The Giants (3-7) at the Philadelphia Eagles (4-6) at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia on Sunday, Nov. 25, at 1 p.m.
Winter is coming! But not today. And not Sunday. The forecast calls for a high temperature around 50 degrees. And it’ll be mostly sunny because, you know, it’s always sunny in Philadelphia.
WHAT IT MEANS
For everyone who has had a good laugh at the idea that the Giants can run the table in the second half of the season and win the NFC East, that fantasy is going to get a little bit serious if the Giants somehow win this game. After the Cowboys’ win over the Redskins on Thanksgiving, the Giants will only be two games out of first place in the division with a win, with five games to go. That’s a steep, but not impossible climb, especially since they still have to play the Cowboys and Redskins.
Yes, they have to play the Chicago Bears next Sunday, and that’s the real tough one on the schedule. But with a win in Philly, the Bears game will take on a big-game feel that was completely unexpected just a few weeks ago. Of course, if the Giants lose they’ll be three games back and will need a miracle plus some help. That means the countdown to the first Kyle Lauletta sighting will officially be on.
PLAYER TO WATCH: RB Saquon Barkley
He’s coming off his finest game as a pro (142 rushing yards). More importantly, everyone took notice of what he can do for the Giants’ offense. Never mind his dual-threat ability. He wasn’t used much as a receiver last week. But his ability as a running back opened up the play-action passing game for Eli Manning, and it lured extra defenders in on the defense which led to more receivers running free in the secondary.
Barkley, as head coach Pat Shurmur has often noted, is the engine of this offense. And finally he was treated as such, with Shurmur making sure to feed him 27 times. Surely the plan will be to keep it up against a banged-up Eagles defense that is middling against the run. The better (and more) that Barkley runs, the better the Giants’ offense will be. And if the Giants’ offense is on, they have a shot to win.
The Eagles are the only team to really blow out the Giants this season, beating them 34-13 back on Oct. 11. But that game was an outlier for an Eagles offense that hasn’t been particularly explosive this season. It also featured a much different Giants team that’s showed up the last two weeks. Granted, we don’t know yet if the last two weeks are the new reality for the Giants or an anomaly. But if you buy that they’ve suddenly found themselves, then they’re definitely capable of beating the Eagles. Remember, Manning was still struggling back then and so was the offensive line. Both of them have been much better in recent weeks. And as dominant as the Eagles were on the scoreboard, they had no answer for Barkley in that game. He had 130 rushing yards on only 13 carries and 99 yards receiving on nine catches. That was back when Shurmur was abandoning the run far too early, unlike when he allowed Barkley to run 27 times last week.
Assuming he rides Barkley again and the Giants’ quarterback and offensive line don’t regress, they have the firepower to win this game. Two other things to keep in mind: One is that the Eagles had a huge field position advantage in the last game thanks to some big returns that tilted the field. And No. 2 is that this time, the Giants have some momentum while the defending (and hungover) champions are reeling. Philly can be a trouble spot for the Giants, but they’re going to ride their unlikely wave at least one more week. … Giants 27, Eagles 24.
MY RECORD: 5-5
MY RECORD WHEN PICKING GIANTS TO WIN: 0-2
MY RECORD WHEN PICKING GIANTS TO LOSE: 5-3