The Philadelphia Eagles were able to sit back and relax this past weekend as they watched every other NFC playoff team fight to stay alive. In doing so, they perhaps were able to start preparing for their first playoff game on Saturday a little early, as the Giants upset the Vikings in Minnesota on Sunday evening in what turned out to be quite the high octane offensive showing. This was perhaps the best-case realistic scenario for the Eagles. The Seahawks were extreme longshots to win in San Francisco, but a New York upset was something I thought was more than feasible (proof), and in turn the Eagles dodged a Dallas Cowboys team that looked extremely impressive in Tampa Bay on Monday night.
With that being said, this Giants team is not a pushover. Brian Daboll took over a roster that is just – to put it bluntly – not very talented and has guided them to a winning record and a road playoff win. Daniel Jones is no longer turning the ball over, Saquon Barkley looks fresh once again, and the offensive line is no longer a severe liability. They have also received really good production out of nowhere from their street free agent pickup wide receiver in Isaiah Hodgins. Defensively, nose tackle Dexter Lawrence has had a terrific season and was absolutely dominant in Minnesota on Sunday. They also have a pair of young pass-rushers I am a big fan of in Kayvon Thibodeaux and Azeez Ojulari, and additionally talented defensive backs Xavier McKinney and Adoree’ Jackson are healthy again. It is not a deep or loaded roster by any stretch, but they play hard for Daboll and have largely shown they can at least stick with any opponent.
The Eagles appear to be pretty healthy once again, as Jalen Hurts and Josh Sweat are both off of the injury report, and Lane Johnson has appeared unabated in practice. Their only key loss will be slot corner Avonte Maddox. C.J. Gardner-Johnson’s return has helped minimize the loss of Maddox to a degree, though, as Reed Blankenship has played well enough to be counted on at safety so they can slide CGJ down to slot corner in certain packages if need be.
The Giants’ season has been admirable, and they appear to be heading in the right direction for the first time in what feels like an eternity, but the Eagles’ roster is just so much better in terms of both depth and talent. It is honestly not close. The Giants will also be on a shorter week and playing their third straight road game, while the Eagles should be well-rested with one of the strongest home-field advantages in the league, particularly in January. New York will put up a fight, without question, but the Eagles would have to really, really screw up badly to lose this game.
Prediction: Eagles win 27-19, and cover the spread
Photo: Tim Nwachukwu/AFP