By David McDonnell
I’ll keep this preview short and get straight into it.
The best of the action in this game will be between the Giants defensive front against the Eagles O-Line and whoever wins this contest over the 60 minutes will be in the NFC Championship game next week.
That’s how I see it and for me, it’s advantage Philly.
Throughout the season, the Eagles offensive line have bullied most of the teams they have come up against. It has been the bedrock of their success and they have found it relatively easy to clock up yardage on the ground all season. Routinely they have taken a lead in the opening half and closed it out in the second half of matches.
At the end of the season we had right-tackle Lane Johnson, guard Landon Dickerson and centre Jason Kelce picked on our All-Pro team.
This dominant line has helped the run game and given quarterback Jalen Hurts the time and space to dictate the Eagles offence and also opened up play-action to hit deep shots down the field. That Hurts is very dangerous with ball in hand adds another layer to what has become a very difficult team to play against as they can change how they decide to attack based on their opposition.
The strength of the Giants defence is their D-line, led by Dexter Lawrence and assisted in the middle by Leonard Williams and Jihad Ward. Although Lane Johnson is named to start for the Eagles, he will not be operating at 100% by any means and it will be interesting if the Giants can get some change out of impressive rookie Kayvon Thibodeaux attacking from the left side.
Another interesting thing to watch out for is how healthy Hurts looks at QB as two weeks ago against the same opposition, it was clear he was minding an injured shoulder and only ran for 13 yards. If Hurts is not operating at 100% either, then the Eagles could be vulnerable to an upset.
I know I am projecting here but I can’t see this Giants team, even coming off their best performance of the season in last week’s win against the Vikings in Minnesota, stopping this Eagles side.
Last week was in my opinion Daniel Jones’ best game of his career for the New York franchise and this will certainly give them hope, but my gut feeling is their limited receiving core led by Darius Slayton and Isaiah Hodgins will find themselves outmatched by cornerbacks Darius Slay and James Bradberry. On the contrary, I expect the Eagles pair of AJ Brown and Devonta Smith will expose the Giants defensive backs.
So much of the Giants success this season has come from the rushing talents of Sequon Barkley but tonight I believe it is more likely in my opinion that the Eagles defence will wear down the Giants rushing attack rather than the other way around.
The Eagles have a terrific rotating cast on their defensive line with starters Fletcher Cox, Javon Hargrave and Josh Sweat, backed up with the talents of rookie behemoth Jordan Davis and veterans Ndamukong Suh, Linval Joseph and Robert Quinn.
I’ll put my hands up, I can’t see the Giants beating the Eagles tonight. I haven’t seen many teams being able to compete upfront with that Eagles O-line yet this season and I suspect only the 49ers have the capability to overpower them consistently for four quarters in the NFC side of the draw.
I have been wrong many times before but I don’t believe I’ll be wrong tonight.
Eagles to win.