GIANTS (10-4) AT EAGLES (5-9), 8:25 p.m.
TV: Ch. 4, NFL; Radio: WFAN (660, 101.9)
Giants by 2.5; O/U: 41.5
The Giants-Eagles rivalry has produced plenty of memorable moments:
“The Miracle in the Meadowlands,” starring Herm Edwards and his fumble recovery for a touchdown, tops the list, followed by DeSean Jackson’s punt return for a TD and Victor Cruz’s first salsa dance after catching his first two career TDs.
Giants-Eagles also brings to mind a memorable scene from the movie, “Silver Linings Playbook,” in which Robert De Niro gets schooled by Jennifer Lawrence on superstition after he blames her for his beloved Eagles losing to the hated Giants.
For Philadelphia and its fans, Thursday night’s game is about just that: silver linings.
After a promising 3-0 start in which Carson Wentz was more popular than Santa Claus (oh, wait, Eagles fans don’t like him), Philadelphia has gone 2-9. Riding a five-game losing streak, the last thing the Eagles want is the Giants to clinch a playoff berth on their home field. Making Big Blue have to wait to clinch is the Eagles’ silver lining, but here’s the thing: The Giants are the much better team, and with a “win and in” scenario there for the taking, expect them to snatch it up.
It won’t be easy. Division rivalry games, for the most part, aren’t. The Giants’ defense, which has driven the team’s playoff push and been one of the best in the NFL, will again star. Like Lawrence, the defense has been putting on an Oscar-worthy performance. The Giants allow an average of 17.9 points per game, the third fewest in the NFL, and are coming off home wins in which they held the Cowboys and Lions to seven and six points, respectively.
The Giants beat the Eagles, 28-23, in Week 9, a game in which they led 14-0 after just five-plus minutes and 21-10 at halftime. Eli Manning threw four touchdown passes, resulting in the Giants’ highest-scoring game of the season. This one won’t be as high scoring, but Odell Beckham Jr. is always a play away from breaking a short slant for a long touchdown. Don’t forget about Cruz, either. The forgotten man hasn’t been the same player since suffering that knee injury two seasons ago in Philadelphia, but wouldn’t it be something if he found the end zone in this one?
The Eagles had the Giants’ number of late, winning four in a row and five of six before this season. With so much on the line, expect Big Blue to complete the season sweep and punch its ticket to the playoffs. The Giants will stick to the script, winning with lots of defense and a few big plays in the passing game. Call it Giants 24, Eagles 16. As for Philly, there still will be a silver lining: At least the team doesn’t have to play Christmas weekend.
The pick: Giants
Bob Glauber: Giants
Tom Rock: Giants
Kimberley A. Martin: Giants