Eagles-Giants: Our beat writers’ predictions
All four think it will be close, but not all agree on the winner.
The Eagles rolled in the first matchup, a 34-13 victory in Week 6. Our four writers predict a much closer outcome Sunday at Lincoln Financial Field.
I don't expect this to be anything like the earlier Eagles-Giants game. Back on Oct. 11, the Eagles were a good team that just needed to settle down, iron out a few wrinkles, and get back to dominating the NFC East. Five games later, they are what they are: a group that on defense was always flawed and now is down too many players to even be competitive, and a group that for some reason can't get out of its own way on offense, despite a solid talent level.
The Giants are talking about running the table now, after winning back-to-back games against the 49ers and Bucs. That's delusional, but no more delusional than the way the Eagles keep talking about being a few plays away from having a good season, which is the all-time loser's lament.
The Giants can run the ball with Saquon Barkley. The Eagles don't seem to have the heart to stop the run anymore. Eli Manning's arm hasn't gotten any stronger, five games after he looked totally done against the Eagles, but if he can lob it to Odell Beckham Jr., Evan Engram or just about anybody else anywhere on the field, he'll be successful against what is shaping up to be a practice-squad-level Eagles defensive backfield.
Prediction: Giants 27, Eagles 23
The Eagles beat the Giants easily six weeks ago. But that was then and this is now.
Now, the Eagles have lost three of their last four and their playoff hopes are hanging by a thread. They're going to try to stop Eli Manning and Odell Beckham and Sterling Shepard with a makeshift secondary. Their run defense, which gave up 130 yards to Saquon Barkley in the first game against the Giants, has gone to hell, and will be without linebacker Jordan Hicks on Sunday.
Meanwhile, the Giants have won two in a row and finally have some momentum.
The Eagles were able to get pressure on Manning in the first meeting, sacking him four times and pressuring him much of the game. They've got to do the same Sunday, and they've got to tackle better than they've been tackling.
Maybe this game will be the start of a turnaround. Or maybe it will be the beginning of the end. My money's on the latter.
Prediction: Giants 24, Eagles 21
The Eagles are reeling, but their season is far from over. They have divisional games the next three weeks starting with Sunday's matchup against a seemingly rejuvenated Giants team. A good start would help them forget a dismal loss to the Saints last week.
The Eagles have scored only 21 first-quarter points and have gone three-and-out on their first possession in six of 10 games. They came hot out of the gate in their first meeting with the Giants, forcing a turnover and scoring a touchdown. Can Doug Pederson script a better start and find a way to utilize Golden Tate? Can he get ahead so that the ground game becomes a factor with ascending rookie Josh Adams?
It'll be on the offense to score more than their average of 20 points with the defense battered. The patchwork secondary will be ripe for picking. Giants coach Pat Shurmur has found an effective balance on offense by relying more on Saquon Barkley on the ground. The rookie running back was a handful in the first game, but Jim Schwartz double-covered receiver Odell Beckham Jr. and Eli Manning was pressured throughout.
Will Shurmur be tempted to go pass-heavy against a Chandon Sullivan-De'Vante Bausby-Cre'Von LeBlanc cornerback crew? It might be too enticing. The Eagles will be home, but they've lost three straight at the Linc. Make it four.
Prediction: Giants 26, Eagles 23
The Eagles looked uncompetitive and uninspired last week, and their secondary was further depleted in a second consecutive loss. The Giants have won two games in a row and have found some offensive momentum. It's not a good spot for the Eagles, who will be a desperate team Sunday. Still, I'm not ready to bury the Eagles yet. Plus, Vegas must know something, right?
Carson Wentz can carry the team, and there's still enough talent on the defensive front to pressure Eli Manning and win the line of scrimmage. The Eagles will need to find a way to stop the run, and they'll be vulnerable against the pass with that secondary. But the Eagles dominated the Giants earlier this season with a strong performance by Wentz, and he's capable of doing the same Sunday.
The Eagles still have the advantage on the lines of scrimmage. And as lousy as the Eagles have appeared — especially at the start of games — they still have weapons to challenge the Giants.
Intangibles cannot be measured, but there needs to be a certain amount of pride the Eagles play with this weekend, too. They're at home, the season is almost on the line, and they've been called out by their defensive leader. How do they respond?
Sunday will reveal much about these Eagles. I'm giving them a win.
Prediction: Eagles 26, Giants 24