Friday, July 31, 2015

Eagles-Giants: Predictions and key matchups

Here are our weekly selections and key matchups for the Eagles game. The Birds visit the New York Giants in the Sunday night game (8:20, NBC10).

Eagles-Giants: Predictions and key matchups

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Can Jason Peters stop Osi Umenyiora? (Evan Vucci/AP Photo)
Can Jason Peters stop Osi Umenyiora? (Evan Vucci/AP Photo)

Here are our weekly selections and key matchups for the Eagles game. The Birds visit the New York Giants in the Sunday night game (8:20, NBC10).

LES BOWEN

One team has made a habit of coming from behind in the fourth quarter to win. The other team has made a habit of blowing fourth-quarter leads into losses. Hmm. Which one to pick? Quite the quandary. I'll take, oh, I don't know, the Giants.

Can the Eagles win? Sure, they always CAN. But somehow they don't. Vince Young vs. Eli Manning? Have to take Eli there. If it ends up being Michael Vick with broken ribs for the Eagles, I'll still take Eli.

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Of course, the Eagles seem to get sprinkled with fairy dust (along with various other carcinogens) every time they bus up the turnpike, so we'll pause here to note the Giants' linebacking situation is messed up, and that they don't run the ball real well, especially if Ahmad Bradshaw (foot) is out. Still, the Eagles just lost at home to the Cardinals. With a fourth-quarter lead. They'll need more than fairy dust.

Prediction: Giants, 30-23.

VEGAS VIC

GIANTS (-4) over Eagles: Double V was looking for a big bounce from the Birds last week, but instead, it was a big hurt, times two. My bank account took it on the chin, and Michael Vick took it in the ribs. The New Yorkers knocked Vick out in the first meeting (broken right hand) at the Linc en route to a 29-16 win, and you can bet that the Giants "D" will show no mercy this time around. And with Vince Young starting, it might not be pretty. The spread is sitting at minus-4 (or minus-3 if you shop around), but if they decide to hold Vick out, the line could jump to minus-5 or minus-6. Too many questions, not enough answers, so I'll keep it light. Prediction: Giants, 24-15

Other predictions:

Ed Barkowitz: Giants, 28-13

Bill Conlin: Giants, 27-13

Marcus Hayes: Giants, 31-14

John Smallwood: Giants, 24-17

KEY MATCHUPS

1. Eagles LT Jason Peters vs. Giants RDE Osi Umenyiora: Umenyiora has seven sacks, but Peters has been All-Pro dominant in both the run and pass game. Advantage: Eagles

2. Eagles TE Brent Celek vs. Giants LB Greg Jones: Celek has 22 catches in the last four games. Jones is a rookie who can be exploited. Advantage: Eagles

3. Eagles CB Joselio Hanson vs. Giants WR Victor Cruz: Cruz, the Giants' slot receiver, has emerged as one of Eli Manning's go-to guys. Hanson will replace injured Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie as the nickel corner. Advantage: Even

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