The No. 1 Eagles take on the No. 6 Giants in the divisional round of the NFL playoffs on Saturday.
Ruben Frank (13-4)
It’s only natural to feel uneasy about this game. We just saw the Giants play their best game of the year on the road against the 13-win Vikings. We just saw their young quarterback turn out to be a masterpiece in his playoff debut. We just watched their rookie coach lead his team to its first playoff victory in a decade. But facing a nearly fully healthy Eagles team, 14-1 under Jaylen Hurts, playing at home and rested after an offseason week, is a whole different story. Against a Vikings No. 31 defense, the Giants scored 31 points. If they get 31 points against the Eagles’ second-ranked defense, they’ll have more power. But I don’t think they can. I hope Jalen Hurts is close to 100 percent, and with Hurts healthy, the Eagles are better than the Giants in every way. Hats off to Daboll and the work he did this year, but it ended at Linc.
Eagles 27, Giants 20
Dave Zanglo (13-4)
The Eagles are better than the Giants. They just are. I know the Giants looked good against the paper tiger Vikings last week, and I believe them. But the Eagles had an even more impressive weekend on their couch. They earned the No. 1 seed, and let’s be real: If they needed to play the Seahawks as the No. 2 seed last week, they’d beat them. Brian Daboll is clearly pointing the Giants in the right direction, but the Giants don’t have the talent to match.
We’ve seen a few different versions of the Giants’ defense this season, but I’m sure the Eagles can dissect any of them. If the Giants want to be more aggressive and pounce on Jalen Hurts, Hurts will beat them with a 1-on-1 mismatch with AJ Brown and DeVonta Smith, and also have the ability to escape pressure. If Wink Martindale wants to do what he did against the Vikings last week, Dallas Goedert will have a huge game like TJ Hockenson did in the wild-card round.
And when the Eagles defended, the Giants were underpowered. Saquon Barkley looks healthy, Daniel Jones is getting better, and they have a good three-man receiver. But the Giants need a perfect game to beat the Eagles. Of course, it is possible. But as long as the Eagles don’t beat themselves, they’ll host the NFC title game next weekend.
Eagles 33, Giants 24
Barrett Brooks (13-4)
Time to stop talking about what the Giants have accomplished this year. I respect head coach Brian Dabor for everything he does to win with the level of talent he has. I’m tired of all the hoopla the Giants get for beating an average Vikings team. Offensively, the Giants have a very good running back in Saquon Barkley. He looks like that explosive rookie guard. Daniel Jones also took over the offense, which means it’s no longer Saquon left Saquon right. Daboll credits Jones’ arm and his ability to open up the passing game. Jones is now starting to use his legs more and crawl. The way I see it, Mike Kafka is telling his QB to pull the ball down and run if the first read isn’t there.
DC Don ‘Wink’ Martindale was born to be The Flash. When I watch Vikings movies, Wink doesn’t blitz as much. Having said that, I don’t see Wink blitzing Jalen Hurts because you have to run man to man. When you play that style, the DBs linebacker turns, which allows Hurts to go for more yards. I also see the Eagles’ run game as a potent weapon against the Giants’ poor run defense.
Eagles 32 Giants 18
Mike Mulhern (14-3)
The Giants will fight, they will give it their all, but they just don’t have enough to beat the Eagles. The national and New York media seemed desperate for any semblance of success from any East Rutherford team, but the 2007 Giants Super Bowl comparisons put the brakes on. It’s like expecting the Eagles to lift the Lombardi Trophy every time a backup quarterback comes on, just because Nick Foles was magical in 2017. However, winning three of their past nine games, including a win over the fraudulent Vikings, now somehow equates to the Giants being “forward.”
Yes, Daniel Jones looked great a week ago, but Minnesota’s defense was one of the worst in the league. He should have diced them. In fact, he just did so in Week 16, albeit with less fanfare. The Eagles’ pass rush is on a different level. They have two elite corners on the rear end. Keep Jones in your pocket and it’s going to be a long day for him.
Brian Daboll built a great culture in New York, and Nick Sirianni did the same in Philadelphia. His Eagles will focus on lasers, starting with Jalen Hurts and his recovering shoulder. After last year’s ugly postseason exit from the Buccaneers, the Birds quarterback dealt with critics. He will show his progress on Saturday. I’m expecting MVP-level performance, which has been the norm for him this season. The Giants could be under a lot of pressure, which should give AJ Brown and Devonta Smith plenty of opportunities. Plus, Dallas Goedert saw how little resistance the Giants had to TJ Hockenson last week and told our John Clark that he’s asking for more games this week as a result. He himself might line up for the big day. The Eagles are one step closer to Arizona.
Eagles 34, Giants 20
Adam Herman (15-2)
If you’ve listened to some football analysts this week, they’ll tell you that the Giants are hitting their stride at the right time, and Daniel Jones has emerged as a solid, fringe elite quarterback.
Let’s be real.
The Giants have won four games since early November. They beat the Texans (3-13-1), they beat the Commanders (8-8-1), they beat the Colts (4-12-1), and last week they beat the best team in the NFL. Fraudulent 13-4 team history.
This is a perfectly acceptable team of good football, a team with a youthful edge and definitely better football than I imagined this season. Kudos to Brian Daboll, Saquon Barkley and Daniel Jones.
But the Eagles beat this team by multiple points this weekend.
1. Giants can’t stop the run. They rank 31st in yards per carry allowed, 27th in total rushing yards allowed and 20th in rushing touchdowns allowed. The Eagles are one of the best rushing teams in the NFL, especially when Jalen Hurts is healthy and can play full games. The last time these two teams met, Bird had 253 rushing yards. I have no reason to expect anything different this time.
2. The Giants can’t stop good tight ends. Players like TJ Hockenson, Dalton Schultz and Evan Engram absolutely abused New York’s defense this year: Hockenson caught 23 passes for 238 yards and two touchdowns in two games. Yes. Dallas Goedert saw just one game against the Giants, in the hamstring version of the Eagles offense, and caught six passes for 46 yards. I hope Goedert is heavily involved in a number of different ways on Saturday – good luck, Goedert will be affected when your deputy fights for his life with AJ Brown and DeVonta Smith.
3. The Giants offense doesn’t scare me. There’s no question Barkley is a dangerous weapon, and Jones has figured out how to stop turning turnovers at a ridiculously high rate. But you’re telling me I’m supposed to sweat Richie James and Darius Slayton when the Eagles have one of the best cornerback duos in the NFL and CJ Gardner-Johnson returns from injury? OK My only concern is that Jones’ legs beat the Eagles time and time again. But if your biggest playoff threat in Linc is a runaway Daniel Jones, I’d take those odds.
You can ask all the questions in the world about injured shoulders, Rian Johnson adductors and bye week rust. The Eagles are a good team. We saw it in Week 14 when the Eagles nearly hung a 50 burger on the G-Men, and we’ll see it again this weekend.
Give me a hot first half and a double-digit winning percentage.
Eagles 34, Giants 23
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