The Giants are clearly reeling, but I think it would be a mistake to underestimate them heading into the Eagles’ home opener. Eli Manning might be on the decline, but he’s still a capable quarterback and, if the Giants are within striking distance, always a threat to win in the clutch. He didn’t have a completely healthy Odell Beckham Jr. last week, but the electrifying receiver could give cornerbacks Jalen Mills and Rasul Douglas fits. The Eagles defense will have a decided advantage up front, though. Defensive end Vinny Curry should get on the board vs. left tackle Ereck Flowers. On offense, the Eagles will try and get their ground game going against the 28th-ranked run defense. Having a few designed carries for Carson Wentz could open some space for LeGarrette Blount, Darren Sproles and company.
Prediction: Eagles 23, Giants 20.
The hamstrung safeties and the 0-2 desperation level of the Giants are concerns from the Eagles’ standpoint. I think it’s going to be a very close game. The kind that comes down to a field at the end. The Eagles need to stay out of second- and third-and-longs against the Giants defense. If they can’t, they’re going to be in trouble. Because they’re not going to be able to convert them the way they did in Week 1 against the Redskins. Every time I consider the possibility of a Giants win Sunday, I think about their offensive line and the Eagles’ defensive line, and I just don’t think that’s something they’re going to be able to overcome.
Prediction: Eagles 22, Giants 20
Far too many people are going to think something is amiss if the Eagles don’t romp Sunday; way too many conclusions were drawn from the Giants’ Monday night loss to the Lions. I see an Eagles team that is barely able to field a secondary, with offensive-line struggles only slightly less troublesome than the Giants’. Somehow, people have convinced themselves that starting out 0-2 makes the Giants the Browns, or something, despite the fact that they were 11-5 last season. I’ll be surprised if this isn’t a tough game, even with Odell Beckham Jr. limping, even with the possibility that Janoris Jenkins won’t be able to play. This might be the week the Eagles actually try to run the ball.
Prediction: Eagles 17, Giants 13
There’s reason to be concerned about the Eagles secondary this week, but this game will be determined at the line of scrimmage. The Eagles’ defensive line has excelled against two offensive lines that are better than the group that it will face Sunday. That will be the difference. I expect the Giants to focus on a quick passing game to try to keep Eli Manning upright, but the Eagles will play off coverage and tackle what’s in front of them. It will also help that the Eagles are playing at home, where their pass rush was best last season. The crowd should be energized for the home opener. On offense, I wouldn’t expect many fireworks, although they won’t be stymied. The Eagles will show more of a commitment to running the ball. The key will be running late in the game with a lead. I like the Eagles to win, although maybe not against the inflated point spread.
Prediction: Eagles 21, Giants 16