Though he only stands at 5’11” and weighs 233-pounds, New York Giants’ star running back Saquon Barkley plays like he’s a lot bigger, breaking through tackles with 4.40 speed, finding his way into (and through) the opponents’ secondary more often than not.
Barkley had an off sophomore season in 2019 due to a high ankle sprain suffered in Week 3, and for the rest of the season, it seemed obvious at times that his injury had never fully healed, and his drop in production reflected that.
Now fully healed and hungry to get back to his rookie form, Barkley has a better front line blocking for him and a new head coach, Joe Judge, ready to lead his Giants back to the postseason, so we take a look here at the predictions and odds of his 2020 total rushing yards.
Odds taken 8 June 2020, from DraftKings
Barring another injury, Barkley should be able to easily cover this over having beaten it by over a hundred yards his rookie season. Please remember that the odds in these wagers will shift plenty of times before the actual games are played, so be sure to check back here often to get all the latest numbers.
Bet the under if you think Barkley will not be able to play in all 16 games since that is most likely the only way he will run for less than 1,201 yards given his central role in the Giants’ offensive scheme.
Blame the high ankle sprain that shortened Barkley’s season, blame the horrible blocking by the now upgraded offensive line, or blame the weak game planning done by now-fired head coach Pat Shurmur, regardless, the former Penn State superstar from the Bronx had a drop in production his sophomore season.
From 2018 to 2019, Barkley’s total yards from scrimmage sunk from a league-leading 2,028 to just 1,441, his total touchdowns almost cut in half, dropping from 15 his rookie season to just 8 in 2019.
In Barkley’s first season in the league, he averaged an impressive 5.0 yards per carry, remarkable especially considering he was a rookie, while last year that slipped to 4.6 yards per carry, still impressive but well under what the team and fans expect (and needs) from their superstar.
With the selection of Georgia stud offensive tackle Andrew Thomas with the 4th overall pick in the NFL draft, the New York Giants bought themselves an instant starter and certain playmaker who is known for being an excellent run blocker on the field.
Great news for Barkley – instead of having to make plays by escaping tackles right off the line of scrimmage, he will now be capable of building up speed through the holes Thomas will undoubtedly create, and that’s going to add yards to his total and make everyone on the team play better.
Including Daniel Jones, the young second-year starting quarterback who will also benefit from having Thomas’ ability to pass protection from the right side, which keeps the Giants’ passing game from being snuffed and turning them into an easily defensible, one-dimensional, sure-to-run kind of team like last season.
Another factor affecting Barkley and his teammates in 2020 is the firing of Shurmur and the hiring of new head coach Joe Judge, the former special team’s coordinator of the Super Bowl Champion New England Patriots.
Though Barkley will deal mostly with Giants offensive coordinator Jason Garrett and running backs coach Burton Burns, the fact that the team has a new boss means that an entirely new game plan will have to be implemented and learned by returning players and everyone new.
Good thing Barkley doesn’t care about such things – just hand him the ball and give him a sliver of light and he will turn that into something worth watching, and that will come as a welcome relief for Giants fans who’ve only gotten to watch their team play football in January once in the last eight seasons.
Pick: Take the over here because Barkley is healthy, hungry and now heavily blocked, all of which will help him find his rookie groove again.
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Mike Lukas is a retired standup comedian turned freelance writer now living in Dallas, Texas, originally from Cleveland, Ohio. His love for the game of football and all things Cleveland Browns turned Mike into a pro blogger years ago. Now Mike enjoys writing about all thirty-two NFL teams, hoping to help football gamblers gain a slight edge in their pursuit of the perfect wager. Email: [email protected]More info on Mike Lukas
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