The Eagles will travel up the turnpike and square off against the Giants in their first divisional game of the season. With a “must win” so early in the season, can they get back on track during Thursday Night Football? Here are the crew’s predictions for the game:
ALEX WHITNEY (3-2)
Even though the NFC East is crap and the Eagles are far from out of it in the division, this is a must win for the Birds. The Eagles haven’t put a complete game together yet this season and Thursday night would be a good time to do so. The Giants are 1-3 and haven’t looked overly good through their first 4 games. Even after drafting Saquon Barkley, the Giants haven’t run the ball well. Pat Shurmur will almost certainly use the quick passing technique that was effective against the Eagles D last season. Also, expect a lot of screens to Saquon to give him space to create which he won’t get much of in the run game. The loss of Jay Ajayi for the Eagles is significant, but the Birds thrive on the “next man up” motif, and that will have to come true Thursday night. Expect a heavy dosage of Wendell Smallwood and Corey Clement in the run game. If they can get that going, it will open up the play action and will lead the Eagles to victory.
Final Prediction: Eagles 30, Giants 17
KEVIN MEANS (2-3)
This is the week for the Eagles to turn it all around. The Giants offensive line is a dumpster fire and it comes at just the right time for Fletcher Cox and company. With bad weather, the Giants will be forced to run the ball against the Eagles second-ranked run defense. Keeping Odell Beckham Jr and Saquon Barkley in check will be the main priorities for the defense. The same goes for the other side of the ball. Running the ball has been a strength of the Eagles so far this season even without Ajayi. If they are able to rush the ball, it’ll open everything up for Carson Wentz and the passing game. The Eagles will still be in the playoff race even if they lose this week due to a poor NFC East, but pulling off a big win on Thursday night could give them the momentum they need in order to bounce back after a rough start to the season.
Final Prediction: Eagles 27, Giants 13
JOE FABIANI (1-4)
After yet another self-inflicted loss, the Eagles head to face a struggling Giants team. One concerning factor is how talented the Giants receiving core is. Beckham and Shepard are both talented route runners and have great speed. That will present a challenge to the Eagles struggling secondary, who head into this matchup without safety Corey Graham. They will be relying on their youth on the back end in this one. This could be a game where we see the Eagles defensive line break out as the Giants offensive line has been putrid to this point once again this season. After hearing comments from Fletcher Cox I believe he will look to set the tone early. I wouldn’t be surprised to see a high scoring affair. However, I do believe the Eagles bounce back and win late with ball control and a field goal.
Final Prediction: Eagles 24, Giants 21
TYLER EDGERTON (1-4)
The Eagles are in a deep hole and have to dig themselves out with a MUST win this week. Following Sunday’s loss, the team’s playoff chances dropped to 21-percent. The Giants have played the Eagles very tough over the last two seasons and are set to pose another threat on a short week. With so much riding on this game, it’s hard to say with confidence that the Eagles can pull it together and start clicking offensively. Weather is likely to play a factor throughout the game causing the running attack for both teams to be heavily relied on. Losing Jay Ajayi is a big blow to the Eagles, so a fast start is critical. Philadelphia has scored just 7 points in the first quarter of games this season. This game will either be one of those matchups where Eli gets sacked 6 times or picks the Eagles defense apart with their speedy attack. Unfortunately, I think it will be the latter.
Final Prediction: Eagles 20, Giants 27
TYLER QUILL (1-4)
Short weeks are never easy in the NFL. Mix in that this week is the Eagles first divisional matchup and the tension rises even more. This week’s game against the New York Giants is as close to a must-win as they come. The Eagles look to get on track and prove that they are still the top dog in the NFC East. They will have to hold the Giants passing game down. While Eli has struggled this season, the Giants are still explosive. With weapons like Odell Beckham Jr., Sterling Shepard and rookie phenom Saquon Barkley, the Eagles defense will have their hands full. The weather should be a big factor and turn this into a ground and pound game. While the Eagles are hurting at running back, they have one of the top rushing defenses in the league. Because of that, I think the Eagles will start the year off 1-0 in the division and get the win this week. Eagles will control the game, however, I expect Barkley or OBJ to get loose for a couple big plays. This may be a sloppy game but the Eagles will pull it out.
Final Prediction: Eagles 31, Giants 24
You can catch all the action at 8:25 on NFL Network of FOX. Join the conversation on Twitter @BirdsInformer as we live tweet every game!