The 10-4 New York Giants can clinch a play-off spot with a win on Thursday night, against a Philadelphia Eagles team that has fallen to 5-9, after starting the season 3-0.
Offense gets rolling?
Well, not entirely. But the 17-6 win over the Detroit Lions was a much improved game for an offense that has been scrutinised heavily all season. Eli Manning had a turnover-free game and threw 2 touchdowns, in a game where 17 points were more than enough to beat another team, who came face to face with arguably the best defense in the league.
Justin Pugh returned to action vs the Lions and his presence was greatly felt. Paul Perkins yet again ran the ball very well on the restricted carries he got, 11 for 56 yards. I feel Perkins has done enough to earn himself the role of the feature back in this offense, and hopefully he can get more carries vs the Eagles.
The Eagles pass rush is still one of the more dangerous units in the league, with Brandon Graham and Fletcher Cox leading the line. This means Eli Manning will need to be on top of his game, making good decisions and getting the ball out quickly, to negate the pass rush that will come at him from all sides.
Defense Defense Defense
It’s certainly not an overstatement to say this Giants defense could be the best in the league. The defense is now 3rd in scoring defense (Patriots 1st, Seahawks 2nd), only giving up 17.9 points per game. Also, opponent passer rating is 2nd worst in the NFL (76.0), when facing the Giants defense.
The Eagles rushing attack is still as potent as it was when the teams first met, so Damon Harrison and Olivier Vernon will have to continue their excellent Pro Bowl level play, to stifle the Eagles ground game.
The Eagles come into this game after a bizarre loss to the Ravens, where down 7, with less than 10 seconds left in the game, Carson Wentz runs in to set up an overtime exchange. Instead of kicking the extra-point, Doug Pederson decided go for it and with Wentz failing to hit his receiver, the Raven run out winners, 27-26.
At 5-9, the Eagles are out of the play-off push, but they will want to turn the Giants over and get some revenge for the first game between the two teams. Rookie quarterback Carson Wentz, has hit what some people call the ‘rookie wall’. Wentz now has as many interceptions as he does touchdowns with 13. He also threw 2 interceptions in the first game vs the Giants, so he will be more than aware of the dangerous play-making abilities of the Giants secondary.
The ground game for the Eagles has been a positive point on the season, with Ryan Matthews and Darren Sproles both having nice years, (Matthews- 137 carries for 615 yards and 8 tds). If the Eagles are to win they will look to Matthews and Sproles to control the clock and run the Giants into the ground and take some pressure off rookie quarterback Carson Wentz.
The defense will once again win a game for the Giants. I think Eli Manning will have another turnover free game though. Paul Perkins will take majority of the carries for the offense and I think he’ll have a big night.
Giants 21-10 Eagles