The No. 1-ranked Eagles will host the No. 6-ranked Giants in the divisional round of the NFL playoffs on Saturday.
To the predictions:
Ruben Frank (13-4)
It’s normal to be skittish about this game. We just watched the Giants play their best game of the year, on the road, against a 13-win Vikings team. We just watched their young quarterback create a masterpiece in his playoff debut. We just watched their rookie coach lead his team to its first postseason win in a decade. But facing an almost completely healthy Eagles team that went 14-1 under Jalen Hurts and playing at home and resting after a bye week is quite another. The Giants scored 31 points against the Vikings’ 31st defense. Scoring 31 on the Eagles’ No. 2 defense gives them more power. But I don’t think they can. I expect Jalen Hurts to be close to 100 percent, and with Hurts healthy, the Eagles are just a better team than the Giants across the board. Hats off to Daboll and the work he’s done this year but it ends at the Linc.
Eagles 27, Giants 20
Dave Zangaro (13-4)
The Eagles are better than the Giants. They just are. I understand the Giants looked good against the Paper Tiger Vikings last week and give them credit. But the Eagles had a more impressive weekend on their bench. They deserved that No. 1 seed and let’s face it, if they had to play the Seahawks as the No. 2 seed last week, they would have crushed them. Brian Daboll has clearly pointed the Giants in the right direction, but the Giants’ talent just doesn’t fit together.
We’ve seen a few different versions of that Giants defense this season, but I’m confident the Eagles can dissect both. If the Giants want to be aggressive and blitz Jalen Hurts, then Hurts will beat them with 1-on-1 mismatches with AJ Brown and DeVonta Smith and also have the ability to run away from pressure. If Wink Martindale wants to do what he did against the Vikings last week, Dallas Goedert will play a huge game like TJ Hockenson did in the wild card round.
And when the Eagles are defending, the Giants just don’t have enough firepower. Saquon Barkley looks healthy, Daniel Jones has gotten better and they have quite the trio of receivers. But the Giants need a perfect game to beat the Eagles. Sure, it’s possible. But as long as the Eagles don’t beat themselves, they’ll host the NFC Championship Game next weekend.
Eagles 33, Giants 24
Barrett Brooks (13-4)
It’s time to stop talking about what the Giants accomplished this year. I respect head coach Brian Daboll and what he’s done producing wins with the level of talent he possesses. I’m tired of all the hoopla the Giants got by beating an average Vikings team. Offensively, the Giants have a really good running back in Saquon Barkley. He looks like the rookie back who was so explosive. Daniel Jones has also taken over the attack, so it is no longer Saquon on the left and Saquon on the right. Daboll relies on Jones’ arm and his ability to open the passing game. Jones is now starting to use his legs and scramble more. In my opinion, Mike Kafka tells his QB that if the first read is not there, pull the ball down and run.
DC Don ‘Wink’ Martindale is a blitzer by nature. When I watched the Vikings movie, Wink didn’t send the blitz that often. Saying that, I can’t see Wink Jalen Hurts blitzing because you have to run from man to man. Playing that style flips the backs of the DB, allowing Hurts to scramble for more yards. I also see the Eagles’ running game being a powerful weapon against the Giants’ poor defense.
Eagles 32 Giants 18
Mike Mulhern (14-3)
The Giants will fight, they’ll give it their all, but they simply won’t have enough to beat the Eagles. The national and New York media seem desperate for any semblance of success from any of the East Rutherford teams, but are pumping the brakes on the 2007 Giants Super Bowl comparisons. It would be like expecting the Eagles to hoist the Lombardi Trophy every time the backup quarterback comes in just because Nick Foles was magical in 2017. But winning three of your last nine games, including a victory over the rogue Vikings, somehow now equates the Giants to being “on a roll.”
Yes, Daniel Jones looked great a week ago, but Minnesota’s defense is one of the worst in the league. He should have cut them into cubes. In fact, he had just done so in week 16, albeit with much less fanfare. The Eagles pass rush is on another level. They have two elite corners at the back. Keep Jones in the bag and it’s going to be a long day for him.
Brian Daboll has built a great culture in New York, but so has Nick Sirianni here in Philly. His Eagles will be laser-focused, starting with Jalen Hurts and his healing shoulder. The Birds quarterback faced opponents after last year’s ugly playoff exit to the Buccaneers. On Saturday he will show how far he has come. I expect an MVP-level performance, which has become the norm for him this season. The Giants will likely put a lot of pressure on, which should lead to plenty of opportunities for AJ Brown and Devonta Smith further down the field. Plus, Dallas Goedert saw how little resistance the Giants put up against TJ Hockenson last week and told our John Clark that’s why he asked for more plays this week. He could be lining up for a big day himself. The Eagles are one step closer to Arizona.
Eagles 34, Giants 20
Adam Hermann (15-2)
If you listened to some football analysts this week, they told you that the Giants are coming on at the right time and that Daniel Jones has become a reliable, borderline elite QB.
Let’s be real.
The Giants have won four games since early November. They beat the Texans (3-13-1), they beat the Commanders (8-8-1), they beat the Colts (4-12-1), and last week they beat the most fraudulent 13-4 team in the NFL history.
This is a perfectly acceptable to good football team, a team with youth and advantage and a team that definitely plays better football than I thought possible this season. Hats off to Brian Daboll, Saquon Barkley and Daniel Jones.
But the Eagles beat this team by multiple scores this weekend.
This is why.
1. The Giants can’t stop the run. They rank 31st in rush yards per attempt allowed, 27th in total rush yards allowed, 20th in rushing touchdowns. The Eagles are one of the best teams in the NFL, especially when Jalen Hurts is healthy and allowed to play his full game. The last time these two teams met, the Birds put up 253 rushing yards. I have no reason to expect anything different this time.
2. The Giants can’t stop good tight ends. Guys like TJ Hockenson, Dalton Schultz, and Evan Engram definitely took advantage of New York’s defense this year: Hockenson caught 23 passes for 238 yards and two touchdowns in two appearances. Jesus. Dallas Goedert made only one appearance against the Giants, in a crippled version of the Eagles’ offense, catching six passes for 46 yards. I expect Goedert to be heavily involved in a number of different ways on Saturday – and good luck holding the clamps on Goedert as your secondary fights for his life against AJ Brown and DeVonta Smith.
3. The Giants offense doesn’t scare me. There is no question that Barkley is a dangerous weapon and that Jones has figured out how to avoid flipping the ball at an absurdly fast pace. But you’re telling me to sweat Richie James and Darius Slayton when the Eagles have one of the best cornerback duos in the NFL and CJ Gardner-Johnson is back from injury? OKAY. All I’m worried about is Jones’ legs beating the Eagles over and over again. But if your biggest threat in a playoff game at the Linc Daniel Jones is on the run, I’ll take that chance.
You can have all the questions in the world about Hurts’ shoulder, and Lane Johnson’s adductor, and bye bye rust. The Eagles are a superior team. We saw it in Week 14 when the Eagles nearly hung a 50-burger on the G-Men, and we’ll see it again this weekend.
Give me a sweltering first half and a double digit profit margin.
Eagles 34, Giants 23
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