NFC Divisional Round preview: Giants at Eagles pick, line, TV info and trends

Philadelphia Eagles running back Kenneth Gainwell takes a hit from New York Giants linebacker Micah McFadden while running with the ball during the second half of a Jan. 8 game in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)
Philadelphia Eagles running back Kenneth Gainwell takes a hit from New York Giants linebacker Micah McFadden while running with the ball during the second half of a Jan. 8 game in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)
Article Audio:

The New York Giants and Philadelphia Eagles will meet for the third time this season, as the NFL divisional round continues Saturday night at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia.

One look at the recent history would make many sports bettors rush to the counter to put their life savings on the Eagles, who have been dominant in this series for the past decade or so. However, the Giants are having a resurgent season under first-year coach Brian Daboll.

Still, Philadelphia has many reasons to think they have a shot at winning their second Super Bowl in team history and second since the “Philly Special” delivered in 2018. They opened 13-1 with the first-ever eight-game winning streak to start a season, and quarterback Jalen Hurts has had two weeks off following his return from an injured shoulder.

Let’s take a closer look at the lines as of late Wednesday night (provided by Caesars Sportsbook) and trends:

(6) NEW YORK GIANTS (10-7-1) at (1) PHILADELPHIA EAGLES (14-3)

Time/TV: 8:15 p.m. Saturday (FOX).

Line: Eagles by 7.5.

Over/under: 48.

Previous meetings this season: Eagles won both games – 48-22 at the Meadowlands in Week 14 and in Philadelphia, 22-16, in Week 18.

All-time series: Eagles lead, 91-87-2, dating back to their first-ever game played Oct. 15, 1933, at the Polo Grounds in New York City. The Giants won, 56-0, as Bo Molenda and Kink Richards scored twice and Jack McBride tossed two touchdown passes and kicked four extra points. Interestingly, they have faced off in the postseason just four times with each team winning twice.

Series trends notes: Philadelphia has won three in a row in the series and 15 of the past 18. Beyond that, since their game on Dec. 7, 2008, the Eagles are 24-6 against the Giants.

NFL RANKINGS

Giants offense: 4th rushing, 26th passing, 18th overall.

Eagles defense: 16th rushing, 1st passing, 2nd overall.

Giants defense: 27th rushing, 14th passing, 25th overall.

Eagles offense: 5th rushing, 9th passing, 3rd overall.

GIANTS TRENDS

  • This will be the 51st postseason game for the Giants in their history, but the first in six seasons. They are 25-25 in the playoffs overall and 6-8 in the divisional round. They have made it to the Super Bowl five times, winning four (following the 2011, 2007, 1990 and 1986 seasons). Their only loss in a Super Bowl came at the hands of the Baltimore Ravens following the 2000 season.
  • The Giants have not won back-to-back games since winning four in a row from Weeks 4 through 7.
  • Last week’s victory at Minnesota (31-24) marked just the second time this season the Giants scored more than 30 points in a game (they won 38-10 vs. Indianapolis on New Year’s Day), and it was the third time they posted more than 24 points.
  • Quarterback Daniel Jones rushed for 78 yards last week and a touchdown in the wild-card victory. It was the seventh time this season Jones had 50 or more yards on the ground. That being said, his 301 yards passing marked just the third time this season he had thrown for that many yards. In his 17 starts in 2022-23, he has zero games with more than two TD passes and 12 with either one or none.
  • Jones has thrown just one interception over his past seven games and five all season. In fact, he has turned the ball over only eight times this year with three lost fumbles. He has just three total turnovers in the Giants’ 10 victories.
  • In his fifth season, running back Saquon Barkley set a career mark with 1,312 rushing yards in 16 starts. He also scored 10 times on the ground, which was one shy of his career-best in his rookie season of 2018. Last week, he rushed for 54 yards on only nine carries with two touchdowns. He hasn’t had more than 20 carries in a single game since he had 35 for 152 yards and a score in a 24-16 victory against Houston in Week 10.

EAGLES TRENDS

  • This will be the 48th postseason game for the Eagles in their history, and this is their fifth appearance in the playoffs in six seasons. They are 23-24 in the playoffs overall and 8-7 in the divisional round. They have made it to the Super Bowl three times, winning once – 41-33 over the New England Patriots in February 2018. They lost in the Super Bowl to the Patriots following the 2004 season and to the Oakland Raiders in the Superdome following the 1980 season.
  • Philadelphia has lost three of their last four postseason games since winning their first Super Bowl, which is also the last time they won a divisional-round game (15-10 over Atlanta).
  • After winning 13 of their first 14 games, the Eagles lost two in a row before taking the regular-season finale over the Giants to clinch the NFC East and the No. 1 overall seed in the NFC.
  • This was the first season the Eagles ever won as many as eight games to start a season, and it was the first time since 2004 when they had two winning streaks of at least five games. That eight-game streak to open the campaign was their first streak of such length since they won nine in a row in 2017.
  • In his third NFL season, quarterback Jalen Hurts was tied for second in the NFL in rushing touchdowns with 13 to give him 26 for his career. Only Chicago’s Justin Fields and Buffalo’s Josh Allen had more rushing yards this season than Hurts’ 760.
  • Receiver AJ Brown was 13th in the league in receptions with 88 and was fourth behind Minnesota’s Justin Jefferson, Miami’s Tyreek Hill and Las Vegas’ Davante Adams with 1,496 receiving yards. He also was tied for third with 11 receiving touchdowns.

ANALYSIS

Many experts have this as the second leg of a teaser with Kansas City, and I completely understand why. Barring a weird finish or things falling exactly the wrong way, the Eagles have to win by just more than 1 to hold up their end.

Looking at past results, there’s no reason to think they won’t. They have won three in a row in the series and 15 of the past 18, as we mentioned above in the series trends above. The G-Men haven’t won in Philly since 2013 and that came in a game where neither team scored an offensive touchdown.

If one were to look at season rankings, there would be no reason to like the guys from Gotham here, either, as the Giants rank 18th in total offense, while the Eagles are second in defense. Conversely, it’s Philly at No. 3 in offense against New York, which is 25 in total defense.

So what gives, Derry? Why in the world would anyone like the Giants here, especially since you preach over and over again about not putting too much stock in one week?

The answer is simple: It’s much more than one week – more like a month – and it comes down to the health of one player for me. Sure, Hurts no longer is on the injury list, but it’s funny how teams manipulate the injury report the way they want to.

They want their opponent to think he is fine and that Philly will be able to run their regular offense – that he will be able to run at will as he has done all season long, and even push forward behind that (also banged-up) offensive line on the 4th-and-1 or 4th-and-goal at the 1 play they have run for success all season long.

Logic says Hurts is anything but fully healthy, and that he will not be able to run around much, sort of like a pitcher coming back from shoulder surgery who is on a pitch count.

And while I don’t think Jones will be able to do what he did last week in running all over the porous Vikings, it’s clear he’s not scared to try. It’s also clear Barkley should be well-rested, and Coach Brian Daboll knows how to motivate this team.

Not enough is being made of Giants defensive back Adoree Jackson being back from injury, which clearly made a difference in them being able to slow down Jefferson and Adam Thielen. It also will make a difference this week against Brown and Devonta Smith.

Call this one of the upsets of the season if you like, but this is just a continuation of a recent trend, as last year both 6 seeds, Cincinnati and San Francisco, advanced to their conference championship games against Tennessee and Green Bay, respectively. Also, over the course of the past 10 postseasons in the divisional round, road teams facing the No. 1 seed have either won or been within seven points in 12 of 20 games.

SCORE PREDICTION: Giants 23, Eagles 21.

Gambling problem? Call 877-8-HOPENY or text HOPENY (467369).

Categories: Upstate Action

Leave a Reply