Will the New York Giants finish the season on Sunday with the good feeling of a four-game winning streak and a victory over the Philadelphia Eagles? Let's see what your Big Blue View staff writers think about that.
The Giants want revenge on the Eagles. When looking at how these teams are trending, it's clear the Eagles are tanking down while the Giants are ascending upwards. None of that really matters as:
1) It's the end of the season and neither of us are going to the playoffs
2) The Eagles are much higher quality than the Titans, Jags, Rams, or Redskins.
3) It's a divisional game so anything can happen.
That being said, I'm picking the Giants. For one, the offensive line has found it's second wind. I don't see the domination that Philadelphia had the first time around with regards to their pass rush. Also, the Odell Beckham the Eagles have to contend with now is on another level compared to the one they faced last time around. Finally, I think the Giants are much more used to the Ben McAdoo offense now as they find their rhythm. It also doesn't hurt that Mark Sanchez is the Eagle quarterback.
Pick: Giants 28, Eagles 21
Here is what I wrote in my 'Five Questions' response for Bleeding Green Nation:
Do I think the Giants are better than the Eagles? No. What I do think is that the way this season has unfolded, and where we have arrived, this game means something to the Giants. It means nothing to the Eagles. The Giants are also riding a three-game winning streak. I think they make it four. Giants 30, Eagles 20.
I am, of course, sticking with that. Philadelphia's season ended last week, the Eagles enter the game with a three-game losing streak and have little real motivation for Sunday.
The Giants have a three-game winning streak, even if it a meaningless one against non-descript teams, and enter the game feeling as though they have finally begun to get things right. They also want to erase the taste of the 27-0 shellacking Philly gave them earlier in the season.
In the end, I would just expect this to be a game where you see the Giants give more effort -- especially at home -- than the Eagles.
(From Jesse's Week 17 picks against the point spread)
The Giants are favored? The first time they played the Eagles blanked them 27-0 and the lasting image from the game was Victor Cruz laying on the ground in pain screaming. A lot has changed since then. The Eagles have been relying on Mark Sanchez (which explains why they were almost guaranteed a playoff spot recently). The other big difference between the Eagles early in the year and the Eagles now is at the beginning of the season the Eagles had an extraordinary number of big plays from their defense and special teams and those predictably dried up. On offense, the absence of Desean Jackson has made itself known this year as they are down a lot on big plays from last year, though the Giants do have a penchant for giving up big plays. Earlier in the year the Eagles abused and harassed the Giants offensive line, but last week the Giants played very well against very good Rams front seven. Perhaps the line has finally gelled and we'll see better play.
This game to me comes down to this: the Eagles are finishing out what has now suddenly become a very disappointing season. Meanwhile the Giants are playing well over the last month. They have a bad taste in their mouth from the 27-0 beating they took earlier in the year, and right now they are just playing better. Plus Eli Manning > Mark Sachez.
Pick: Giants win by at least 3
Well, we made it through another tough season. This game might is the Giants' last, best chance to prove that the franchise is heading in the right direction. The offense picked apart a very good defense in St. Louis -- granted, they seemed more interested in punishing Beckham than stopping the Giants.
This is the defense's chance to show that they can play with some discipline and stop one of the league's best offenses. Losing Devon Kennard gives me pause. He's quickly becoming one of the defense's most reliable players, and losing him is a blow. Especially against an offense like Chip Kelly's, which feasts on lapses in discipline.
Likewise, the performance of the offensive line last time around is worrying, but they stood up well against a very good Rams front seven.
I'm still going to pick the Giants though. Even if I had less faith in them than I do, I couldn't pick against the Giants when they are playing the Eagles or the Cowboys.