In an NFC East showdown, the New York Giants (7-4-1) host the Philadelphia Eagles (11-1) on Sunday, December 11. Before the season started, nobody expected these teams to be where they are in week 14. The Giants were not expected to compete for the playoffs in head coach Brian Daboll’s first season, but if the season ended today they would hold the sixth seed in the NFC. The Eagles were expected to compete with the Cowboys for the divisional crown, but few if any analysts were picking them to be the top seed in the conference, let alone to hold the best record in the entire league. But here they are, with a chance to clinch the playoffs this week, and a 1.5-game lead over the Minnesota Vikings for the number one seed.
A divisional rivalry game is always important, but this game could not be more critical for both teams. After a hot 6-1 start to the season, the Giants have struggled of late, going 1-3-1 over the last five weeks after tying the Washington Commanders at home last week. With three of five remaining games coming against playoff-bound teams (two against the Eagles, and one on the road against the Vikings), plus another tilt with the surging Commanders, the Giants face a tough road to securing their playoff spot.
The Eagles are coming off perhaps their most impressive game of the season, dominating the AFC South-leading Titans 35-10. With that performance, they seem to have broken out of the mini slump they were in that saw them fall to the Commanders and squeak by the Colts with a narrow one-point comeback win. They need to keep rolling to maintain their hold on the number one seed with a matchup at Dallas on the horizon. An Eagles loss this week would mean the Cowboys have a chance to jump into the top spot in the division with a win over the Eagles on Christmas Eve (assuming the Cowboys avoid a letdown before that, of course).
Let’s take a look at the odds, injuries and depth charts for this Eagles vs. Giants matchup and see my picks and predictions for the game.
Philadelphia Eagles vs. New York Giants Betting Odds
The Eagles opened as nearly a touchdown favorite with -6.5 odds and they were -275 on the moneyline. That spread has moved up to the key number of -7 at many sportsbooks already, driven by nearly 90% of the public money coming in on the Eagles. The numbers look similar on the moneyline, with nearly 90% of the money on the Eagles. If the spread reaches -7.5, we could see some sharp money come in late on the Giants.
The over/under for this game opened at 44.5 and has bumped to 45.5, with over 80% of the public money being bet on the over. If that trend continues, the total could continue rising leading up to kickoff.
The implied outcome of these odds is the Eagles winning 26-19.5.
Philadelphia Eagles vs. New York Giants Prediction
Going back to 2014, the Eagles have dominated their annual series with the Giants. They are 13-3 against their division rival over the last eight seasons, although the Giants have taken two of the last three, with both of those victories coming at home. Don’t expect them to make it three in a row at home this week. The Giants are banged up more than just about any team in the league this season, and even at full strength they are overmatched against this Eagles team.
The Eagles enter this game with the best passing defense in the league, allowing 178.5 passing yards per game (1st), leading the league with 15 interceptions, and ranking 2nd in pass defense DVOA. They showed last week against the Titans that when they can take away the running game and make a weak passing offense one-dimensional, they can dominate defensively. The Giants are 28th in the league in passing offense with 180.4 yards per game, only marginally better than the Titans (171.4). It doesn’t help that they are without three of their top wide receivers from the start of the season – Wan’Dale Robinson and Sterling Shepard both suffered season-ending injuries, and Kadarius Toney got traded away. Kenny Golladay has been virtually non-existent, and their most productive remaining wide receiver, Darius Slayton, has the second-highest drop rate in the league among wide receivers at 11.5%.
The Giants’ only hope to compete with the Eagles is if Saquon Barkley has a big game, and Barkley has slowed down quite a bit over the last three weeks. He is averaging just 41.3 rushing yards per game (2.8 yards per carry) and 14.6 receiving yards over that span, and it’s no coincidence the Giants are 0-2-1 in those games. The Eagles’ run defense had been their Achilles heel for much of the season, but they have improved dramatically over the last three weeks and held Derrick Henry to just 30 yards (2.7 yards per carry) last week. If they can keep that up against Barkley this week, the Giants will struggle to do much offensively.
The Giants’ defense has struggled this season, ranking 23rd in total defense and 28th in DVOA, and they haven’t faced an offense like the Eagles yet. With two starting cornerbacks out with injuries in Adoree Jackson and Aaron Robinson, their passing defense is particularly vulnerable. They are relying on backups Fabian Moreau, Nick McCloud, Darnay Holmes and rookie Cor’Dale Flott. Some of those players have been serviceable, but they are a significant mismatch against an Eagles’ passing offense that ranks 3rd in DVOA. The secondary is also dealing with some public infighting over playing time right now after practice squad call-up Zyon Gilbert got the start last week.
Seems like Rodarius Williams is confused on why he didn't get playing time on Sunday for the Giants. I think Giants fans were confused by this too. Instead, they played a ton of Zyon Gilbert who was called up from practice squad https://t.co/0ChsUbubr8
— Lori Rubinson (@LRubinson) December 5, 2022
The Giants also struggle against the run, ranking 26th with 141.1 rushing yards allowed per game and 30th with 5.1 yards per carry allowed, and now they face an Eagles’ offense leading the league in rushing offense DVOA.
Any way you slice it, the Eagles look like they should be more than a touchdown favorite in this game, which is probably why the public is betting so heavily on the Eagles. Normally when I see such heavy action on one team, I fade the public. Divisional matchups can be tricky and wind up being closer than expected, and with the Giants being at home, I am tempted to bet on parity and take the points. But I just can’t bet against the Eagles in this one. I am laying the points and taking the surprisingly favorable odds on the moneyline.
When looking at the total, I expect to see a game script where the Eagles’ defense shuts down the Giants and their offense takes the foot off the gas in the second half, leading to a total under 45.5. I could certainly see the Eagles’ offense scoring enough points on its own to drive the over, especially if the Giants score some points in junk time. But I think it’s more likely in a divisional road game that the Eagles’ offense gets stifled a bit more than expected by this Giants defense, so I’m fading the public this time and taking the under.
My Prediction: Eagles win 30-13, Eagles cover, under 45.5.
- The Eagles are 4-0 ATS against teams with a winning record, and the Giants are 5-1 ATS against teams with a winning record – something’s got to give.
- The Giants are 1-7 ATS in their last eight games in December, while the Eagles 3-0-1 in their last four games in December.
- The Eagles are 1-6 ATS in their last seven road games.
- The Over is 6-0 in the Eagles’ last six games following a straight-up win, and 6-1 in their last seven games overall.
- The Under is 5-0-2 in the Giants’ last seven home games vs. a team with a winning record.
- In the last seven meetings between these teams, the underdog is 5-2 ATS, and the Eagles are 2-5 ATS.
- The Under is 5-2 in these teams’ last seven meetings.
Philadelphia Eagles Injuries: LB Shaun Bradley (Q – Hamstring), WR Quez Watkins (Q – shoulder), DE Robert Quinn (Q – knee), CB Avonte Maddox* (IR – hamstring), S C.J. Gardner-Johnson (IR – lacerated kidney), DT Marlon Tuipulotu (IR – knee), TE Dallas Goedert (IR – shoulder), DE Derek Barnett (IR – knee)
*eligible to be activated this week
New York Giants Injuries: DT Leonard Williams (Q – neck), WR Kenny Golladay (Q – illness), CB Darnay Holmes (Q – shoulder), G Shane Lemieux (Q – toe), OL Josh Ezeudu (Q – neck), OL Ben Bredeson (Q – knee), CB Adoree Jackson (IR – knee, MCL), 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),
Check out the key matchups and mismatches for Philadelphia Eagles vs. New York Giants below.
Giants’ running back Saquon Barkley vs. Eagles’ run defense
As mentioned above, stopping Barkley will be the top priority for the Eagles’ defense. If they can do the same thing to Barkley that they did to Derrick Henry last week, the Giants offense will struggle to move the ball against the Eagles and their elite pass defense.
The formula for beating the Eagles is clear: control the ball, win the time of possession battle, limit the opportunities for Jalen Hurts and the offense, and wear down the defense over the course of the game. That is how the Commanders handed the Eagles their only loss. The Giants are capable of executing a similar game plan if the offensive line can create enough holes and Barkley has the juice to explode through them. The latter might be a question as Barkley has seemed to slow down over the last few weeks, but a talent like him can erupt at any time.
Giants’ offensive line vs. Eagles’ defense line
Continuing on that theme, the bigger challenge for the Giants’ running game will be the offensive line matching up with the Eagles’ defensive line. The O-line has historically been an Achilles heel for the Giants, but it has shown some improvement this year, especially on the edges. Left tackle Andrew Thomas has recovered from a disappointing start to his career and emerged as one of the best left tackles in the league in his 3rd season. Rookie right tackle Evan Neal has struggled at times, allowing five sacks in his first seven games before missing four games with an injury, but he is a good run blocker and generally has stabilized that position.
The interior of the offensive line has been a bigger problem. They have surrendered 64 pressures and 10 sacks up the middle this season, struggling to match up with penetrating defensive tackles like the Eagles’ Javon Hargrave and Fletcher Cox. The Eagles have a deep rotation of interior defensive linemen after adding veterans Linval Joseph and Ndamukong Suh mid-season following an injury to rookie 1st round pick Jordan Davis. Davis returned last week but only played six snaps; he is expected to see more action this week as he continues to recover from his ankle sprain. That five-man rotation allows all these guys to stay fresh and stay attacking, which could prove to be a big difference in this game both in terms of slowing down Barkley and getting pressure on Daniel Jones.
Eagles’ offensive line vs. Giants’ defensive front
The best matchup of strength on strength in this game might be on the other side of the line of scrimmage. The Giants’ defensive front is the strongest unit on the team, with multiple high draft picks that have excelled early in their careers: 2019 1st round pick Dexter Lawrence, 2021 2nd round pick Azeez Ojulari, and rookie 1st round pick Kayvon Thibodeaux. Along with standout veteran Leonard Williams, that unit generates pressure at the third-highest rate in the league (24.8%). This week will be their biggest test of the season against the Eagles, who boast the best offensive line in the league.
The Giants are also the most blitz-heavy team in the league, bringing extra pass rushers on nearly 41% of opponent drop backs. That helps them generate the high pressure rate, but they also struggle to get home, with just 25 sacks to show for it (tied for 20th in the league). A dangerous mobile quarterback like Jalen Hurts could make them pay for that if he can escape the pressure and pick up large chunks on the ground or exploit single coverage through the air. The Giants’ ability to get pressure on Hurts while holding the edge and keeping him contained will be an important storyline to watch in this game.