The New York Giants (8-7) host the Philadelphia Eagles (4-11) Sunday at 1:00 PM ET in a Week 17 NFC East division clash. Oddsmakers have listed the Giants as a 9.5-point favorite and have set the total at 46.5.
Why New York Covers
This is a playoff game for the Giants, and their performance in the clutch the past few years indicates that they thrive under the pressure to win big games. While they need a slew of other teams to win as well, those other teams are playing winnable games and things could settle into place nicely if they take care of Philly.
Expect a heavier than normal dose of Ahmad Bradshaw and David Martin, as the Giants will try to exploit the Eagles 22nd ranked rush defense, which is missing two key players in Fletcher Cox and Mychal Kendricks. The tandem is averaging over 4.5 yards per carry and 15-18 carries each is not out of the question.
The Eagles pass protection is also exactly what the Giants struggling pass rush needs. Philly has allowed 47 sacks – 27 in the nine games Vick has started. Vick has a penchant for holding the ball too long and trying to do too much with his legs; Jason Pierre-Paul could have a field day if these tendencies continue.
This is a revenge game for the Giants, and they don’t want their season to end because of a loss to not only the struggling Eagles, but a divisional rival as well. Philly is 0-5-1 in their last six games against teams with winning records, and 3-11-1 overall ATS.
Why Philadelphia Covers
The Eagles have nothing to lose in this game and will be trying to send Andy Reid off with a win in his final game. Michael Vick will also be starting for the first time in nearly two months, and will be auditioning for the other 31 teams in the NFL as this is most likely his final game in Philly as well.
The Eagles offense is predicated on the big play, and the Giants give up more than their fair share. Vick’s scrambling ability and uncanny touch on the long pass could prove to be troublesome for the struggling and hurting Giants secondary.
In their Week Four 19-17 victory, LeSean McCoy was the focal point, rushing for 123 yards; 121 of them in the second half. He’s in his second game coming off of a concussion, but should find success not only running but in the passing game as well. He caught nine balls against Washington last week and will be relied upon to keep the pass rush of NY at bay.
The Eagles road performance ATS has actually been passable: they’re 3-4 away from home, which equals the Giants home record ATS. Add to it the fact they’ve won eight of nine overall against the Giants, including five in a row as the visiting team.
This game, though, will be Vick’s to win or lose. When he was healthy, he held the ball for too long and turned it over much too frequently. If he is on his game, and we expect him to be (let’s face facts: this is a one-game audition for 31 other teams), he will bootleg often, utilize his backs frequently, and get rid of the ball much quicker.
The Giants are heavy favorites in this game as they are paying for their playoff lives. History, however, is not on their side. The Eagles have won eight of the last nine meetings between the two teams and won 19-17 in week four this season. It will be Eagle pride against Giant desperation; and those whom are desperate often take more risks and make more mistakes.