If either the New York Giants or Philadelphia Eagles want to have a chance at winning the NFC East, they’ll have to win on Sunday. The division rivals are set to go head-to-head for the first time in the 2016 NFL season when they meet at MetLife Stadium in Week 9.
Philadelphia and New York are both tied at 4-3, trailing the Dallas Cowboys for first place in the division. With Dallas visiting the winless Cleveland Browns on Sunday, the Eagles or Giants are likely to fall three games back with a loss.
New York began the week as a three-point favorite, but the betting line has since dropped to 2.5 points, indicating that the Eagles are the slightly better team on a neutral field. Even though they share the same record, Philadelphia has been the more impressive team this season, and they have a good chance to steal their first divisional victory of 2016.
The Eagles are coming off an overtime loss at Dallas, where it looked like they had the game in hand when they led by 10 points in the fourth quarter. They have wins over the division-leading Pittsburgh Steelers and Minnesota Vikings, and all three of the Eagles’ losses have come by one score against teams that are no worse than .500.
The Giants defeated the Cowboys in the season-opener, but they have since stayed in the playoff race by taking advantage of a weak schedule. New York hasn’t beaten a winning team since Week 1, and all of their victories have been decided in the final few minutes. When challenged by the Vikings, Green Bay Packers and Washington Redskins, the Giants were defeated.
For the most part, New York’s revamped defense has played well. The Giants are 10th in points allowed, and they rank in the top 10 in both rushing defense and opponents’ passer rating. But the team’s talented offense has let them down on multiple occasions, and it could do so again against the Eagles.
Despite having a two-time Super Bowl MVP at quarterback and a wide receiving corps led by Odell Beckham Jr., New York has a hard time scoring points. The Giants are one of just seven NFL teams that don’t average more than 19 points per game, and they haven’t reached the 30-point mark all season. New York failed to score an offensive touchdown in their game against the New Orleans Saints, who are 31st in points allowed. No team has fewer rushing yards than the Giants.
Philadelphia's defense might not be as good as it was to start the season, but it’s still among the NFL’s best. The Eagles are eighth in both points and yards allowed, and their front seven might wreak havoc on the Giants’ offensive line.
Rookie Carson Wentz has outplayed Eli Manning in his rookie season, though he’s struggled somewhat recently. The Eagles’ quarterback has just two touchdown passes and two interceptions in his last three games.
The Giants seemingly have the personnel to finally have an offensive outburst, but if it hasn’t happened through the first seven games, it likely won’t come against Philadelphia. Sunday’s contest could fall short of the over/under of 43 with the Eagles pulling out a hard-fought victory.
Prediction: Philadelphia over New York, 20-17