The Eagles will host the Giants on Sunday. Here are the game predictions from our Eagles beat writers for Week 16:
Jalen Hurts was in many ways his own worst enemy, but in the first meeting with the Giants, defensive coordinator Patrick Graham found ways to force the Eagles quarterback into mistakes. He played a lot of zone coverages that took away intermediate-to-deep routes. Hurts forced throws downfield, though, rather than accept check downs.
Nick Sirianni’s early play-calling didn’t help his quarterback either. He leaned a little too hard on the pass and the Eagles, as a result, faced long third downs in which the Giants could blitz. The Eagles eventually moved the ball on the ground, but even when Hurts came out of his fog, he was failed by a few of his receivers.
I got to think that Sirianni — assuming he’s back from COVID-19 — and Hurts learned from that loss. The Eagles’ run game is so potent right now it almost doesn’t matter how much effort a defense employs in trying to stop it. That doesn’t mean you run on every down, but if you play off it, play-action and screens become that easier to execute.
The short week could limit Hurts’ involvement in the run game. He was still listed on the injury report because of an ankle sprain. But a few zone-read keeps should force the Giants to account for the quarterback.
The Eagles defense caught another break with Daniel Jones’ season-ending neck injury. He wasn’t exactly stellar three weeks ago, but he was efficient enough. Mike Glennon was benched for Jake Fromm last week against the Cowboys, but neither performed well. Jonathan Gannon’s unit isn’t in Dallas’ class, but it’s done well against lesser quarterbacks.
Both teams had players — a few starters — on COVID-19/reserve as of Friday. But barring a significant change there doesn’t appear to be a great disparity in the losses. The Giants certainly have the opportunity to pull off the upset, but it’ll likely have to be on the strength of their defense. But I just don’t see the Eagles turning the ball over four times again.
Prediction: Eagles 26, Giants 16
It’s hard to shake the visual of the last Eagles-Giants game from November, but a decent amount has changed since then.
The Giants, most notably, won’t have Daniel Jones in the lineup. Jones suffered a neck injury in the Eagles’ 13-7 loss and has been ruled out for the rest of the season since then. Will the Giants offense be able to produce anything with Jake Fromm under center? I wouldn’t count on it.
The Eagles defense has proven multiple times this season it can hold its own against poor quarterbacks. Fletcher Cox and Javon Hargrave can make a mediocre quarterback’s life miserable, and the Eagles’ secondary has been opportunistic against errant passers. Because of this, don’t expect Fromm to light up the Eagles defense.
Offensively, Jalen Hurts had an important return to his typical form against Washington after leaving MetLife with an ankle injury and one of the worst stat lines of his career. Hurts and the Eagles offense laid an egg in that first meeting, but it’s hard to imagine them doing so twice. Keep in mind, the team was still a Jalen Reagor drop away from winning that game despite the offensive stagnation. The Eagles have more to play for this Sunday, they have an offensive formula that works, and they’re still the better team.
It won’t be a cakewalk — part of the Giants’ success was in their ability to dare Hurts to throw the ball — but we saw Hurts take some important strides as a passer Tuesday, albeit against a depleted Washington defense. The Giants also have the rare ability to stay viable against the run while using sub packages because of their combination of a stout defensive line and a versatile secondary. The Eagles probably won’t put up gaudy scoring numbers, but there’s enough reason to believe they’ll be able to find some success, which should be enough against this depleted, lackluster Giants offense.
Prediction: Eagles 24, Giants 14
The Eagles suffered a setback several weeks ago when they lost to the Giants at MetLife Stadium. Quarterback Jalen Hurts had the worst outing of his career, and coach Nick Sirianni didn’t help him much with his play calling and sequence. That Jalen Reagor led the team in targets — his seven matched the combined targets from the team’s two best pass-catchers Dallas Goedert and DeVonta Smith — was inexcusable. Of course, Reagor had his two infamous drops at the end of the game, either of which would’ve sealed a last-second victory.
This weekend’s matchup involving the two teams sets up a bit differently. Jake Fromm is slated to start at quarterback for the Giants — not Daniel Jones. The Eagles have enjoyed success against inferior quarterbacks, and the defensive line is coming off a lively outing in its last game with Fletcher Cox as the headliner. Offensively, Sirianni — if he returns from his bout with COVID-19 — or coordinator Shane Steichen need to do a better job with their play sequencing, and that begins with the run game and playing to their strengths behind the offensive line.
With one of the easiest remaining schedules in the league, the Eagles figure to keep their playoff hopes alive. Giants coach and Philadelphia native Joe Judge might’ve turned up the spirit in practice this week by playing “Fly, Eagles Fly.” By the end of Sunday’s contest, there’s a good chance that song will be on full blast again at Lincoln Financial Field.
Prediction: Eagles 33, Giants 10