How do your Big Blue View staff members think the New York Giants, who are 3-point underdogs, will fare Sunday night against the Philadelphia Eagles? Let's look at this week's Big Blue View Staff Picks and find out.
I have maintained all week -- during radio appearances, in a Q&A at Bleeding Green Nation, in posts here at Big Blue View -- that this is a winnable game for the Giants. I see two offenses capable of playing at a high level and scoring a ton of points. I see a Giants' team with momentum and confidence. I see a Giants' team that on paper has a distinct advantage defensively over the Eagles.
There are a lot of reasons to feel really good about the Giants heading into this Titanic match-up. But .... yes, there is ALWAYS a but.
There are two things that could short-circuit the Giants. The Eagles' advantage on special teams, where they have four touchdowns this season while the Giants have struggled at times to block for punter Steve Weatherford, to cover his punts and to generate anything in the return game is the first one. The second is the Giants' long-established tendency to beat themselves at times.
So, what do I think happens on Sunday night? I think they play clean football. I think Eli Manning torches the Philly secondary. I think the Giants probably surrender a couple of big plays on special teams, but overcome them. I think the Giants go into the Eagles nest and come out with their most important regular-season victory in a couple of seasons.
Pick: Giants 30, Eagles 27
This is a divisional game, and as such, you can likely throw matchups out the window and you can bank on something incredibly brilliant, lucky, or stupid (likely all three!) to be the deciding factor. Just to humor ourselves though, let's take a look.
The Eagles are struggling offensively and that's something I never thought I'd say about them this season. Nick Foles has looked inaccurate, the offensive line has been injured, and Lesean McCoy hasn't been able to get it going. The Giant defense is talented, but they have had an up and down season thus far and are prone to giving up the big play. It's anybody's guess on which defense shows up but if the defensive line plays the way they did against the Falcons in the second half of last week's game, there is no contest.
On offense, the Giants are clicking. The Eagles have found a pass rush of late and have good coverage guys in the middle of the field but are less than stellar on the outside. If Eli Manning continues to play smart football, they have weaknesses that can be exploited.
Finally on special teams, the Eagles have Darren Sproles which should be enough to scare pretty much anybody. Given that they've had special teams scores every week or so and you compare them to the Giants, and it's pretty easy who wins here. This game will come down to all three phases. The Eagles seem to be clearly better than the Giants in only one of those phases. I'm going to be a homer here, but for this week, I don't really care.
Pick: Giants 34, Eagles 24
Funky things always seem to happen when the Eagles and Giants throw down. Physics breaks down and the seemingly impossible happens. On paper, the Giants win most of the match-ups, but as we've seen so many times: This game isn't played on paper.
This is a series that has always hinged on freaky, X-factor type plays, and right now the Giants and Eagles have two of the freakiest in the league: The Giants' habit of special teams mistakes and the Eagles' penchant for capitalizing on them.
The way the various match-ups shake out on paper, the Giants' offense and defense should win against their Philadelphia counterparts. For the most part the Giants have been methodical and efficient on offense, and they have been stout on defense. If they can avoid serving up for easy meals for Philly, they should come away with the victory.
You know, if nobody does any voodoo and physics doesn't go on vacation.
(From Jesse's Week 6 picks against the spread)
I always get more nervous when the Giants play the Eagles then I do when they play against any other team in the NFL. They just seem to lose games in the most unimaginable ways possible. Eli Pick 6s. Eli fumbling the ball when he's sliding. Desean Jackson punt returns. Vince Young coming back from the dead to pull out victories, so many bad memories. Knowing the rivalry and knowing how things have been going for the Eagles it seems like a guarantee Lesean McCoy has his first big game of the year ... but with that being said if I wasn't being a pessimistic Giants fan, I'd say this.
The Eagles seem to be winning these games with smoke and mirrors and special teams (I believe they have seven defensive/special teams touchdowns this year!). Their wide receivers are not winning a lot of one-on-one battles on the outside. Lesean McCoy is being contained ( in part because of the poor play of the WR). Their defense is suspect, and Nick Foles has bounced back to earth . Their OL is also hurting. The Giants are in a good position to win this game, and in fact if things bounced right I think they could blow them out.
That's 4-0, Giants. Call that 'homer-ism' if you want. What is obvious, though, is that your Big Blue View staff feels good about the Giants' chances on Sunday night.