NFL Monday Night Preview: New York vs. Philadelphia

Screenshot_2Long time division rivals, the New York Giants and Philadelphia Eagles are facing off for the 149th and 150th times this season, and the first of thise season’s matchups is taking place tonight in the City of Brotherly Love.

The Giants of course will try to win both meetings, and if they manage they’ll tie the all-time series at an even 74-74-2. New York will battle for NFC East supremacy and is playing among other divisional contenders, Philly, Dallas and Washington, all of whom are separated by no more than a game after Week 5. It’s a tight contest and that’s why tonight’s game is so important.

Entering tonight, the Eagles (2-3) are the bigger favorites to win the division, but the Giants are next in line.

A win tonight would put the Eagles ahead while the Giants would then fall behind the Dallas Cowboys. On the contrary, a win by the Giants, would make them the favorites to win the East and drop the Eagles into second place. So tonight’s game is that important.

It’s kind of crazy to think that the Eagles are in position to move into first place with a win when you look back at how badly they’ve played so far this season. Winning tonight and becoming 3-3 would erase the bad memories of a sluggish 1-3 start.

The Eagles look like they are trending in the right direction after Week 5 where they blowout the New Orleans Saints at home. Philadelphia’s offense looks to finally be back on track, despite facing a horrible Saints defense. Their offensive line played well, and Sam Bradford showed some improvement despite two red zone interceptions. Their run game finally came to life for once also. That game could have been a turning point for Philadelphia’s offense if they continue.

The bad news for them is that the Giants’ defense won’t be as easy to penetrate as the Saints. New York’s secondary isn’t doing anything special, and after losing starting cornerback Prince Amukamara it’s not going to get easier. They’re at the top of the NFL when it comes to stopping the run though. Philadelphia has had some struggles with offense when their running game can’t get going. Ryan Mathews is the Eagles’ most efficient running back this season, but unfortunately he suffered a groin injury during practice this week and is still questionable to play.

The run game has to be kick started by Bradford and if they want to win he’ll have to step up and carry his team through the air once again. His throws will have to have eyes. It’s a big test for Bradford. In what will feel like a must-win matchup for the Eagles and Bradford needs to deliver this time. He will be out to prove he can be a legitimate franchise quarterback by winning a key game like this one with him taking the lead.

Defensively, the Eagles will have a lot to handle with a Giants pass attack that ranks No. 6 overall in the NFL. Eli Manning will have to get rid of the ball quickly so the Eagles won’t have a lot of opportunity to sack him. But he is improving and on the upswing. Star wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. is also questionable to play, but media is reporting that they expect to see him in action. Philadelphia’s defense this season has been what has carried the team this far. And the coach will look to them for another big performance from this unit tonight to get a win.

It’s possibe for the Eagles to win this game. They have home field advantage at Lincoln Financial Field and that stadium should be rocking. So far it seems like they are winning games that they have no business winning, like last week’s affair when the 49ers dropped two interceptions and Manning didn’t get called for an obvious intentional grounding penalty.

So if the Eagles want to win they will have to build on their performance from last week. And they will try to do just that here tonight. They will have to beat Manning who is on pace to be his best in the 10 seasons of QBR data. What are the stats? His completion percentage (66.5 percent), touchdown-to-interception ratio (5.0) and sack percentage (2.0 percent of dropbacks) would also be career bests.

So that’s why we think the QB will make the difference tonight.

Our Pick: Giants over Eagles, 28-17