The Giants' last five games have been decided by a total of 10 points, including their one-point loss to the Eagles on Oct. 22 at the Linc. So do I like the Eagles, giving 3.5 points? No, I do not. I want to see all these shiny refurbished parts actually fit together, as the injury list diminishes.
The Giants weren’t able to do much offensively in the last meeting, except sneak their quarterback around right end for 80 yards. I think Daniel Jones might fare better this time; New York’s offensive line has improved steadily. The Giants' biggest offensive problem is their turnover-prone quarterback, which is something they share with the Eagles.
I think Joe Judge’s team has improved steadily since its 0-5 start. I don’t feel the same way about the Eagles. Every victory this season has been won by clawing and scratching and shaking off terrible, stupid mistakes; if everything suddenly falls into place this week, because a couple of rusty regulars return, I will be amazed. Oh, and Doug Pederson is 1-3 coming out of the bye.
Prediction: Eagles 26, Giants 24
The adage about the difficulty of beating a divisional opponent twice within a short span comes into play Sunday with the Eagles visiting the New York Giants three weeks after they rallied to beat them, 22-21. Nothing is guaranteed in the NFL, certainly not in the NFC East this season, and most definitely not with the Eagles. The Giants were an Evan Engram catch away from winning the first game, and have played sound football since.
Quarterback Daniel Jones, for the first time this season, didn’t have a turnover Sunday vs. Washington. Ball security can’t be overstated and when he has played within himself, the Giants have competed. But he needs production on the ground to take some weight off his shoulders. Jones got it last week as running backs Wayne Gallman and Alfred Morris combined to rush for 135 yards on 23 carries. Morris was a practice squad call-up with Devonta Freeman nursing an ankle injury. Many of his yards came courtesy of an offensive line that is vastly improved over previous incarnations.
The Eagles haven’t given up much on the ground, at least to running backs, but they have to be sound against misdirection plays and the occasional zone read. Jones, of course, ran for 80 yards on one play when the Eagles defense failed to account for his mobility.
On offense, the Eagles are nearly back to full strength. Miles Sanders and Isaac Seumalo should be back in the lineup. Doug Pederson has shied away from the run over the last month, in part because of Sanders' absence, but the running back’s return should conceivably place less stress on Carson Wentz. The quarterback has been asked to do too much this season and the results have been subpar. He has an NFL-worst 16 turnovers and has yet to have a game without a giveaway.
Having Seumalo back at left guard would have the starting offensive line at full strength. The Giants' defensive front is their strength with Leonard Williams, Dalvin Tomlinson, and Dexter Lawrence, and moving that meat and protecting Wentz will be foremost among the Eagles' objectives. This could be the game that tight end Dallas Goedert is unleashed after missing time with an ankle injury. He wasn’t as involved in his first game back vs. the Cowboys, but there are potential mismatches if Pederson can get him matched up against certain Giants defenders in coverage.
This game won’t likely be easy. Has anything come easy this season for the Eagles? But I think the week off and the returning players from injury should be enough against a young, tough Giants outfit.
Prediction: Eagles 27, Giants 23
The Eagles have beaten the Giants 8 straight times, but 7 of those 8 games have been decided by a touchdown or less, including their 22-21 come-from-behind victory 3 weeks ago.
Even with the likelihood of running back Miles Sanders, left guard Isaac Seumalo, right tackle Lane Johnson and lame duck wide receiver Alshon Jeffery returning Sunday, even with the Eagles coming off a bye week and being well-rested, chances are pretty good that this game, like so many others, will come down to the last couple of minutes.
The Eagles won the turnover battle in the first meeting with the Giants. It was only the second time this season that that has happened. They started fast, driving 75 yards on 11 plays for a go-ahead touchdown, then hit the snooze button for much of the rest of the game until Carson Wentz managed to engineer two late touchdown drives to eke out a victory.
If the Eagles get Sanders, Seumalo, and Johnson back, it puts their offense as close to whole as it’s been in a while. But for better or worse, the Eagles' offense revolves around Wentz, and God knows which version of the Deer Hunter we’re going to get at the Meadowlands on Sunday.
Defensively, as long as the Eagles don’t turn the ball over a lot and give the Giants short fields to work with, Jim Schwartz’s unit should be fine. Brandon Graham and the rest of the pass rush should have a festive pre-Thanksgiving time pressuring Daniel Jones.
How does 4-4-1 sound to you?
Prediction: Eagles 24, Giants 17
I’ve been fooled before, but this should be the game in which the Eagles put things together.
Coming off the bye week, with several key offensive players either returning or getting healthier, the Eagles offense should look more like a cohesive group. Doug Pederson likely spent most of his week off figuring out what’s plagued the offense so far this season and it’s fair to expect some changes.
None of it will matter if Carson Wentz looks like he did against the Cowboys two weeks ago, but the potential of a cleaner pocket and the potential for a potent running game led by Miles Sanders should alleviate things for the quarterback.
Make no mistake, Wentz will still need to make plays. The Giants have the fifth-worst pass defense in the league according to Football Outsiders, but they’re ranked No. 11 against the run. There will likely be games in which the team leans heavily on Sanders down the stretch, but this might not be the week for it.
The Eagles defensive front will see a Giants' O-line that has improved since their last meeting, but pressure will still be essential. Daniel Jones did a nice job protecting the football last week against the Washington Football Team and its talented pass rush and it led to a Giants win. The Eagles can’t let Jones be comfortable back there on Sunday.
The Eagles may not be a great team, but they have enough talent to beat the Giants. They’re bound to have a convincing win eventually, right?