The New York Giants and Philadelphia Eagles have been somewhat predictable so far this season; a good (but not great) passing offense for New York, a stingy defense for Philadelphia, and a 4-3 start for both teams. However, rivalry games tend to leave fans expecting the unexpected, so here are three safe bets and three bold predictions heading into this Sunday’s contest.
1. Eli Manning will throw at least one TD on Sunday
Considering the Giants have the worst rushing attack in the NFL, their offense needs to score points somehow, which is why I think Manning is a lock to throw at least one touchdown. In 24 games versus the Eagles in his career, Manning has thrown for 40 touchdowns, including three last season with a similar Philly secondary, something that should bode well for the two-time Super Bowl champion. I expect Ben McAdoo to favor the pass due to awful run blocking on the offensive line during the first half, and more pass attempts for Manning should result to at least a touchdown, especially with his dangerous receiving core.
2. The Philadelphia Eagles defense will pick off at least one pass
Given Eli Manning’s propensity to throw interceptions against the Eagles and in general (he has 24 against the Eagles in as many games played), as well as the fact that the Eagles are third in total pass defense, having only allowed only 8 touchdowns and 214 yards per game and intercepting six passes already should make Giants fans uneasy with a sometimes erratic Eli Manning. Manning has thrown six interceptions, and a lack of protection from a putrid offensive line should lead to more hurried throws which typically leads to more interceptions.
3. Philadelphia will win
If recent history is any indicator to the outcome of Sunday’s game, the Eagles will win. The Giants are 0-4 the last two seasons against Philly, and have lost 13 of the two teams’ last 20 games dating back to 2006. Now, anything can happen on any given Sunday, and I believe that the two teams are as even as they’ve been in a few years but, going strictly based on the past which can be a reliable indicator, I think it’s safe to place bets on an Eagles win this time around.
1. Odell Beckham Jr. will be held to under 50 yards receiving
As I mentioned in my Safe Bets, the Eagles secondary has been stellar this season, coming in at third in total pass defense, having only allowed only 8 touchdowns and 214 yards per game and intercepting six passes. Malcolm Jenkins, Leodis McKelvin, and Nolan Carroll could pose a nightmare matchup for Odell Beckham Jr. with their physical style of play, something proven to disrupt Beckham’s play as we saw against Washington and Minnesota this year.
2. Rashad Jennings will have one rushing touchdown
This is my one prediction that I’m basing more so on gut instinct than anything else, mainly because I feel like the offensive line has no where to go but up and hopefully fixed some of their many problems. If there’s a goal line situation on Sunday for the Giant’s offense, McAdoo might try and pound the ball in multiple times, even against a tough Eagles defensive line. He might see it as an opportunity to instill some confidence into his offensive line and provide a spark that could get them playing even a little better than they have been.
3. Both Jason Pierre-Paul and Olivier Vernon will sack Carson Wentz
As much as I’ve rightfully picked on the Giants offensive line, the Eagles have some woes on their own in that department. They’ve given up 15 sacks as opposed to New York’s 11, partially because Wentz tends to move around in the pocket and run a little more. The Giants have nine sacks on the year, 2.5 of which have come from Pierre-Paul and Vernon, and I expect their speed and relentlessness to tire out tackles Jason Peters and Halapoulivaati Vaitai.