There is nothing in the NFL quite like a divisional rivalry game and there are few as heated as the games in the NFC East, where the fans don’t like each other as much as the players do. The two step that into the national spotlight on NBC’s Sunday Night Football are the New York Giants and the Philadelphia Eagles in an early battle for first place in the NFC East.
New York Giants @ Philadelphia Eagles
NFL Betting Odds: Eagles -1
How The Giants Can Win
The Giants have fully made the transition from a power-running team to a pass-first squad as they rank second in the NFL in aerial offense, although they’re going to have a tougher test against the Eagles after rolling over Tampa Bay and Carolina. No one in the league has thrown for more yards than Eli Manning, and even now that Ahmad Bradshaw is back, look for the Giants to continue to air it out frequently.
Defensively, the Giants have taken a beating at the back of their unit, but they did step up against the Panthers and really locked them down. They’ll have to avoid giving up big plays against the Eagles’ receivers, and that starts up front with the pressure provided from the defensive line. New York is one of the few teams in the NFL that can rush the opposing quarterback with just four players, and the Philadelphia offensive line is weak.
How The Eagles Can Win
The Eagles have managed to win two of their first three, but their fortune ran out in Arizona (of all places) and Michael Vick played so badly that coach Andy Reid is being forced to answer questions about whether or not he is still their starter at quarterback. Vick is ranked higher than only three other pivots in passer rating, and two of those are rookies (Cleveland’s Braden Weeden and Miami’s Ryan Tannehill; the other is Chicago’s Jay Cutler). He has thrown six picks and has been sacked nine times, and there are whispers that he isn’t fully healthy, perhaps from his rib injury that he suffered in the preseason.
Philadelphia’s defense is surprisingly holding them together while the offense finds its way, but you can run on them as the Eagles are 16th in rushing defense, and it seems like a smarter choice than trying to throw against them. But they can’t afford to get down by 24 in the first half, which is what happened against the Cardinals.
The Eagles are only favored by a point at home, which goes to show just how close the games are between these two bitter rivals. There have been 21 meetings since 1992 in Philadelphia between the Giants and Eagles, and the G-Men have won and covered on 11 occasions. The Giants have also won 33 of their last 50 road games outright, and they’ve shown during their championship runs that they have the experience and fortitude to raise their game in these types of situations.
We’ll see who the Eagles really are in this game, and it may not be pretty. Roll with the Giants away from home on Sunday night.
NFL Pick: Giants +1