We’ve previewed multiple Week 17 games in which 1 team faces a must-win scenario to make the playoffs, and its opponent has nothing to play for with a division or home-field advantage already sewn-up.
Philadelphia at New York presents similar, but different circumstances. The Giants are a rival of the desperate, contending Eagles, yes, and also have nothing to play for. But it’s not because the Big Blue is leading the pack in anything. The proud old franchise is 4-11 and a (+180) moneyline underdog on Sunday afternoon.
Who: Philadelphia Eagles at New York Giants
When: Sunday, December 29th, 4:25 PM EST
Where: MetLife Stadium, East Rutherford, NJ
Lines: PHI (-4) at NYG (+4) / O/U Total: (45)
I’ve been getting fed trivia and scouting notes in various sports by a pal named Chris Aliperto, and as tribute to his help in keeping my picks above-water this season, I’m going to do something a little different on this final week. The following are some of Chris’s notes on the Giants and Eagles in Week 17, and I’ll reply to each quote with thoughts or counter-points of my own. Think of it as 2 handicappers debating a pick – all the better to help you choose the right betting market on the scrum in East Rutherford.
“The Eagles are currently on a 3-game winning streak, with all 3 wins coming against divisional opponents. In the first meeting between these teams 3 weeks ago, Philly battled back from a 17-3 halftime deficit to push the game to OT, eventually coming out with the 23-17 victory.”
That’s an awful hard row to hoe against a cellar club at home, but okay. Good for the Iggles.
“Pat Shurmer’s Giants have been able to win back-to-back games, albeit against the Redskins and the Dolphins who are a combined 7-23. In last week’s 41-35 OT win against Washington, Saquon Barkley went off, basically rising from the dead it seems, rattling off 189 rushing yards and adding 90 receiving. QB Daniel Jones racked up 352 passing yards with 5 touchdowns.”
Sounds more like Lazarus Barkley to me. In the words of Bill Lumbergh, I’m going to have to go ahead and um, disagree that Saquon appeared dead in the water at any point in 2019. He’s a running back on a poor team who has struggled with injury along with much of the lineup. The OL has been ugly at times.
“Eagles tight end Zach Ertz posted a 9-91-2 stat line and was an instrumental target for Carson Wentz down the stretch against the Giants. Unfortunately, Ertz has been playing for some time through an injury to his ribs and has been ruled out for round 2 of this match-up on Sunday. With an already depleted WR corps, expect Wentz to rely heavily on his other tight end Dallas Goedert.”
Philadelphia’s offense will have to stay patient. The pass rush can’t punish the Giants’ faulty blocking up front if New York is granted short fields due to turnovers. Punting in the 1st half won’t be the end of the world for the favorites.
“On the positive side of the injury front, RB Jordan Howard is slated to return from his shoulder injury, but he may have to take a back seat to the emerging rookie 2nd round pick Miles Sanders. WR Nelson Agholor is still not expected back, however, meaning J.J. Arcega-Whiteside and Greg Ward Jr. are expected to lead the WR corps once again.”
Neither offense is bound to flourish. East Rutherford’s crowd will be infused with spoiler-fever, and I think the supporting cast you lined-out will be sporadic in making plays for Wentz. What I can’t figure out is why the Over/Under is so healthy, since the Giants aren’t much more likely to string explosive plays together.
“Considering the Giants are scoring some points as of late, and Barkley finally proved to me he is 100% after his performance last week, I think New York puts up a fight early in a see-saw battle, with the Eagles pulling ahead late. The line has moved from -4 to -4.5 in favor of Philly, and I think with a late push and a solid effort from Carson Wentz and company, the Eagles will go up two scores late, and finish off the Giants 31 – 21. Double up on the Eagles -4.5 and the over 45 with confidence.”
I can’t disagree with that pick more. Check the next section for details.
Philadelphia’s tendency will be to run a few extra times in the 1st half and avoid turnovers, looking for at least a FG victory and a division title. New York will scrape and claw for what it can as a rival spoiler bid.
Chilly weather and a December roar doesn’t add up to 45+ points when an incompetent offense is trying to out-score a nervous, battered one.
Take the Under (45) for a winner on the NFC East.