New York Giants Face Toughest Opponent Yet In Philadelphia Eagles Reality Check

Posted on: December 8, 2022, 12:38h. 

Last updated on: December 8, 2022, 12:38h.

OK, Giants fans. This is test week. Your team has won once in its last five games, and that was against the Houston Texans. Your formerly daring coach, Brian Daboll, turned into John Birch last weekend, because he was so conservative in overtime.

Now your team is going up against a Philadelphia Eagles team that leads the NFL with an 11-1 record, and just accumulated 380 passing yards against a very good Tennessee Titans team. That total is coming one week after rushing for more than 350 yards against the Green Bay Packers, with 157 of those yards coming from Jalen Hurts.

Yes, the Eagles looked vulnerable three weeks ago with a one-point victory over the Indianapolis Colts, which came on the heels of a 32-21 loss to the Washington Commanders. But the Eagles have shown the type of bounce back ability that has eluded the Giants, hence the spread floating between 6 1/2 and 7 1/2 as the bets come in midweek.

This will be a character test, and another tie is not what the Giants need for their collective confidence. If they are satisfied with exceeding expectations, their season is already over and they can deem it a success.

But if they strive for being a championship caliber team, it is incumbent that they get a victory against the cofavorite for MVP, Hurts, with a game plan that will account for the likelihood than rain and wind are going to have a big impact on this matchup at the Meadowlands. If they win, perhaps a certain unattractive comedian who somehow scores supermodels will take everyone out clubbing with new squeeze Emily Ratajkowski and her girlfriends.

Why Is The Line So Low, Given The Eagles’ record?

Good question, and the best answer is that the sportsbooks want equal action to come in on both sides of the line. Since gambling is legal in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York, the handle percentages will not be skewed by having one of the teams come from a state where gambling is not yet legal.

As of Thursday morning, DraftKings Sports book was seeing a 58%-42% edge for the Giants in spread bets (their line was at 6 1/2), but with a 63-37 percentage advantage for the Eagles in terms of tickets. The moneyline action was heavily in Philly’s favor at 85% of handle despite the -275 line, which is a sign that bettors believe an Eagles win is a certainty, even if a cover is not.

Philadelphia is 7-5-0 against the spread (ATS), while the Giants are tied with Cincinnati for the league lead at 9-3-0 ATS, covering each of the last two weeks in their duds against the Commanders and Cowboys. So while they may be a good spread bet, this is the time of the season when the pretenders are separated from the contenders, and the Giants fall squarely into the former category until they prove otherwise. When your last quality win came Oct. 16 against Baltimore, you have not exactly been channeling Pete Davidson lately.

And now, you must face a team that has the following going for it:

  • The Eagles have back-to-back games of 450 or more total yards and five or more touchdowns for the first time since 1981.
  • The Eagles lead the NFL in rushing touchdowns with 23, just two short of their franchise record for an entire season.
  •  The Eagles lead the NFL with 23 takeaways, including a league-best 15 interceptions.
  • The Eagles are second in the league with 42 sacks, with three or more sacks in six consecutive games.
  • The pass defense leads the league, allowing just 178.5 yards per game.
  • The average of 28.2 points a game is second in the league to the Chiefs (29.2).
  • They convert 45.8% on third down, third-best in the league. Their red-zone offense scoring of 73.8% is second-best in the league.
  • Hurts has won 14 of his past 15 starts and is the only quarterback in NFL history with 7,000-plus passing yards (7,003) and 1,500-plus rushing yards (1,665) through 31 career starts.
  • Hurts has accounted for 29 touchdowns — passing for 20 and running for nine. The Giants have 26 touchdowns as a team.

What Will It Take For The Giants To Stay Competitive?

In a word: Perfection.

And the weird thing is, quarterback Daniel Jones was having a near perfect game vs. Washington in the first half, completing 16 of his first 17 passes, and leading the team in rushing yards. But converting that production into points? Nope.

Four sacks and a fumble hurt him, and after he led the Giants on a five-play, 20-yard TD possession following a Washington fumble early in the third quarter, his next six possessions ended with six punts, and those half-dozen possessions netted a grand total of 46 yards on 25 plays. Some 36 of those yards came on one overtime drive, when Daboll elected to punt on 4th-and-3 with 1:42 left in OT rather than try for a first down or a 62-yard field goal into the wind.

The game ended with kicker Graham Gano coming up 5 yards short on a 58-yard attempt as time expired. From a creativity standpoint, it was the low point of the season for Daboll and offensive coordinator Mike Kafka. But it was a tie and not a loss, and New York remains positioned to clinch a wild card berth if they can win half of their remaining tough games against Philadelphia (twice), Washington (in a game that has been moved into a nighttime national TV spot Dec. 18) and Minnesota, three of which will be on the road. Their only “gimme” is New Year’s Day against a Colts team that surrendered 33 fourth-quarter points to Dallas last weekend, which ain’t easy.

What Is Worth Wagering?

You have to approach this as a desperation game for Daboll and the Giants, and for them to act accordingly. The Eagles have bigger fish to fry, and that will not happen until the playoffs. They are in position to play out the string, and the Giants’ advantage in desire needs to manifest itself in a discernable advantage in energy and creativity.

From a gambling perspective, it means a few things: Jones may again have to be the team’s leading rusher as he was last week (he had 12 carries for 71 yards, while Barkley had 18 carries for 63 yards). That makes it three straight games without even sniffing 100 yards on the ground for Barkley. In fact, he hasn’t sniffed 80.

Barkley’s rushing yardage over/under is 71 1/2, while Jones’ is just 35 1/2. We would recommend going with the Jones over, as he has topped that number in two of the last three games, with the Giants looking their best when he has a run/throw option. With the receiving corps still thin, the Eagles will key on Darius Slayton, who had 90 yards on six receptions last week even though the Commanders knew he was target No. 1. With tight end Daniel Bellinger back from a fractured eye socket, his over of 18 1/2 receiving yards seems to have been set incredibly low. DraftKings offers an alternative receiving yardage line on game day, so keep your eyes open on that one because it is a parlay builder.

Hurts is going to hurt the Giants defense, and their only hope of winning is by breaking out Daboll’s bag of offensive tricks. The over/under is 45, and the Giants have had two overs and a push in their last three games. And let’s face it, Giants fans: Hurts and his cohorts are capable of topping 45 all by themselves.

Two weeks ago, when we told you the Jets had a must-win game against the Bills, those who listened were rewarded, because Gang Green hit as a +350 moneyline underdog. This one feels very similar, although right now we are a lot more bullish on the Jets than the Giants because of one guy: Mike White. More on that tomorrow.

For now, remember what the Knicks showed last night when Trae Young decided to make a mockery of himself, and the Knicks took offense.

You come into New York feeling too confident, and bad things happen. Just ask any pickpocketer.

For now, be thankful that we are having a warm day in New York, which we will not have on Sunday, and that tourists are back crowding our sidewalks. Do yourself and them a favor and be nice to them … even if they are from Philadelphia. New Yorkers need something to feel good about aside from Aaron Judge returning, and it is a longshot that the Giants will deliver it Sunday … but it is not an impossibility.

In this city, inspiration can come from desperation … or from appreciating what we have rather than what we do not have. Something tells us that the Giants are not finished surprising us. Exactly when is uncertain. But they have been too crafty and too good at making in-game adjustments for them to fold up their tent on the second weekend of December.


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