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Inside the Numbers

Inside the Numbers: Daniel Jones, Kyler Murray set for 1st matchup

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EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – MetLife Stadium will be the site of a rare NFL event on Sunday when the Giants host the Arizona Cardinals.

Kyler Murray and Daniel Jones, the top two quarterbacks selected in the 2019 NFL Draft, will start for the Cardinals and Giants, respectively. It will be just the ninth game since the 1970 merger in which rookie quarterbacks selected among the first 10 choices in the draft will start against each other.

This will be the first time rookies who were the first two quarterbacks chosen in their draft will square off since Sept. 13, 2015, when Tampa Bay's Jameis Winston (No. 1) played against Tennessee's Marcus Mariota (No. 2).

ROOKIE QBs EACH SELECTED IN TOP 10 STARTING AGAINST EACH OTHER SINCE 1970

Table inside Article
Date Higher Drafted QB Lower Drafted QB
11/07/1971 New England’s Jim Plunkett (No. 1) Houston’s Dan Pastorini (No. 3)+
09/19/1993 New England’s Drew Bledsoe (No. 1) Seattle’s Rick Mirer (No. 2)++
10/04/1998 Indianapolis’ Peyton Manning (No. 1) San Diego’s Ryan Leaf (No. 2)++
10/10/1999 Cleveland’s Tim Couch (No. 1) Cincinnati’s Akili Smith (No. 3)
09/25/2011 Carolina’s Cam Newton (No. 1) Jacksonville’s Blaine Gabbert (No. 10)
11/04/2012 Indianapolis’ Andrew Luck (No. 1) Miami’s Ryan Tannehill (No. 8)
09/13/2015 Tampa Bay’s Jameis Winston (No. 1) Tennessee’s Marcus Mariota (No. 2)++
12/09/2018 Jets’ Sam Darnold (No. 3) Buffalo’s Josh Allen (No. 7)
10/20/19 Arizona’s Kyler Murray (No. 1) Giants’ Daniel Jones (No. 6)
+Plunkett and Pastorini were selected first and third in the 1971 draft. A quarterback was also selected at No. 2 – Archie Manning. ++Matchup of the first two players selected in that year’s draft

In the eight previous top 10 rookie matchups, the higher draft choice was 5-3. The home/visiting team split is an even 4-4.

*This doesn't exactly qualify as a surprise, but it's very difficult succeeding against the NFL's finest defenses when you don't have your best offensive players. Just ask the Giants.

In their last two games, they faced Minnesota and New England, which are currently ranked fifth and first, respectively, in the league in yards allowed and sixth and first in points allowed.

Against the Vikings, the Giants were without Saquon Barkley for the entire game and his backup, Wayne Gallman, for more than three quarters. The Giants totaled 211 yards and 10 points. When they traveled to New England, the running backs were still inactive and they were joined by the team's two leading receivers, tight end Evan Engram and wideout Sterling Shepard. The Giants finished with 213 yards and scored one offensive touchdown.

The 424 yards is the Giants' lowest two-game total since Dec. 5-12, 2004, when they gained 341 yards in losses to Washington (145 yards) and Baltimore (196).

*The Giants ran 30 fewer plays than the Patriots (78-48), the Giants' largest such deficit since that loss to the Ravens 15 years ago, when it was 81-45.

*Each team scored a defensive touchdown on Thursday, the Giants on Markus Golden's 42-yard fumble return and the Patriots on Kyle Van Noy's 22-yard fumble return. That had last happened in a Giants game on Dec. 7, 2014, when Markus Kuhn scored on a 26-yard fumble return and Tennessee's Marqueston Huff returned an interception 23 yards for the Titans' only score in the Giants 36-7 victory.

*New England also scored on a blocked punt. The Patriots were the first Giants opponent to score touchdowns on a fumble return and a blocked kick in 31 years. On Nov. 20, 1988, Philadelphia overcame a seven-point, fourth-quarter deficit when wide receiver Cris Carter recovered a fumble by tight end Keith Jackson to tie the game, and Clyde Simmons scooped up a Luis Zendejas field goal attempt that was blocked by Sheldon White and returned it for the game-winning score in overtime.

*The Patriots were the first Giants opponents to score both defensive and special teams touchdowns since Dec. 13, 2009, when the Eagles – them again – scored on Sheldon Brown's 44-yard fumble return and DeSean Jackson's 72-yard punt return in a 45-38 Philadelphia victory.

*Giants linebacker Markus Golden has at least a half-sack in five consecutive games. He is the first Giants player to do that since Olivier Vernon from Nov. 6-Dec. 4, 2016.

*Tom Brady scored twice on one-yard runs vs. the Giants. He is the second opposing quarterback to rush for a touchdown this season, joining Buffalo's Josh Allen on Sept. 15. Brady was the first opposing quarterback to run for two scores since Randall Cunningham on Oct. 8, 1989 (on runs of one and five yards). Cunningham, naturally, played for the Eagles.

Brady, by the way, became the oldest player in NFL history to rush for two touchdowns in a game at 42 years and 68 days.

*New England's Julian Edelman and James White each had nine receptions last week, the first Giants opponents to accomplish that feat since Oct. 28, 2012, when Dallas' Jason Witten and Miles Austin did it. Witten caught 18 passes, the most ever by a Giants opponent. Austin had a mere nine receptions. The Giants won, 29-24.

Giants vs. Cardinals Broadcast Info: TV channel, Radio Station and Live Stream.

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