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December 15, 2017

Week 15 NFL predictions: Rounding up the experts' picks for Eagles-Giants

Eagles NFL

Welcome to the Nick Foles Era (again).

On Sunday, the Eagles will play their first game without Carson Wentz since the 2015 NFL season after the second-year quarterback tore his ACL in the third quarter of last week's 43-35 win over the Los Angeles Rams.

At 11-2 and with the NFC East already in hand, the Birds first test will come against the lowly Giants, who already fired their head coach and general manager earlier this month. Still, it's a road division game, one the Eagles would be wise not to overlook if they hope to maintain the top spot in the NFC and home-field advantage throughout the playoffs.

After all, they needed a record-breaking field goal as time expired to beat the Giants in their home opener – and that was with a healthy Carson Wentz.

Currently, the Birds are favored by more than a touchdown, but that doesn't mean everyone is picking the Birds. Here's a look at what some of the national and local media are predicting for Sunday.

•  Jimmy Kempski, PhillyVoice: Eagles 26, Giants 14.

It was an outrage (an outrage I say!) when the Giants benched Eli Manning a week ago, and now the New York papers are calling for him to be re-benched. Anyway, the Giants have nothing offensively, defensively, or on special teams. They can't wait for this season to just be over.

•  ESPN staff: Nine of their 10 experts are picking the Eagles.

•  Tim McManus, Eagles 23, Giants 17

Center Jason Kelce and LG Stefen Wisniewski are both dealing with ankle injuries, while Jason Peters' replacement at left tackle, Halapoulivaati Vaitai, has been shaky over the past couple of games. Nick Foles should be concerned about his blindside protection. That's not ideal for his first start of the season, especially since it's coming on the road. The defense, though, will rise to the occasion.

•  Jordan Raanan, Eagles 27, Giants 13

Nick Foles is starting for the Eagles. Doesn't matter. The Giants have the NFL's worst defense. Philadelphia and Foles will find plenty of success this week. All they need to do is reach 20 points and they're in good shape. The Giants have topped 20 points just once in their past seven games, and that was with a last-second touchdown in a blowout loss to the San Francisco 49ers. They won't do it against this Eagles defense.

•  Elliot Harrison, Eagles 26, Giants 10

Maybe Nick Foles won't light it up for the Eagles a la Norm Van Brocklin in 1960. I can also tell you that the Sam Huff-led Giants Van Brocklin faced were a totally different animal ... er, giant ... whatever ... than the current New York group. (What is a "giant" anyway? An ogre? Andre the Giant? Jared Lorenzen?) The real question mark in this NFC East contest is not Foles; rather, it's the quarterback on the other sideline. Eli Manning can play better, but multiple drops and little drips from the running game don't provide him much to work with, so the Eagles' defense wins this deal...

• staff: Like ESPN, all but one of their experts are picking the Eagles. 

•  FiveThirtyEight: Nate Silver's computers give the Eagles an 80 percent chance of winning and have them listed as a 9.5-point favorite.

•  OddsShark: They're predicting a big victory for the Birds, with them winning by nearly three touchdowns.

•  Mike Florio, ProFootballTalk: Giants 21, Eagles 20

It’s easy to exude confidence to the point of delusion about succeeding without Carson Wentz . . . before actually playing a game without Carson Wentz.

•  Michael David Smith, ProFootballTalk: Eagles 24, Giants 14

Nick Foles gets an easy opponent in his first start, and he’ll play well as the Eagles cruise to another win.

•  Chris Simms, Bleacher Report: Eagles 22, Giants 13

Wentz is special, and his loss hurts. But this is still a phenomenal Eagles team. It's certainly better than the New York Giants. I expect Philadelphia to come out with a spirited effort, knowing other areas of the team have to pick up their play to compensate for Wentz's absence...

This game may be uglier than the Eagles like, but they'll still pull it out.

•  SBNation staff Again, it's nearly unanimous for the Eagles, with one lone writer picking the Giants.

• staff: You'll have to go check these out for yourselves since I've apparently already used up my 10 free articles this month.

•  Bleeding Green Nation staff: Once again, all seven of their writers are picking the Eagles.

• staff: Six of their seven writers are predicting an Eagles' win. [NOTE: These picks were against the spread]

•  PhillyInfluencer staff: All eight of their writers are picking the Eagles, including PhillyVoice contributor Nick Piccone, who sees a 27-10 win for the Birds.

With a chance to clinch home-field with a win and a Vikings loss, I expect the Eagles to show up as they have every game this season. I’m not exactly expecting a blowout, but this game should never be in question. Limiting mistakes, taking advantage of the poor Giants defense, and just knowing it’s the last road game of the season should get these boys up to the challenge. Nobody’s really expecting the Giants to win, but that just means the chip on their shoulder gets a little bigger. And I think this Eagles team has the ability to stomp that chip out.

  The Eagles Wire staff: All of their writers have the Eagles winning, including Turron Davenport, who sees a 28-10 final score:

The Eagles are looking to make a statement without Wentz at QB. Expect Nick Foles and company to put up points against a Giants’ defense that is reeling. New York can’t do anything well on offense which only makes things worse.

•  David Steele, Sporting News: Eagles 28, Giants 16

How the Eagles really maintain what they’ve accomplished this season without Carson Wentz will always be a challenge. It just won’t be noticeable against the Giants, who are terrible by every possible measurement. Their first meeting in Week 3 could have altered the fates of both teams — the Giants screwed up a handful of opportunities late, then the Eagles won on a final-play, 61-yard field goal. They’ll continue on those paths.

•  Vinny Iyer, Sporting News: Eagles 26, Giants 17

The Eagles need to roll with Nick Foles, but since they squeaked by the Giants in the first meeting with Carson Wentz, they’ve found more rushing power and receiving pop. Their lines are also both built to dominate the Giant’s fronts. Eli Manning doesn’t look like a savior, and New York’s defense has wilted. The new NFC East champions add to their No. 1 seed resume.

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