The reigning Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles haven’t started out their 2018-19 campaign as they had hoped. In fact, their performance has been extremely disappointing thus far.
Philadelphia has lost three of its last four games, and must now travel for a road game on a short week — to play on Thursday night. And, in a sense, it’s kind of a must-win spot, so the pressure is on. If the team should win and get to .500, with a big divisional victory in its pocket, it’ll be back on track. But a loss would drop them to last place in the NFC East, and playoff hopes would take a big hit.
To their credit, the Eagles boast the second-ranked run defense in the league, and they have the stout defensive front to make Giants running back Saquon Barkley’s job difficult. Defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz is great at rotating linemen in and out, and he utilizes their depth in that area to mask the weaknesses in the secondary.
The Eagles do come into the game extremely undermanned, as the injuries have piled up for them, which sometimes happens to a team that had a long season/last played in February. Both starting tackles Lane Johnson and Jason Peters could be out, as they’re listed as questionable, which would be a big hit, as the Eagles have struggled with protection this year as is. And on the other side of the ball, Giants star pass-rusher Olivier Vernon appears on track to make his season debut. Running back Darren Sproles is also questionable, which could make Corey Clement the featured back, a job he’s not really suited for. The Eagles are also thin in the secondary, with cornerback Sidney Jones and safety Corey Graham listed as questionable. The Giants are pretty healthy, and tight end Evan Engram could possibly return to the field as well, which could give the passing game a huge boost.
This is a tough game to predict — and you can get some advice on it from this betting intelligence site — given how many injuries the Eagles have to star players. The Giants have had success running the football in the past few weeks, but the Eagles stop the run better than any other team. If they can do that and generate pressure on Eli Manning, they’ll be able to get stops, and possibly a turnover or two. For the Eagles, it’ll come down to protecting Carson Wentz, and making sure the team’s playmakers don’t commit costly mistakes to kill drives — which helped the Vikings emerge victorious on Sunday. The Eagles defense should set the tone, though, and figures to get a big stop late to help the team hold on, and Philly will right the ship — with extended time to rest up for its next game, which it desperately needs, given all the injuries the team is dealing with.
Prediction: Eagles 23, Giants 20