New York Giants (5-2 SU, 4-2-1 ATS) vs. Philadelphia Eagles (4-2 SU, 4-2 ATS), Week 8 NFL, 1:00 p.m. EST, Sunday, November 1, 2009, Lincoln Financial Field, Philadelphia, Pa. TV: FOX
by Ryno of Predictem.com
Point Spread: Giants +3/Eagles -3
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Sunday will be an interesting day in Philadelphia for both New York and Philadelphia fans. The Phillies and Yankees will play Game 4 of the World Series at Citizens Bank Park at 8:00 p.m., but first the Giants visit the Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field for an early afternoon affair.
The Giants looked like one of the elite teams in the NFL with a 5-0 record. But they had to face the undefeated Saints in New Orleans, and that didn’t go too well. The Saints rolled to an easy 48-27 win. Then, the Giants hosted the Cardinals on Sunday night, and Arizona walked away with a 24-17 victory. Now, the Giants will try to avoid their third straight loss.
The Eagles were looking just fine up until two weeks ago when they played at Oakland. The Raiders shut down the Eagles offense and came away with an upset 13-9 victory.
On Monday night, the Eagles rebounded with a 27-17 win but it wasn’t pretty. DeSean Jackson had two big plays for touchdowns - one on a reverse and another on a long reception - to give the Eagles the early lead. But for the rest of the game, they relied on their defense to hold onto the lead. Donovan McNabb passed for only 156 yards. Other than the 67-yard run by Jackson, the Eagles ran for 55 yards. Other than the 57-yard catch by Jackson, McNabb only threw for 99 yards. But the Eagles defense stepped up and sacked Jason Campbell six times and forced a Campbell fumble and interception.
Brand new Eagles linebacker Will Witherspoon, acquired last week from the Rams for wide receiver Brandon Gibson and a draft pick, made an incredible first impression. Witherspoon intercepted Campbell in the first quarter and returned it for a touchdown. Later in the game, he forced the Campbell fumble as well.
Running back Brian Westbrook was knocked out of the game against the Redskins with a concussion. LeSean McCoy replaced him for the rest of the game. Westbrook’s status is unknown for Sunday.
Against the Raiders, McNabb was just 22-for-46 passing. The Eagles ran for 67 yards. Their offense is not fully clicking right now. And the Giants aren’t the team to face when that is the case. The Giants have the second pass defense in the league, allowing 158.4 passing yards per game. And the Eagles don’t run the ball much, so it could be a tough afternoon for McNabb, especially if the Eagles are without Westbrook.
Much like the Eagles, the Giants hadn’t faced a really tough opponent before their first loss. The Giants had wins over the Redskins, Buccaneers, Chiefs, Raiders and Cowboys. The Cowboys are the only of those five teams that can even be considered mediocre. The Eagles have wins over the Panthers, Chiefs, Buccaneers and Redskins, with losses to the Saints and Raiders. Neither team has really beaten a great team yet. It’s Week 8, but the winner of this game will have its first real win of the season. And both teams need this win badly, as the loser will have three losses and will be in a tough situation because of how they’ve played the past two weeks.
The Eagles, who are tied for second in the NFL in sacks with 21, will have to get pressure on Eli Manning and force him to make some bad throws. The Eagles are tied for third in the league in interceptions with 12. The Giants have a very good offensive line, so it won’t be easy to get good pressure on Manning. Linebackers Akeem Jordan, Chris Gocong, Jeremiah Trotter and Witherspoon will have to focus on stopping the run, as Brandon Jacobs and Ahmad Bradshaw are tough to stop. On offense, the Eagles need to run the ball well to set up the pass. The Giants have the second best pass defense in the league, so establishing the run is important for the Eagles.
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The Eagles are 10-4 ATS in their last 14 games. They are 5-1 ATS in their last six home games. The total has gone over in six of the Eagles’ last seven games. The Giants are 13-5-1 ATS in their last 19 games. They are particularly great on the road, at 17-3 ATS in their last 20 road games and 19-4 SU in their last 23 road games.
Ryno’s Pick: It’s a little surprising that the Eagles are favored in this game. Both teams have struggled over the past two weeks, but it’s been pretty clear all season long that the Giants are the better team. Neither team has proven much this season. And of course, this is a rivalry game so it could go either way. The signs point to the Giants winning this game. They are an excellent road team over the past few years. They have been great against the pass this season, which is all the Eagles can really do. With Westbrook possibly out, the Eagles will likely run the ball even less than normal. The Giants have a great offensive line and should be able to limit the pressure put on Manning. Also, Jacobs and Bradshaw should be able to get some decent yardage on the ground. The under is a good play here because the Eagles offense has struggled so much over the past two weeks and they will probably be one-dimensional on Sunday. With the lead, the Giants will pound the ball, so it should be a low scoring game. But getting points for the better team is difficult to pass on. Take the Giants +3.