It’s an NFC East showdown in the Divisional Round of the NFL playoffs, as the top-seeded Philadelphia Eagles host the No. 6 seed New York Giants on Saturday, January 21 at 8:15pm.
The Giants put together one of their best games of the season last week as they dispatched the Minnesota Vikings, 31-24, on the road. Daniel Jones had perhaps the best game of his career, completing 24 of 35 passes (68.6%) for 301 yards, two touchdowns and no turnovers while adding 17 carries for 78 yards (4.6 average) on the ground.
The Eagles are 2-0 against the Giants this season. In week 14 they dominated New York at the Meadowlands in a 48-22 victory. It was their highest scoring output of the season and their widest margin of victory in a mostly dominant season. The second victory came in week 18 against primarily the Giants’ backups, as they opted to rest their starters after already locking in their playoff seeding.
That week 18 game can largely be discounted as we look ahead at this playoff matchup. The Eagles needed to win that game to secure the No. 1 seed, but they deployed a very simplified game plan devoid of any of the RPO plays that helped them to be one of the most dynamic and high-scoring offenses in the league this season.
That might have been to protect quarterback Jalen Hurts, who returned from a two-game absence due to a shoulder injury. The Eagles coaches also could have been anticipating a potential playoff matchup with New York and did not want to give them any more relevant film to watch. It was more likely the former, but the latter was an added benefit considering how things played out.
What can we expect in the third matchup between these teams?
Let’s take a look at the odds, injuries and depth charts for this Giants vs. Eagles matchup and see my picks and predictions for the game.
New York Giants vs. Philadelphia Eagles Betting Odds
The Eagles opened as 7-point favorites in this game, and many sportsbooks quickly added the hook to that line on Monday, bumping it to -7.5. Early in the week, the public money on that line was split very evenly, but by Friday the Giants were getting roughly 60% of the money.
Kudos to any savvy bettors out there who were able to get some early money on the Eagles without needing to give the hook. It’s unlikely there will be another opportunity to get the Eagles at -7. Based on the current betting trends, I expect the line will hover right at -7.5 until kickoff, and some books might move it up to -8.
The Eagles’ moneyline odds opened around -300 and have been as low as -375 (at PointsBet). The Giants’ moneyline opened at +250 and has moved as high as +300 at PointsBet and +295 at DraftKings. The Eagles have been getting a little over 50% of the money for most of the week, but with over 40% of the money on roughly 15% of the bets, the Giants’ moneyline is getting some larger bets.
The over/under for this game opened at 47.5 and moved up to 48.5 pretty quickly. The public was leaning towards the under early in the week, with roughly 75% of the money. That has flipped and roughly 70% of handle is now on the over. If that trend continues, it’s possible the line could creep a bit higher before kickoff.
The implied outcome of these odds is the Eagles winning 28-20.5.
New York Giants vs. Philadelphia Eagles Prediction
There is some “conventional wisdom” out there among NFL fans and analysts that it’s hard to beat the same team three times in a season. This is not actually true though, as teams that sweep division opponents in the regular season also win the third game 62.5% of the time.
The team that has swept the other team during the season is 15-9 in the third game.
.625 win percentage.
— Jeff Kerr (@JeffKerrCBS) January 16, 2023
The historical precedent of underdogs who win on Wild Card Weekend is also working against the Giants. In the last 10 years, there have been 22 lower-seeded teams that have won on Wild Card Weekend, and those teams are just 4-18 in the Divisional Round.
I don’t expect the Giants to buck those trends, despite the lingering uncertainty about Jalen Hurts’ sprained throwing shoulder and the way the Eagles looked down the stretch after that injury occurred. The Hurts situation does make me hesitate to lay the points, even after he was dropped completely from the injury report this week, but I would still bet the moneyline with confidence.
The Eagles are stronger in virtually every aspect of the game. There is a reason they won so handily in week 14. I attribute the closer contest in week 18 primarily to the Eagles’ vanilla gameplan designed to protect Hurts and do the bare minimum to defeat the Giants’ backups.
The Giants are playing much better right now than they were when these teams first met, and they are also a bit healthier, especially on defense. I do not expect this game to be as lopsided as the first matchup, and I would not be surprised if the Giants covered 7.5.
The Giants were the best in the league with a 14-4 record against the spread this season, and they are 11-2 ATS as underdogs. If I am betting the spread in this game, I am taking the points.
I do not like to take the points and bet the favorite on the moneyline, as the range of outcomes to hit both of those bets is too narrow, even with a larger spread like 7.5. Between the spread and the moneyline, the value is better on the spread, but I am much more confident in the Eagles’ moneyline.
I am also taking the over in this game. Even if Hurts is not 100%, I expect the Eagles to be able to move the ball on the Giants’ defense, especially on the ground. I also expect another good game from Daniel Jones. Despite a tough matchup with the Eagles’ defense, he will do enough to keep the game close and push the total over 48.5.
My Prediction: Eagles win 28-24, Giants cover, over 48.5
- Giants are 5-0 ATS in the first last five games overall, while the Eagles 0-4 ATS in their last four.
- Giants are 10-1 ATS in their last 11 playoff road games, and 10-2 ATS in their last 12 playoff games overall.
- Eagles are 5-0 ATS in their last five Divisional Playoffs games.
- The Under is 13-3 in the Giants’ last 16 games on grass.
- The Under is 4-0 in the Eagles’ last four playoff games, and 9-1-1 in their last 11 playoff home games.
- The Giants are 5-1 ATS in their last six games in Philadelphia, and the road team is 7-3 ATS in the last 10 meetings between these teams.
New York Giants Injuries: LB Azeez Ojulari (Q – quad), LB Landon Collins (Q – ankle), WR Isaiah Hodgins (Q – ankle), CB Adoree Jackson (Q – back), S Julian Love (Q – hamstring), CB Fabian Moreau (Q – hip), S Jason Pinnock (Q – abdomen), OLB Elerson Smith (IR – Achilles), G Shane Lemieux (IR – toe), OL Josh Ezeudu (IR – neck), DL Nick Williams (IR – biceps), WR Wan’Dale Robinson (IR – knee), CB Aaron Robinson (IR – knee), WR Sterling Shepard (IR – knee), WR Collin Johnson (IR – Achilles), LB Darrian Beavers (IR – Knee, ACL)
The Giants have been one of the most injury-plagued teams all season, but some key players are getting healthy at the right time, namely defensive lineman Leonard Williams and cornerback Adoree Jackson. The player most at risk of missing the game is OLB Azeez Ojulari. He is arguably their best pass rusher and would be a big loss for their defense if he ends up missing the game.
Philadelphia Eagles Injuries: RT Lane Johnson (Q – groin), DT Linval Joseph (Q – calf), DE Robert Quinn (Q – back), DE Brandon Graham (Q – illness), CB Avonte Maddox (O – toe), P Arryn Siposs (IR – ankle), DT Marlon Tuipulotu (IR – knee), DE Janarius Robinson (IR – ankle), LB Shaun Bradley (IR – wrist), DE Derek Barnett (IR – knee)
The Eagles are also getting healthier at the right time. They got a few key players back from injury in week 18. Safety C.J. Gardner-Johnson was activated off IR after missing five games with a lacerated kidney, and DE Robert Quinn also returned from a five-game absence with a knee injury.
Besides Jalen Hurts, DE Josh Sweat and RT Lane Johnson entered the week as the key Eagles players to watch on the injury report, and both are expected to play. Sweat was completely removed from the injury report, while reports surfaced this week that Johnson’s injury may not be as serious as expected, which was further supported by his full practice participation on Thursday. Slot cornerback Avonte Maddox was held off IR to preserve a chance of him playing in the playoffs, but he has been ruled out for this game.
Of course no Eagles injury news was bigger than Hurts being completely removed from the injury report. It’s unlikely his shoulder is 100% recovered, but it does mean that he is likely to play with no limitations in this game. Several media members speculated that this might be some gamesmanship by Eagles coaches to force the Giants to game plan for a fully healthy and mobile Hurts. If that’s true, it seems to be working.
— Jordan Raanan (@JordanRaanan) January 18, 2023
Check out the key matchups and mismatches for New York Giants vs. Philadelphia Eagles below.
Eagles’ rushing attack vs. Giants’ defensive front
The Eagles were one of the best rushing offenses in the league this season, and the Giants were one of the worst rushing defenses. The Eagles ranked first in rushing DVOA and first in rushing EPA per play. The Giants ranked 32nd in run defense DVOA and 29th in run defense EPA per play. Needless to say, this is a huge mismatch in the Eagles’ favor.
The Eagles rushed for 235 yards in week 14, led by Miles Sanders with 144 (8.5 per carry) and Hurts with 77 (11 per carry). It was the second most productive rushing game of the season for Philadelphia, and the worst of the season for New York’s defense.
This is also an important aspect of the game to watch because of what it means for Jalen Hurts’ health. If Hurts is still hampered by his sprained shoulder, will the Eagles call fewer RPOs and designed quarterback runs? If they do, their offense will look much different than it has all season, and it will be much easier to defend. It seems that will not be the case considering Hurts was completely removed from the injury report, but that injury is also one that could be aggravated mid-game if Hurts takes another big hit and lands on that right shoulder.
Eagles’ offensive line vs. Giants’ defensive line
The Eagles have the best offensive line in the league when healthy, but they are far less effective without All-Pro right tackle Lane Johnson, who missed the final two games of the season after tearing a tendon in his abdomen.
Since the start of the 2016 season (including playoffs):
Eagles with Lane Johnson: 59-29-1
Without Johnson: 9-21
— Dave Zangaro (@DZangaroNBCS) December 26, 2022
Since Lane Johnson joined the Eagles in 2013….
QBR with Johnson on the field: 61.5
QBR without Johnson on the field: 47.3
— Bill Barnwell (@billbarnwell) December 25, 2022
Johnson will return for this game, but it remains to be seen how effective he can be with that injury. According to reports this week, his injury was not as serious as originally expected, and he looked like his usual self in practice. His injury certainly has not affected his confidence heading into the playoffs.
This Lane Johnson video is good news for #Eagles fans
— Eliot Shorr-Parks (@EliotShorrParks) January 13, 2023
The Eagles will need Johnson more than ever against the Giants’ defensive line, which is the strength of their team and one of the best in the league. The Giants generated the seventh most pressure in the league this season (24.3% of opponent dropbacks). Defensive coordinator Wink Martindale was also the most aggressive at dialing up pressure, calling blitzes on 39.7% of dropbacks.
With those kinds of numbers, one would expect the Giants to be better than 13th in the league in sacks, but they got much better at converting pressure to sacks down the stretch. They tallied 21 of their 41 sacks over the final six weeks of the season (4.2 per game), and had another three last week against the Vikings.
One specific matchup to watch is on the interior with Giants defensive tackle Dexter Lawrence against Eagles center Jason Kelce. Lawrence has become one of the most disruptive interior defensive linemen in the league and earned second-team All-Pro honors this season. Kelce became a five-time first-team All-Pro this season, but he has struggled at times in his career against overpowering defensive tackles like Lawrence.
Giants’ offensive line vs. Eagles’ defensive front
The Eagles know that Saquon Barkley is the Giants’ most dangerous weapon offensively, and slowing him down will be the top priority for the defense. Their defensive line dominated the Giants’ offensive line in week 14, and they were able to limit Barkley to just 28 yards on nine carries.
If they can put together a similar effort in this game and force Daniel Jones to attack them through the air, that will create an advantage for the Eagles. Not only do they have the best pass defense in the league (1st in DVOA, 1st in EPA), but they also have a dominant pass rush.
The Eagles led the league in sacks this season by a wide margin and they nearly set the NFL’s single-season record. They finished with 70 on the year, just short of the record of 72. They also became the first defense in NFL history with four different players reaching double-digit sacks – Haason Reddick (16), Javon Hargrave (11), Josh Sweat (11) and Brandon Graham (11).
On the other hand, the Giants’ offensive line struggled to protect the passer this season, giving up the 5th most sacks (49). Seven of those sacks came in the week 14 contest against the Eagles.
A big part of Jones’ and the Giants’ success this season has been protecting the football. They turned the ball over just 16 times, second fewest in the league. But the Eagles were one of the best at taking the ball away, doing so 27 times, tied for fourth most in the league.
If the Eagles can generate pressure on Jones the way they did earlier in the season, that could be the key to forcing one or two game-changing turnovers. It all starts up front with stopping Barkley in the run game and earning the right to rush the passer, which has been their mantra all season.