The season started so well for quarterback Sam Darnold and his new team, the Carolina Panthers. One of the trio of blue chip quarterbacks coming out of college four years ago, Darnold went second in the 2018 National Football League behind another quarterback, Cleveland Browns pick Baker Mayfield. The third highly ranked quarterback in that draft was Josh Allen, he was chosen by the Buffalo Bills with the seventh pick and has enjoyed the most success at the professional level.
The least success belongs to Darnold.
The USC product spent the first three years of his career in what has turned into a quarterback hell, behind center with the New York Jets. His three seasons produced dismal results as measured both by site and stats. He started 38 of the 48 games the Jets played in his three years in New York, compiled a won/loss record of 13-25, and threw nearly as many interceptions as touchdowns, 45-39. Darnold’s best season in New York was his sophomore year, 2019, when he won seven of his 13 starts and had a quarterback rating of 84.3.
With the Panthers, Darnold has established a 79.7 Quarterback Rating while splitting his first six decisions and surrendering as many interceptions as touchdowns thrown. Seven interceptions; seven touchdowns.
In addition to being led by a quarterback that used to play at MetLife Stadium, the Panthers bring one more factor back to New York today, their coach got a lot more money to be with Carolina because the Giants were in the bidding for his services. Matt Rhule, had been on the Giants staff in 2012, originally hired by Tom Coughlin, and then went on to turn around two college programs at Temple and Baylor.
The Giants were in search of a new head coach in the same year the Panthers were, and the one-time Giant had negotiating leverage with the Panthers, where he eventually signed for more than previous head coaches with comparable experience. Once thought to be headed to the Giants, instead the money and opportunity pointed Rhule south.
The Panthers three season opening victories were gained in likely spots. They opened at home against the New York Jets, then caught an overconfident New Orleans Saints squad following the Saints lopsided opening day upset of the Green Bay Packers, 38-3. Their third win came on the road against the weakest team in the league, the Houston Texans.
Their three losses were against the Dallas Cowboys, Philadelphia Eagles and Minnesota Vikings, all teams that can be considered better than the New York Giants. That is why the Panthers are favored on the road today, they give 3 points on the spread against a Giants team that has been slammed over the past two weeks by scores of 44-20 and 38-11 in contests against the Dallas Cowboys and Los Angeles Rams respectively.
The Giants have only one win in six starts this season and that one victory came against the New Orleans Saints in Week Four action. That is what the Giants and Panthers have in common this year, they both beat the Saints.
Darnold is well familiar with this venue, both the Giants and Jets utilize MetLife Stadium for their home games. But, today he will use the visitor locker room and be playing against the other New York team.
My numbers tell me he is going to have another bad memory on this field.
Qoxhi Picks: New York Giants (+3) over Carolina Panthers