The New York Giants are coasting on a three-game winning streak, the longest current run in the NFC for any squad other than undefeated Green Bay and Carolina, and they’re in sole possession of the NFC East heading into Monday night’s matchup with the hated Philadelphia Eagles.
But, owning an 11-3 mark against the Giants over the last seven years, Philadelphia has started to click and enters the critical game as 5.5 point favorites in front of their Lincoln Financial Field crowd. Losing both games last year, including an embarrassing 27-0 road defeat, the Giants last claimed a win over Philadelphia in 2013.
And now New York could face more of the same against an Eagles squad that appears to have shaken off its early season woes. Philadelphia dropped its first two games due to poor second-half execution, but now finds itself in a three-way deadlock for second-place in the division after blasting New Orleans 39-17 in Week 5, its second win in the last three games.
The improved play of quarterback Sam Bradford and the defense are the two main reasons for Philadelphia’s sudden change of course. Though his accuracy could be better, Bradford’s largely cut down on his turnovers in the last three games, tossing six of his eight total touchdowns to just two picks.
Philadelphia’s defense has also accrued 10 takeaways in the last three games, and is now tied for second in the league with 13 on the year, looking far more like the unit that finished sixth in the league with 28 takeaways last year.
Bradford’s production can also be contributed to running back DeMarco Murray’s increasing involvement in the offense. The former Cowboy lamented about his lack of touches, but racked up a season-high 83 yards and a touchdown off 20 attempts against New Orleans. Some of Murray’s attempts have gone to rusher Ryan Mathews, who leads the squad with 205 yards and two scores thus far, but the Eagles have a long way to go with the league’s No. 23 ground game.
And yards won’t be easy to come by for Murray or Mathews against a Giants defense ranked third versus the run, letting up 80.6 rushing yards and only three total touchdowns all year. The Giants did, however, surrender 124 yards and a touchdown to San Francisco in Week 5 before claiming a last-second 30-27 victory.
Offensively the Giants have also gained momentum during their streak, averaging better than 28 points and 397 yards over the last three games.
And similar to Bradford, quarterback Eli Manning has limited his turnovers. The 34-year-old has eight touchdown passes to two interceptions in his last three starts, and connected on 75.9 percent of his throws against San Francisco. Manning set a new team-record with 41 completed passes for 441 yards and three scores against the 49ers.
However, who will be on the other end of Manning’s throws remains in doubt. The Giants receiving corps is beset with injuries this season, with both Odell Beckham Jr. and Rueben Randle pulled from the 49ers win with hamstring injuries.
Beckham, who leads the squad with 31 receptions for 428 yards and three scores, didn’t practice all week and Randle only participated on a limited basis on Friday.
Also, receiver Victor Cruz continues to recover from a calf injury, which delayed his return from the torn patella tendon that ended his 2014 season. Cruz sat out of practice all week has been ruled out, while Beckham is questionable and Randle probable.
Betting Odds: Philadelphia -5.5
Over/Under: 49.5 points
Prediction: New York over Philadelphia, 27-20