short passing game, which is all he really needs with so many playmakers around him.

  • Darn-It Danny: More apt than his “Danny Dimes” nickname, because Jones has a whopping 29 fumbles through two seasons, which is alarming to say the least. Provided he cleans up that area of his game and gets marginally better pass protection, expect a big Year 3 jump from the Giants field general.
  • More Than A Bridge QB: With Courtland Sutton Jerry Jeudy, Noah Fant, KJ Hamler and Tim Patrick to throw to, Bridgewater may be in his best situation yet to thrive as a starting quarterback. The depth of pass-catchers at his disposal will give even the Giants’ solid secondary fits.

Advantage: Denver Broncos

The bottom line: Jones’ mobility to escape trouble, and Bridgewater’s lack of arm strength should allow the Giants to jump all over underneath routes. Miller may take until later in the season before he’s back to peak form. If this meeting were in October, the Broncos would get the nod. For now, we’ll roll with Big Blue at home in a close one.

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