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December 27, 2019

Week 17 NFL picks: Rounding up the experts' predictions for Eagles vs. Giants

After taking care of business against the Dallas Cowboys last week at home, the Eagles will now make the relatively short drive north to visit the Giants in a game that, despite the opponent, is just as important for the Birds if they hope to clinch the NFC East on Sunday evening.

The last time these two teams met up was just a few short weeks ago, but it will be a very different Giants team that the Eagles face on Sunday, with rookie Daniel Jones back under center and Saquon Barkley on a hot streak that helped propel many fantasy football players out there, myself included, to a championship this past weekend. 

But that's just the thing about this game — while Barkley's numbers in recent weeks have been the driving force behind some fantasy titles, the numbers being posted by guys like Carson Wentz and Barkley's former backup, Miles Sanders, are the driving force behind a potential division title for the Eagles. And that's what they'll be playing for on Sunday, while the Giants, as many expected this season, won't be playing for much of anything. Typically, those matchups favor the team not already dreaming about the offseason. 

We've already broken down the injuries on both sides of the ball, given you some matchups to watch and offered our own predictions for Sunday's game in East Rutherford. Now, as we do every week, it's time to take a look around the nation to see how various experts, both local and national, see this one playing out...

• PhillyVoice staff: Unlike the last two weeks when we couldn't seem to come to a consensus, it's a clean sweep among our writers in Week 17, with all five picking the Birds. Here's a look at what beat writer Jimmy Kempski had to say:

Hmm, where should we start? Well...

  1. The Eagles have won the last six matchups against this team, and 10 of the last 11. They own the Giants (though a lot of those games in the six-game winning streak have been close).
  2. The Eagles obviously need this game to win the division, while the Giants have nothing to play for, and really, should be tanking for draft positioning if they had any brains.
  3. The Eagles' offense has come alive under a recently stellar Carson Wentz, and they're facing a decimated Giants secondary with one super-old dude and four rookies.
  4. The best thing the Giants have (Saquon Barkley) lines up with the Eagles biggest strength this season (run defense). 
  5. The bet here is that there are more Eagles fans than Giants fans at MetLife Stadium on Sunday.

While Daniel Jones is capable of a big day, the Eagles have the matchup advantage, and the intangibles advantage, in my view, and should win comfortably. We'll see...

• ESPN staff: Eight of their nine experts are picking the Eagles to take care of business on Sunday.

• Tim McManus, Eagles 28, Giants 24

Jordan Raanan, Eagles 34, Giants 28

• Gregg Rosenthal, Eagles 24, Giants 17

Could this new era of good feelings in New York/Hoboken end by spoiling the Eagles' playoff hopes? The Eagles' three-game winning streak started with a dogfight against these Giants in Eli Manning's return to the field, and there are signs both offenses have improved since. Carson Wentz is playing his best football. Miles Sanders has 328 yards from scrimmage over the last two weeks. Greg Ward is an upgrade from Nelson Agholor in the slot. Even if Daniel Jones and the Giants' offense are as healthy as they've been all season, it's hard to imagine the Eagles slipping up now. This organization knows how to finish.

• staff: All eight of their writers are picking the Birds, including Pete Prisco, who was one of their five writers last week to correctly predict Philly's upset win over the Cowboys. Here's what Prisco had to say:

If the Eagles win, they are in the playoffs. But it won't be easy. The Giants impressed on offense in beating the Redskins last week, but this will be a tougher test. The Giants will hang around here, but the Eagles will win it with a late field goal. 

Pick: Eagles 23, Giants 21

MORE: Eagles vs. Giants: Predictions, odds and more for Week 17

• OddsSharkFile this under "Things I've Never Seen Before," but OddsShark actually has the Giants winning by 1/10th of a point, 23.1-23. While that's not a real score that can ever happen in a football game, it is the closest of margin of victory I've ever seen on their site.

• Mike Florio, ProFootballTalk: Eagles 23, Giants 17

The last time these two teams met, a switch flipped for the Eagles at halftime. With a division title hinging on a victory, the switch won’t be flipped back.

• Michael David Smith, ProFootballTalk: Eagles 21, Giants 20

I think this is going to be a closer contest than expected, but the Eagles won’t choke away the division.

• Bleacher Report, NFL staff: Eagles 27, Giants 17

Sunday's matchup between the Philadelphia Eagles and Detroit Lions is an example of a game for which you might have to look beyond what's on paper. Because on paper, the injury-ravaged Eagles probably shouldn't be laying 4.5 points away from home against a Giants squad that nearly beat Philly on the road earlier this month. 

But that comeback victory over Big Blue seemed to galvanize the well-coached, resilient and mentally strong Eagles, who have now won three consecutive games by at least six points and might need a victory here to keep their season alive. 

Under those circumstances, the majority of our panelists are reluctantly willing to give up those 4.5 points. ...

It's a tricky line, but it's hard to bet against the Eagles and just as hard to trust the Giants. Against teams that currently have winning records, the G-Men are 0-5 with an average margin of defeat of 15.4 points this season.

• Sheil Kapadia, The Athletic: Sheil Kapadia, the former Eagles beat writer turned national NFL writer, makes picks against the spread for every game over at The Athletic. This week, he's taking the Eagles to not only win, but to cover the 4.5-point spread on Sunday:

Doug Pederson completely outcoached Garrett last week, and for the third straight season, his team is overachieving late. In 2017, it was the Super Bowl run with Nick Foles. Last year it was rallying from a 6-7 start to make the playoffs and advance to the divisional round. And now with a fourth straight victory, the Eagles will win the NFC East and host a first-round playoff game against the loser of the Seahawks-49ers game. Young players like Miles Sanders, Boston Scott and Greg Ward have given the offense some juice and given Eagles fans a reason to keep watching.

• SBNation staff: Seven of their 10 writers are picking the Eagles over the Giants.

• Bleeding Green Nation staff: It was a clean sweep over at BGN, with all nine writers predicting an Eagles' win.

MORE: All of Jimmy's Week 17 NFL picks

 Philadelphia Inquirer: All four of their Eagles writers are taking the Eagles on Sunday, including Jeff McLane, who predicts the slimmest margin of victory for the Birds, 24-23:

The Eagles are no longer the underdogs. They have a one-game lead in the NFC East heading into a season finale most expect them to win. Unlike last year, they don’t need for another team to lose to punch their ticket into the postseason. I wonder how the Eagles will react to their front-runner status. I wonder if Sunday could be a letdown after the climatic victory over the Cowboys.

But that’s a narrative built upon variables that have little to do with what actually happens on the field. That doesn’t mean I think the Eagles have a clear advantage in terms of personnel, scheme and coaching. Their offense is battered. While some of the turnover has injected life into the unit, the expected absence of tight end Zach Ertz will hurt. Lane Johnson is unlikely again, as well.

The Eagles defense rebounded yet again last week, but the cornerbacks are always susceptible. Daniel Jones has greater upside than Eli Manning, although Jim Schwartz typically confounds rookie quarterbacks. Saquon Barkley is the X factor for the Giants. He seems to be rounding into pre-ankle injury form. The Eagles’ open-field tackling has to be as sound as it was against Dallas.

All that being said, the Eagles have more on the line than the playing-out-the-slate Giants. They have the coaching advantage. And I’m not going to make the same mistake two weeks in a row after I essentially chose Jason Garrett over Doug Pederson. It’ll be close, but a hot Carson Wentz delivers another victory down the stretch.

• staff: Six of their seven writers are picking the Eagles, with the lone exception being Giants beat writer Matt Lombardo. Here's what he had to say:

The Eagles certainly have more to play for and a more talented roster. However, they also are banged up in the secondary and Zach Ertz’s health in a major concern entering Sunday’s game. Meanwhile, the Giants have Daniel Jones starting at quarterback, and not Eli Manning. Saquon Barkley is just 89 yards from 1,000 on the season, despite missing three games, and will be gunning to reach that mark potentially even by halftime. This is a game the Eagles should win. However, with Pat Shurmur’s job on the line, expect him to pull out all the stops and don’t be shocked if Jones has the kind of performance that makes ownership second-guess that pink slip for the head coach. Giants 26, Eagles 24

• Todd Haislop, Sporting News: Giants 27, Eagles 24

We'd feel much better about the Eagles' chances to clinch the NFC title with a win over the lowly Giants if New York was not entering this game with the red-hot duo that is Daniel Jones and Saquon Barkley. Leading with the return of the rookie QB to the lineup over Eli Manning, the Giants are healthier than they were two weeks ago when they took the Eagles to overtime in Philly. And the Eagles, of course, are still dealing with their own injury issues. A Philadelphia loss combined with a Dallas win would mark a heartbreaking end to the Eagles' season, but this year, it would be par for the course.

• Vinny Iyer, Sporting News: Giants 23, Eagles 20

The NFC East is due to have one more twist before its season as the NFL's weakest division ends. Here it is. The Giants took the Eagles to overtime in Philadelphia with Eli Manning, and yes, Daniel Jones is a quarterback upgrade. Saquon Barkley is red-hot. The Eagles might not have Zach Ertz, and their compressed offense will give the Giants' defense another break. Their secondary is hurting again and can't handle the Giants' sudden wideout depth. The Giants, of all teams, will end up helping the Cowboys as they play hard, possibly one last time, for Pat Shurmur.

MORE: Philly Godfather: Take the Giants and the points against the Eagles

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