Eagles-Giants: Our beat writers’ predictions
Do any of the four pick the host Giants to win Thursday night?
The Eagles will visit the Giants for an 8:20 p.m. game Thursday at MetLife Stadium.
Here are our four beat writers' predictions for the matchup.
The question facing us now is what kind of season can we expect. If this is going to be just one of those lost years, a loss at the Giants to go 2-4 would fit the narrative. Probably somebody else the Eagles can't afford to lose would get hurt in the bargain.
But if the Eagles are going to be contenders again, when the dust clears, if their offense is just a corrected mistake or two away from reclaiming what it had last year, then this should be a win. Whatever running backs are healthy ought to do well against the Giants defense. This has not been a scary road venue for the Eagles; they've won four of five here against the Giants and are 7-2 all-time at MetLife when you throw in games against the Jets.
I can envision Odell Beckham Jr. setting records Thursday against Jim Schwartz's secondary, and Saquon Barkley open all day underneath, but I can also envision Eli Manning throwing picks in bunches and getting sacked repeatedly. At this point in the Eagles season, either scenario seems valid.
The Eagles appear to be in draw-a-line-in-the-sand mode this week. We'll find out if that means anything.
Prediction: Eagles 26, Giants 24
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Clearly, I don't have a very good grasp of this Eagles team. I picked them to lose to the Falcons and they won. I picked them to beat the Bucs, Titans and Vikings, and they lost. So you might want to move on to Berman, Bowen and McLane.
This is what I know: The last five meetings between the Eagles and Giants have been decided by five points or fewer, so there's a pretty good chance Thursday night will go down to the wire.
The Eagles beat the Giants twice last year, but by only three and five points. Eli Manning threw for 800 yards and six touchdowns in those two games, and he had Odell Beckham for only one of them. Now, he has not only Beckham, but also rookie running back Saquon Barkley, who can kill you as both a runner and a receiver.
Jim Schwartz's defense will need to do two things Thursday night. It will need to get pressure on Eli Manning, which isn't going to be easy because, like Kirk Cousins last week, he gets the ball out quickly. And it will need to tackle better than it has the last two weeks. If Barkley and Beckham and Sterling Shepard end up with a lot of yards after the catch, the Eagles will be 2-4 at the end of the night.
Then again, what do I know?
Prediction: Eagles 31, Giants 30
The Eagles have gone 3-0 in Thursday night games under Doug Pederson. Can they make it four? They might have to if they want to resuscitate their season.
The 1-4 Giants could be the cure for the Eagles' ills. They're reeling after losing to the Panthers on a 63-yard field goal and after star receiver Odell Beckham Jr. gave an unauthorized interview in which he was critical of quarterback Eli Manning and new coach Pat Shurmur's offense. The Giants offense is vanilla, and Manning has become more of a Check-down Charlie, but rookie Saquon Barkley has added a dynamic weapon. Eagles linebackers Jordan Hicks and Nigel Bradham will have to be at their best to help contain the running back on the ground and as a pass catcher.
Manning will likely get the ball out quickly to compensate for the Giants' still-subpar line, and offset the Eagles pass rush. But Brandon Graham and Chris Long should win a few rushes against right tackle Chad Wheeler. The Giants defense has done well situationally. Sacks have been hard to come by, though. The Giants are second to last in the NFL in sacks per pass. But the secondary, led by safety Landon Collins, has been stout on third down (the Giants are 11th in the league) and in the red zone (third in the league). Nose tackle Damon Harrison is a handful on run downs, and will give Jason Kelce, Brandon Brooks and Isaac Seumalo headaches, but Doug Pederson needs to establish the run early.
Jay Ajayi is done for the season, but the Eagles' best game on the ground came with the three-headed running-back committee of Corey Clement, Wendell Smallwood and Josh Adams against the Colts. I think Carson Wentz and the Eagles offense will develop a rhythm and finally score more than 23 points.
Prediction: Eagles 30, Giants 23
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The Eagles haven't given much reason for confidence in recent weeks. Then again, neither have the Giants. This is an important game for both teams, which both need momentum with NFC East victories.
Thursday night games can be tricky – look at the injury reports on both sides – and I tend to think the more talented teams win on Thursday nights. It's harder to game-plan and players aren't as well-rested. The Eagles are the more talented team. They have the better quarterback. That will be the difference.
Of course, the Giants have offensive firepower. Eli Manning showed improvement last week, and the Eagles know he can be dangerous. This is a different defense from what the Eagles saw in recent years, and the return of Olivier Vernon can help. Still, this is a game for Carson Wentz to lead the Eagles to a win. The Giants have a good pass defense this season, but they have a league-low six sacks. The key will be in the red zone, where the Giants rank third in the NFL in defense.
The Eagles need touchdowns, not field goals. It's about time they score more than 23 points in a game. I see it coming in a game that's higher-scoring than the over-under suggests.
Prediction: Eagles 31, Giants 27
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