January 06, 2023
The Eagles look to have every advantage going into Week 18.
Jalen Hurts is expected back and the Giants are expected to rest their starters for the wild Card round, so the last chance to clinch the NFC East and the No. 1 seed should be a cakewalk, right?
That's how our team mostly feels. Wrote Evan Macy:
Ok, let's try this again. The Eagles are better than the Giants. The Eagles starters are far better than the Giants back ups. Every way you break it down, this game is a win for the Eagles and finally locks up home field, a bye and NFC East title.... right?. [PhillyVoice]
How about everyone else?
• The Inquirer: Beat writer E.J. Smith has the Eagles prevailing and breaking out that NFC East Champions merch:
The Eagles need this game, both for seeding and to avoid going into the playoffs losers of three straight. The Giants don’t. By Sunday evening, expect the Eagles to be donning some new attire and going into the playoffs with a week off.
Prediction: Eagles 28, Giants 17 [Inquirer/$]
• The Athletic: Vic Tafur does not have the Birds covering that big two-touchdown spread:
The Eagles’ running game will obviously get a boost with the return of Hurts. With him, they averaged 2.77 yards before contact per carry, had a 50.6 percent success rate and were running into boxes of eight or more 37.2 percent of the time. Without him, that dropped to 0.95 yards before contact per carry, a 33.9 percent success rate and running into boxes of eight or more 46.9 percent of the time.
This number has flown up to 14 points, which I think is just disrespectful to Giants backup quarterback Tyrod Taylor.
The pick: Giants +14 [The Athletic/$]
• Pete Prisco, CBS Sports: The Eagles need this game and will get it, writes Prisco:
The Eagles can lock up the top seed if they win this game. The Giants are locked into the sixth seed, but coach Brian Daboll has said he will play his starters. How much is to be determined. The Eagles offense should have Jalen Hurts back here, which will be big. They need the game more and they will get it.
Pick: Eagles 30, Giants 20 [CBS Sports]
• Sheil Kapadia, The Ringer: Kapadia, a former Eagles beat writer, has the Eagles clinching the No. 1 seed, but not covering:
The Giants have nothing to play for here. They’re locked into the no. 6 seed, and even though Brian Daboll won’t come out and say it, it’d be a stunner if they played their starters.
The best-case scenario for the Eagles:
Hurts returns and looks good.
They get the bye and the no. 1 seed.
They go into the divisional round with all 11 regular starters on offense healthy and ready to go (this would require right tackle Lane Johnson to come back, in addition to Hurts).
I think the Eagles win comfortably, but this is a big number.
The pick: Giants (+14) [Ringer]
• ProFootballTalk: The writers at PFT keep it simple. They have the Eagles locking up the No. 1 seed.
Giants (+14) at Eagles
MDS’s take: The Eagles have the No. 1 seed to play for. The Giants, locked into the No. 6 seed, have nothing to play for.
MDS’s pick: Eagles 30, Giants 13.
Florio’s take: The 2007 Giants played hard in a meaningless final game. The 2022 Giants, given the spread, apparently won’t be.
Florio’s pick: Eagles 27, Giants 17. [PFT/NBC Sports]
• Bill Bender, The Sporting News: When the spread goes above 10-points in the Eagles' favor, they haven't held up too well, but that trend should get overrided here.
Will Jalen Hurts play? Will the Giants rest starters knowing they are locked into a No. 6 seed? That's what the line is pointing toward. Philadelphia won the first matchup 48-22. As much as Hurts need to return, the defense has allowed 30 points per game the last two weeks. Philadelphia is 1-2 ATS when favored by more than 10 points, and it's still a division game. The Eagles still wrap up the No. 1 seed.
Pick: Eagles 31, Giants 20. [The Sporting News]
• Vinnie Iyer, The Sporting News: Again, the Eagles need this one. The Giants don't.
The Eagles need this game badly to hold off the Cowboys and 49ers. Jalen Hurts is expected to return nearly fully healthy coming off his right shoulder injury. The Giants are locked into the No. 6 seed and are coy about resting players under Brian Daboll, but that would be the wise choice, because they should like the current opening playoff matchup vs. the Vikings. Philadelphia will take care of home field with more of their regular 2022 play.
Pick: Eagles win 31-14 and cover the spread. [The Sporting News]
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