The NFL betting world had mixed preseason NFL predictions for the Philadelphia Eagles. When the season was ready to start, Kevin Kolb was the starting quarterback and a sense of uneasiness surrounded the Eagles. As the NFL scores started rolling in, Michael Vick had taken over at quarterback and the Eagles suddenly became the darlings of the NFC.
The New York Giants keep losing their balance, as they have late in every season for the past few years, but this year they have not fallen yet. Head coach Tom Coughlin’s manic style of coaching seems to be working this season, and the 9-4 Giants are tied for the NFC East lead with the Eagles. The Giants offense and defense has started to come on strong the past few weeks, and quarterback Eli Manning is quietly having another prolific season.
Eli Manning takes a lot of the offensive heat for the Giants because he throws a lot of interceptions. But people seem to forget that, to go along with his 19 interceptions this season, Manning has 3,169 passing yards and 24 touchdowns. His completion percentage of 64.4% is the highest he has ever had in his career.
Running back Brandon Jacobs takes a lot of flack too, but all he needed was a chance to run the ball. In a chaotic week 14 that saw the Giants land in two different airports in the span of 24 hours, Jacobs ran up 116 rushing yards and scored a touchdown. Ahmad Bradshaw had 103 yards and a touchdown on the ground. The Giants offense knows how to score points.
For Philadelphia, quarterback Michael Vick makes the offense go, covering up an average offensive line by being so mobile. In addition, running back LeSean McCoy has also put together a good season, accumulating 972 rushing yards and seven touchdowns this season behind that same injury riddled offensive line. Wide receiver DeSean Jackson adds a formidable target for Vick to throw to; he has 972 receiving yards and six touchdowns. The parts are in place all around Michael Vick, but the concern against the Giants should be what is in front of the Philly quarterback.
Giants rookie defensive lineman Jason Pierre-Paul has four sacks in his last two games. He has dominated the line of scrimmage and only adds to that scary Giants pass rush. The Giants are ranked second against the pass and fifth against the run. They can contain and crush just about any offense. The New York pass rushers are athletic and quick, and the secondary is able to stay with just about any receiver. There will be very little room on the field for Michael Vick and the Eagles offense.
The Eagles have a good defense, but they have problems with teams that have running and passing threats. The one thing the Eagles do have going for them in this game is Manning’s habit of throwing interceptions. The Philadelphia corners and safeties are very good at tracking down the ball, and they will make Eli Manning pay if he decides to get careless with his passes.
The Bottom Line:
The Giants feed off their defense and the Eagles feed off their offense. Between those two units, I'm giving the Giants defense the edge.
Pick: New York Giants