TNF - Eagles at Giants
October 11, 2018
By Tony Mejia
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Philadelphia (-3, 44) at N.Y. Giants, 8:20 pm ET, FOX/NFLN
No team suffered a more painful loss than the Giants in Week 5, having battled back from a double-digit fourth-quarter deficit to grab a late lead at Carolina before Graham Gano stepped in with an improbable game-winning 63-yard field goal.
The aftermath of the disappointing loss also included WR Odell Beckham Jr. addressing a controversial interview he did with ESPN in which he essentially threw all of his teammates under the bus as hip-hop artist and fellow New Orleans native Lil’ Wayne nodded sympathetically. He questioned the passion and heart of teammates and didn’t take up for quarterback Eli Manning, responding “I don’t know” when asked if the 37-year-old future Hall of Famer was to blame for the team’s offensive struggles.
He could’ve accurately responded that the entire offensive line was to blame and been similarly criticized but the fact is even doing an interview of that nature barely a month into the regular season is a bad look. Unapologetic, Beckham took credit for inspiring teammates to what was the team’s best performance in weeks.
His tone deaf stance has served one purpose for New York however, deflecting attention from the Giants essentially facing what feels like a must-win at home as the defending Super Bowl champs come in for the first of two regular-season meetings. Instead of answering questions about pressure and a short week, the Giants have had a noisy distraction to suppress their real issues. They’ve also been handed a ready-made scapegoat should this Thursday night contest not go their way.
New York has been a major disappointment in spite of a coaching change that brought the highly respected Pat Shurmur into run the show. Although No. 2 overall pick Saquon Barkley has shown flashes of brilliance, he’s got just 100-yard rushing game under his belt. The league’s longest run of games between scoring 30 points finally ended, but it took a trick play and some fourth-quarter magic to get the job done.
The Eagles visit on the heels of a disappointing home loss to Minnesota in which they fell behind 20-3 and saw their comeback fall short. Running back Jay Ajayi was injured in the loss, but the revelation he tore his ACL was a nasty surprise to pile on to a disappointing start on the heels of the team’s first Super Bowl victory.
Nick Foles was at the controls for Philly’s Thursday night victory over Atlanta to open the season, but that game put a suspect offense on display from Day 1. Carson Wentz’s Week 3 return following a disappointing loss at Tampa Bay produced a victory over Indianapolis when a Hail Mary went unanswered. Still, the Eagles have remained flat despite regaining his services. WR Alshon Jeffery just rejoined the fold after his own injury woes and the newly signed Jordan Matthews is building chemistry with Wentz, so there’s no question the Eagles can be optimistic as they attempt to get back to .500.
Philadelphia has scored 23 or fewer points in every game this season and has been involved exclusively in one-possession games, so finding the Giants on the schedule might be a welcome sight. The Eagles have dominated New York over the past few seasons, winning seven of the last eight meetings. If you ago all the way back to 2008, Philly has prevailed in 15 of 19, although the last five have all been one-possession games as well.
Barkley, a native of the Bronx, has scored in each of his first two home dates and will be looking for his first win at Met Life Stadium in addition to his first win against a divisional foe after losing in Dallas a few weeks back. Beckham, whose miscue on a punt return proved costly and balanced out his TD pass and work at receiver against Carolina, has caught 50 passes for over 700 yards and six touchdowns against the Giants. He’s had success, but his team hasn’t.
That sounds familiar. New York will look to reverse that trend as it seeks its first home win since the 2017 regular-season finale against Washington last New Year’s Eve. The Giants lost their first four home games last season and is now 2-8 over their last 10 at Met Life Stadium, covering just three times.
Philadelphia will be looking to avoid what would be its third straight loss, something it hasn’t experienced since dropping five in a row from Nov 20-Dec. 18 in 2016.
Season win total: 10.5 (Over +130, Under -150)
Odds to win NFC East: 10/11 to 10/11
Odds to win NFC: 10/1 to 13/1
Odds to win Super Bowl: 20/1 to 25/1
New York Giants
Season win total: 7 (Over -140, Under +120)
Odds to win NFC East: 15/1 to 12/1
Odds to win NFC: 50/1 to 50/1
Odds to win Super Bowl: 100/1 to 100/1
Given how poorly the entire division fared last week and how wide open things are through the first five games, it's most interesting that the Eagles were such a heavy favorite to win the NFC East again. The Eagles opened the season as a 5-to-7 favorite to repeat as divisional champs after last year's 13-3 finish saw them clear their closest pursuers by a full four games. New York finished last in '17 but opened as an appealing 8-to-1 to win the NFC East last April and were down to 5-to-1 to open Week 1. The Eagles remain (10/11) roughly even money to finish atop the division despite trailing Washington by a half-game.
Only New Orleans (9/2), Minnesota (7/1) and Chicago (12/1) have better odds than these teams to represent the NFC in the Super Bowl than Philly. Only Arizona and San Francisco (1,000/1) have worse odds than the Giants.
As far as this matchup is concerned, the Eagles were installed as a 2.5-point favorite when the Westgate's early numbers were announced last week but have been laying a field goal all week across the board with very little movement. The total opened at 45 but dipped steadily and is most widely available at 44 with a few 43.5s out there.
Philadelphia is at -150 on the money line at most spots with the wager of a buck on New York to win straight up netting a return of +125 to +135 depending on the shop. The Eagles' team total is set at 23.5 while the Giants are available at 20.5 at most shops.
Lane Johnson, Philly's standout right tackle, has practiced and will play, alleviating this game's biggest question mark.
Ajayi’s injury means that the Eagles lose their primary back, taking away the battering ram concept that served them so well last season since they already had LeGarrette Blount when they added him from Miami. Blount is in Detroit now and Darren Sproles is still dealing with a hamstring issue, so look for the trend of using the short passing game as an extension of the run to continue here with Corey Clement and Wendell Smallwood doing the bulk of the work.
Philadelphia also has issues on defense, having ruled out DT Haloti Ngata (calf) and safety Corey Graham (hamstring), whose absence could result in a big day for the passing game if Manning is accurate and gets time to throw. Top Giants pass-rusher Olivier Vernon will make his 2018 debut for New York, so its defense has a chance to bounce back after surrendering 33 points each of the last two weeks and recording just six sacks all season while doubling as one of the NFL’s worst teams in stopping the run.
Giants backup tight end Rhett Ellison is questionable with a foot injury, which is a big deal since starter Evan Engram (knee) has been ruled out. WR Russell Shepard (neck) won’t play either.
RECENT MEETINGS (Philadelphia 9-3 SU, 6-5-1 ATS last 12; OVER 8-4)
12/17/17 Philadelphia 34-29 at N.Y. Giants (NYG +7.5, 40.5)
9/24/17 Philadelphia 27-24 vs. N.Y. Giants (NYG +5, 43)
12/22/16 Philadelphia 24-19 vs. N.Y. Giants (PHI -1.5, 42.5)
11/6/16 N.Y. Giants 28-23 vs. Philadelphia (NYG -3, 42.5)
1/3/16 Philadelphia 35-30 at N.Y. Giants (PHI -5, 51)
10/19/15 Philadelphia 27-7 vs. N.Y. Giants (PHI -5, 49.5)
12/28/14 Philadelphia 34-26 at N.Y. Giants (PK'em, 52)
10/12/14 Philadelphia 27-0 vs. N.Y. Giants (PHI -1.5, 51)
10/27/13 N.Y. Giants 15-7 at Philadelphia (NYG +5.5, 49)
10/6/13 Philadelphia 36-21 at N.Y. Giants (PHI +1.5, 53.5)
12/30/12 N.Y. Giants 42-7 vs. Philadelphia (NYG -6.5, 44.5)
9/30/12 Philadelphia 19-17 vs. N.Y. Giants (PHI -1.5, 46.5)
Of the props available below at Westgate, I'd ride the first score being a field goa for the value and like the under on Barkley rush yardage since the Giants move him around and have only given him over 15 carries twice thus far and he hasn't topped the 50 yards rushing in either of the last two weeks.
First score: (Touchdown -150, FG/Safety +130)
Carson Wentz passing yards (292.5): (Over -110, Under -110)
Carson Wentz TD passes (2): Over -125, 2nd + OT +100)
Zach Ertz receiving yards (67.5): (Over -110, Under -110)
Eli Manning completions (24.5): (Over -110, Under -110)
Eli Manning TD passes (1.5): (Over +110, Under -130)
Saquon Barkley rush yards (60.5): (Over -110, Under -110)
QB sacks (4.5): (Over -130, Under +110)
NEXT WEEK'S NUMBERS POSTED
Westgate Vegas opens its advance lines for the following week on Tuesdays and Week 7 currently has the Eagles liisted as a 3-point home favorite against the Panthers in another big NFC game. The Giants will be back in the national spotlight, visiting the Falcons for a Monday night showdown that realistically looms as an elimination game since both teams have gotten off to such slow starts. Atlanta has been made a 3.5-point favorite.
Follow Tony Mejia on Twitter at @TonyMejiaNBA
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