As a disappointing season for the Philadelphia Eagles comes to a close, they will try to play spoiler against the New York Giants, who are on the precipice of a playoff berth.
The seasons for the Philadelphia Eagles and New York Giants could not be more different. The Giants are one win away from clinching a spot in the postseason, while the Eagles have lost nine of eleven.
Below, I give the keys to this divisional battle in my Week 16 preview.
Eli Manning vs. Eagles’ Secondary
In their first matchup, Eli Manning torched the Eagles’ defensive backs, throwing for four touchdowns, albeit with two interceptions. The 28 points scored in the Week 9 contest were the most the Giants have scored all season. I’m expecting Manning to do just enough to win, as has been the case for most of the year.
Guard Justin Pugh told Howie Kussoy of The New York Post, “We have to play a complete game of football. We have yet to do that.”
Paul Perkins – Starting RB?
It feels like every other week I’m writing about Paul Perkins giving the offense a spark in the running game. He did just that against Detroit on Sunday, averaging over five yards per carry. I agree with my fellow GMEN HQ writer Curt Macysyn that it’s finally time we see what Perkins can do with 18-to-20 carries.
As the starter, Rashad Jennings has been the definition of average, often too indecisive behind a subpar offensive line, while blocking admirably in the passing game. After Shane Vereen re-injured his triceps, the Giants have nothing to lose by turning to Perkins as their every down back.
Eagles Offensive Line
The Eagles boast one of the best offensive lines in the NFC, anchored by Jason Peters and Jason Kelce. Lane Johnson returns this week from a suspension that cost him a significant chunk of the season.
ESPN’s Jordan Raanan points out that Philadelphia is actually 3-1 with Johnson in the starting lineup. Jason Pierre-Paul remains out with a sports hernia, meaning Kerry Wynn and Owa Odighizuwa will need to step up against Johnson after they were basically invisible against Detroit.
Prediction: The short week will not provide rookie quarterback Wentz with enough time to prepare and his inexperience will show. The Giants will clinch their first playoff birth since 2011.
Giants 24, Eagles 16.