The Giants’ Saquon Barkley had a huge rookie season but wasn’t quite as good last year while missing three games. What to expect this year? Here are Barkley’s odds at Mybookie to lead the NFL in rushing yards in the 2020 regular season as well as his over/under yardage total.
Barkley was the No. 2 overall pick in the 2018 draft out of Penn State. He had a huge first season, rushing for 1,307 yards and 11 touchdowns while catching 91 passes for 721 yards and four scores. Barkley was named NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year in setting multiple league records, tying Randy Moss for most 50+ yard touchdowns from scrimmage in a season, along with recording the most receptions (91) by a rookie running back.
Barkley was the first rookie to lead the Giants in rushing since Andre Williams in 2014 (with 721 yards) and the first to lead the club in receptions since Beckham that same season. Barkley also set three franchise records for rookies: most rushing touchdowns (11), most rushing yards (1,307), and most total touchdowns (15). Barkley and Odell Beckham Jr. (now with Cleveland) are the only 2 Giants to win the Offensive Rookie of the Year Award.
In a Sept. 16, 2018 game vs. Dallas, Barkley set a Giants record with 14 receptions (for 80 yards). The previous record of 13 was set by Barber, also in Dallas (on Jan. 2, 2000). Barkley’s 14 catches were tied for the 3rd-highest total ever by an NFL running back. Barkley’s 14 receptions tied the NFL rookie record, regardless of position, set by Philadelphia receiver Don Looney against Washington on Dec. 1, 1940, and tied by Washington running back Roy Helu, Jr. vs. Carolina on Nov. 6, 2011.
Barkley also led the NFL with a Giants rookie-record 2,028 yards from scrimmage. Barkley was the first Giants player to lead the NFL in yards from scrimmage since Tiki Barber did in 2005 with a franchise-record 2,390 (1,860 rushing/530 receiving).
Barkley’s 15 total touchdowns broke the former Giants rookie record of 12 that had been shared by Bill Paschal (1943) and Beckham (2014). It was the 6th time in Giants history a player scored at least 15 touchdowns in a season: Joe Morris (21 in 1985, 15 in 1986), Gene “Choo-Choo” Roberts (17 on 1949), Barber (15 in 2004), and Brandon Jacobs (15 in 2008).
Last year, Barkley rushed for 1,003 yards in 13 games to become the first player in Giants history to rush for at least 1,000 yards in each of his first 2 seasons. He missed the majority of the Giants’ Week 3 win over Tampa, leaving the game with the ankle injury, and then sat out the next three weeks. Barkley was not the same explosive player when he returned in Week 7. It took until Week 15 for him to break the 100-yard mark again in a game.
On Dec. 22, 2019, Barkley set a franchise record with 279 yards from scrimmage (189 rushing and 90 receiving) in an overtime victory at Washington. The previous record of 276 yards was set by Barber vs. Philadelphia on Dec. 28, 2002. Barber rushed for 203 yards and added 73 receiving yards. Barkley’s 279 yards was the highest total by any NFL player in 2019.
Barkley, Carolina’s Christian McCaffrey and New Orleans’ Alvin Kamara are the only NFL players who totaled more than 1,000 rushing and 1,000 receiving yards in 2018-19.
The Giants have an entirely new coaching staff this year. New head coach Joe Judge said the offense will be “similarly based” off what offensive coordinator Jason Garrett ran in Dallas. Before Cowboys OC Kellen Moore revitalized the offense last season, Dallas annually had one of the slowest-paced and run-heaviest offenses under Garrett’s watch. Garrett hasn’t called plays since 2012. However, each season between 2016 and 2019, Dallas ranked top 10 in rush attempts. The Giants could feature Barkley like the Cowboys did Ezekiel Elliott when he won two rushing titles (2016 and 2018).
The Giants open at home on Sept. 14 and are 3.5-point underdogs vs. Pittsburgh.