For the first time in nearly a month, the Eagles will enter Thursday night’s game against the New York Giants as the favorite — despite the Birds’ laundry list of injuries, bookmakers are currently giving them a 4.5-point edge according to the consensus odds at TheLines.com. And that probably says more about this ineptitude of this Giants team than it says about the depth of the Eagles roster.
That’s because almost any depth that the Eagles had is now gone. At some positions, they’re down to their third- or fourth-string options. But the Giants have a big injury problem of their own, namely losing their star running back (and far and away best player on the team) Saquon Barkley for the year before the season really had a chance to get going. And that loss is far greater than any one loss the Eagles have suffered this year.
Of course, when you add up all those Eagles injuries, that’s a different story.
Still, Doug Pederson’s team finds itself as the home favorites with first place in the NFC East on the line. And while the oddsmakers probably didn’t take Philly’s uniform choice into consideration, perhaps they should have. The Birds will wear their all-black uniforms for this primetime matchup and will look to extend their perfect 6-0 record at home against the Giants in black.
While Pederson believes everything his team does matters, he’s not quite ready to say their attire will be the difference maker on Thursday night.
“We have a saying around here that everything matters. It goes from maybe the uniform choice color to how we practice, the meetings, everything,” Pederson said Wednesday. “I think about a lot of things obviously and making sure that we’re prepared. But listen, it doesn’t matter the color jersey we’re in or what color jersey they’re in. We still have to lineup and play and play a good football team.”
Maybe, at least in this game, the uniform won’t matter, as the Eagles have absolutely owned the Giants in recent years, as Jimmy Kempski appropriately pointed out while making his picks for Week 7.
• [The Eagles] have won 7 straight.
• They have won 11 of 12.
• They have won 20 of 24.
But Pederson recognizes the reality, that while his team is just a half game off the pace in the NFC East, they’re also an unacceptable 1-4-1 through the first month and a half of the season. And there’s no overlooking any opponent — I think they proved that in Week 1.
“Every week is heightened. The sense of urgency each week to win a football game, right? We understand where we are, the sort of the hole we dug ourselves into and it’s all about just one-game-at-a-time mentality,” Pederson said. “You don’t want to look past the Giants. This is a good football team coming in here Thursday night and we have to be prepared. It’s a short week, we came off an emotional game this past Sunday with Baltimore and we got to turn around and play. So, the sense of urgency each week is always there and again it’s a one-game mentality, one opponent at a time.”
If the Eagles can take care of business against the Giants, they’ll climb past Dallas, at least temporarily, and into first place in the NFC East — with a matchup against said Cowboys on the horizon in Week 8. But, first thing’s first: a date with the Giants in front of a national TV audience.
We’ve already broken down some matchups to watch, analyzed the final injury report, offered up predictions of our own — as well as picks for every game this week — and provided five over/unders for this one. Now, as we do every week, let’s take a look at how the local and national media sees this game playing out…
• PhillyVoice staff: For the second week in a row, our staff posted a 6-1 record last week. And, once again, there’s a 6-1 split when it comes to picking this game. Unlike last week, however, five of our writers are picking the Eagles to win, including Jimmy Kempski, who sees a 30-16 win for the Birds.
I was tempted to take the Giants to win this game outright, but after taking a closer look at the actual matchups, I like the Eagles to win, and cover.
The Eagles’ biggest strength (their defensive line) matches up well against one of the Giants’ perennial biggest weaknesses (their offensive line). Meanwhile, when you look at the Eagles’ biggest concern areas, the Giants don’t have much in the way of threats to exploit them. For example:
• The Eagles’ are missing four offensive line starters, but the Giants don’t have a good pass rush, or at least at a minimum, they should be easier to handle than any of the Eagles’ last three opponents (Niners, Steelers, Ravens).
• The Eagles’ linebackers stink, but Evan Engram plays more like a receiver than a tight end, and will likely be covered by a safety, and the run game is now non-existent with Saquon Barkley out.
On the flip side, the Giants’ biggest threat offensively (Darius Slayton) should be neutralized by Darius Slay. …
The Eagles are a bad, severely banged-up football team right now, but the Giants are simply worse. This is a game that the Eagles should win comfortably, even with all their injuries.
• Inquirer.com: Once again, all four of their writers are in agreement, this time picking the Eagles to take care of business against the Giants. Here’s how Les Bowen sees the game playing out…
The Eagles aren’t in a position to look down on anyone, even the Giants, especially with Miles Sanders and Zach Ertz missing.
My case for them winning isn’t built on any great talent disparity. It’s based on the importance of this game, for a team whose hopes for the season are built around “well the NFC East is terrible, so why not?” Lose this, I don’t know where you go. I guess you could still say nobody is likely to get very far ahead before the Eagles get some key pieces back and somehow run the table, but that sounds ridiculous, when you really think about it.
Carson Wentz has somehow managed to produce points against the Steelers and the Ravens the last two weeks, playing with guys who ought to be wearing nametags. The Giants’ defense is pretty good up front, not so good behind that. Unless the offensive line dissolves into chaos, Wentz ought to be able to move the ball against a team that is giving up a 70.8 opposing passer completion percentage.
The Eagles’ defense ought to get good pressure on Daniel Jones. Giants are scoring 16.8 points per game. If they get to 30 against the Eagles, like the Ravens did, well, that would be a problem.
• NJ.com staff: All six of their writers are picking the Eagles over the Giants. Here’s what beat writer Chris Franklin has to say about this one…
Despite only two of the 11 opening day starters remaining on the field at the end of the game, the Eagles offense was able to put up 28 points against the Baltimore Ravens. Giants quarterback Daniel Jones could be running around a lot of to avoid the Eagles pass rush. Even with all of the injuries and a short week to prepare, the Eagles win big in front of a national audience.
PICK: Eagles 31, Giants 16
• Bleeding Green Nation staff: No surprises here as all nine of their writers are predicting an Eagles win on Thursday night.
• ESPN staff: For the last three weeks, not a single ESPN expert picked the Eagles. This week, all 10 are going with the Birds.
• Tim McManus, ESPN.com: Coming soon…
• Jordan Raanan, ESPN.com: Coming soon…
• Gregg Rosenthal, NFL.com: Giants 20, Eagles 19
Carson Wentz has played well the last three weeks. The Eagles’ defensive line still looks good on paper and solid in reality. So why am I picking the Giants when Daniel Jones has Baker Mayfield Year 2 disease, rolling right the minute his first read is taken away? Because cornerback James Bradberry is playing like an All-Pro, wideout Darius Slayton has improved and Leonard Williams is coming off perhaps his best game as a Giant. Because New York’s defense and special teams have quietly both improved. Because a Giants win and division title at 6-10 is the most chaotic result possible in this chaotic year. Because someone has to win.
This game might look ugly in terms of records, but the winner is clearly in the division race. That’s how bad the NFC East is. The Eagles played well late against the Ravens, but now they have more injuries. Even so, they are the better team and they are at home. Eagles will take a big — yes, big — division game.
• Mike Florio, ProFootballTalk: Eagles 24, Giants 10
Someone has to win. Anyone who watches will lose.
• Michael David Smith, ProFootballTalk: Eagles 28, Giants 17
The Eagles have been ravaged by injuries, but I still think they’re a better team than the Giants, not that that’s saying much. This game has major NFC East title implications, not that that’s saying much
• USA TODAY Sports staff: All seven of their writers are picking the Eagles to win.
• SB Nation staff: Six of their nine experts are picking the Eagles over the Giants on Thursday night.
• Bleacher Report, NFL staff: Eagles 26, Giants 17 (Consensus, with five of six taking Philly)
NFC East games are almost always tough to nail down, but that’s especially the case this season. Throw in that the Week 7 matchup between the New York Giants and Philadelphia Eagles is being played on a Thursday night in a sparsely filled stadium, and we wouldn’t fault you for sitting this one out as both a viewer and a bettor.
Still, with only 4.5 points on the line, nearly all of our writers are siding with an Eagles team that is at home and has shown off a lot more resiliency than New York in recent years.
“This is absolutely the most Thursday night game so far this season: a one-win Eagles team ravaged by injuries against a one-win New York team that has been ravaged by being the Giants,” [Gary] Davenport joked. “After losing Miles Sanders and Zach Ertz last week, Carson Wentz is literally the only skill-position starter on offense the Eagles have left, and I still trust them to move the ball exponentially more than the G-Men.”
But [Brad] Gagnon is lone-wolfing the Giants, partly because he doesn’t believe the Eagles can handle all of the injuries.
“I don’t feel good about this,” he cautioned. “But the New York defense has actually performed better than expected this season, and Philly has practically nobody left to support the struggling Wentz. I just can’t see the Eagles pulling away. They haven’t done so all season, while the Giants have hung with the Dallas Cowboys and Chicago Bears. I’m gambling that this will be a field-goal game.”
• Sheil Kapadia, The Athletic: Each week, former Eagles beat writer Sheil Kapadia (now a national football writer for The Athletic) makes picks against the spread for every game. Unfortunately, he hasn’t posted his pick yet, but we’ll update this once he does.
• Bill Bender, Sporting News: Eagles 22, Giants 19
Carson Wentz didn’t throw an interception for the first time all season in a loss against the Ravens, andthat improved play continues against the Giants, who have scored more than 20 points in just one game this season.Even if Miles Sanders and Zach Ertz are out, it’s still a game that theycan win.
• Vinny Iyer, Sporting News: Eagles 20, Giants 17
The Giants got their first win and the Eagles, with their tie against the Bengals, are only a half-game ahead. New York is missing Saquon Barkley, Sterling Shepard and others to to squeeze their offensive potential with Daniel Jones. Philadephia has been ravaged by injuries around Carson Wentz, and now the latest are to running back Miles Sanders and tight Zach Ertz. The Eagles’ defense can still get in Jones’ face and make it easier on Wentz with key takaaways. But the Giants’ defense is overachieving and can keep this short-week, short-trip game close.
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