If the New York Giants can walk into a hostile environment Monday night and defeat the Philadelphia Eagles it would likely qualify as the Giants' biggest and most important victory since probably the middle of the 2012 season. Can the Giants, 5-point underdogs, pull it off? Here are this week's predictions from a split Big Blue View staff.
Alex Sinclair (5-0)
Unfortunately, after three straight wins, I think the Giants' streak is over. With so many players potentially missing for this game, it would be crazy to imagine they can perform at full power. Odell Beckham Jr. and Rueben Randle will be banged up -- if they play at all, and Prince Amukamara is out with a pectoral strain. Add these to the familiar repertoire of names like Victor Cruz, Will Beatty and Jason Pierre-Paul, and this team looks worse off than the squad that lost 27-0 to the Eagles around this time last year. It would take a complete meltdown from Philadelphia for New York to come out on top. The Giants may still be the best team in the division, but with so many key pieces in trouble, I have to pick Chip Kelly's boys to do the business on Monday night.
Final score: Eagles, 25, Giants 12
Stephen Milewski (3-2)
Despite the Giants winning three games in a row, it seems like injuries have truly reared their ugly head. Daniel Fells is out for the season, Prince Amukamara is out for several weeks due to a pectoral injury, Odell Beckham is dealing with hamstring issues again and Victor Cruz is still unable to get on the field. And that's just the beginning of it all. As for the Philadelphia Eagles, they're fairly healthy and coming off a huge 39-17 victory over the New Orleans Saints. Chip Kelly and his offense are clicking, but it's the defense, led by NFC Defensive Player of the Week Fletcher Cox, that makes this Eagles team truly dangerous.
My X-Factor of the game is Jayron Hosley, who the Giants will need to step up in the defensive backfield. The Giants' pass defense is statistically one of the worst in the NFL, and without Amukamara, it makes them even more vulnerable. Hosley has yet to live up to his draft status, but he did say he was most comfortable on the outside during training camp. The Eagles, despite having All Pro running back DeMarco Murray, still favor to pass the ball, but that plays right into the Giants' weaknesses. Sam Bradford is not an MVP candidate, but he is in position to play well against a depleted Giants secondary and a mediocre Big Blue pass rush. All in all, it doesn't look like the drive back up the NJ Turnpike will be a fun one for the Giants.
Final Score: Eagles 35, Giants 20
Chris Pflum (1-4)
The New York Giants are once again riddled by injuries. They very well could go into this game missing Odell Beckham, Rueben Randle, Victor Cruz, Will Beatty, Jason Pierre-Paul, Robert Ayers, Devon Kennard, Jon Beason, and Prince Amukamara. Each and every one of those players either is, has been, or could be, a Pro-Bowl player.
I'm still picking the Giants to win.
They might be fielding an offense that looks like something you'd see in the 3rd quarter of a pre-season game, and they might be missing half of their anticipated starting defense, but the Giants have two things going for them: Eli Manning and determination.
First and foremost, this team has not given up. They could have given up after a disastrous loss to the Cowboys. They could have given up doubling down with a disastrous loss to the Falcons. But they kept fighting. They could have given up in the 4th quarter to the 49ers. But they didn't. They kept fighting and mounted a great come from behind win despite being down some of their best players. They kept fighting despite being afforded every opportunity to give up. This team may not have any stars, it might be scraping the bottom of its depth chart, but it has fighters.
It also has Eli Manning. In his second year in Ben McAdoo's offense, Eli is executing at a near-MVP level. His release is now lightening fast, he is seeing the field well, and he is dissecting defenses. To quote "Neon" Deion "Prime Time" Sanders "I believe in Eli..." They still need to dominate the line of scrimmage and stop the run, maybe defend some quick passes, and try to score touchdowns, but what I'm saying is that with No. 10 under center, there's a chance.
Final score: Giants 27, Eagles 24
Mike Gallop (4-1)
Injuries aside, the Giants have been the better team this year. I envision a very competitive, high-scoring affair, as both teams' secondaries are their biggest weakness. I think Randle and ODB end up playing, and I like Eli to outplay Bradford.
Final score: Giants 35, Eagles 31
Keane Macadaeg (3-2)
The Eagles aren't known for their defense thanks to the Chip Kelly offense milking no clock at all. It has exposed their defense but considering the points then let up by playing more defensive drives than anyone else, their defense is actually pretty darn good. The Eagles front is nothing to sneeze at as they tie the Giants for first in the league in YPC against.
The Giants need to continue to score points but that might be a problem with all the injuries. Even if Beckham is just a decoy, the Giants can still benefit. The Eagles offense seems to be coming around though which is scary so the pass rush needs to be there on Monday night. As always, Giants and Eagles games are super competitive though the Giants hasn't won a meaningful Eagles game in awhile. Monday will hopefully end that.
Final score: Giants 21, Eagles 20
Jesse Bartolis (2-3)
[From Jesse's Week 6 picks against the spread]
The Giants never make it easy, but finally this is a tough-minded team. The Super Bowl winning 2011 team was a tough team. They never got down, they always had some come back in them. They had the assassin Eli Manning and were awesome in the two-minute drill, winning pretty much every game that whole season in the fourth quarter. The last few years they seemed like melt-down teams in the fourth quarter and the first two weeks of this season, too, where they blew two fourth-quarter leads. But something is different about this team, it's like everyone on the team hasn't something to prove and it's fun to watch. The Giants always struggle against the Eagles and as I was saying in the 49ers preview the Giants are a team that always seem to let teams find themselves how much they are struggling. I'm nervous about this game, but I think four points is too many for two teams that are pretty evenly matched talent wise (assuming the returns of OBJ and Devon Kennard).
Pick: Eagles (no score provided)
Valentine's View (3-2)
There are a ton of reasons to pick against the Giants on Monday night. No Prince Amukamara or Devon Kennard, arguably their two best defensive players. Possibly no Odell Beckham. Matchup nightmares with Zach Ertz, Darren Sproles and DeMarco Murray in the passing game and on defense, and with edge rushers Fletcher Cox, Connor Barwin and Brandon Graham while the Giants are on offense.
The Giants appear under-manned and out-gunned heading into tonight's key NFC East game. Like Chris, though, I'm picking the Giants.
There is just something about this this team. Resilience. Relentless. Grit. Determination. Call it whatever you will. The 3-2 Giants have reached the point in the season where everything went to pieces a year ago as they lost seven straight games. There is, however, a different feeling around this team. They aren't pretty. They don't do anything the easy way. But, hey, isn't that the way good Giants football teams have always been?
Final score: Giants 27, Eagles 21
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