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NFL Handicapper Ben Gretch breaks down New York Giants vs. Philadelphia Eagles on Thursday Night Football

New York Giants vs. Philadelphia Eagles

  • Both the Eagles and Giants defenses rank top 10 in success rate allowed against the run, while the Eagles rank 15th and the Giants 25th in success rate allowed against the pass.

Thursday night brings us a divisional matchup from the worst division in football, one where the 2-4 Cowboys sit alone in first place, which seems almost impossible. One thing about this matchup between the 1-4-1 Eagles and 1-5 Giants is someone will be forced to win their second game. Or I guess maybe they’ll tie, that would be pretty fitting.

Whenever we look at two struggling teams, it’s important to figure out why things haven’t gone according to plan. And looking at the results of these two teams, there are plenty of answers.

Let’s start on the defensive side, where I think the key to this game lies. Both defenses have been fairly solid against the run so far in 2020, but much more beatable through the air. I noted the seasonal success rates above, and if we narrow the sample to just the past four weeks, we see the Eagles have actually been even better against the run, ranking third in success rate allowed, while they still sit 14th against the pass. The Giants have been worse in both areas — they’ve been just 14th against the run of late but 28th against the pass.

With Miles Sanders out in this one and the Eagles likely to lean on the undersized Boston Scott for the majority of the game, one has to expect they’ll attack the Giants’ struggling secondary. Likewise, the Giants continue on without their star back, Saquon Barkley, and there’s little reason to think they’d run Devonta Freeman into that very good Philadelphia front over trying to push the ball down the field against a more beatable pass defense.

Anytime we can expect both offenses to take a more pass-first approach than usual, we have to expect more plays to be run and the potential for more points. There’s a slim chance for some light rain and no wind in the forecast. Things set up nicely there.

Now to be fair, the Giants and Eagles offenses are both in the bottom five in overall success rate for the season, and bottom six in passing success rate. They aren’t good. But they’ve both faced a tough set of opposing defenses.

Philadelphia has been trending positively — they failed to score 20 points in Weeks 1 and 2 against solid defenses in Washington and at home against the Rams, but over the past three weeks have scored 25 points in an upset win at San Francisco, then 29 and 28 while trying to come back in eventual losses at Pittsburgh and at home versus Baltimore. They haven’t played substantially better, but those are tough defenses, and they expect standout offensive lineman Lane Johnson and wide receiver DeSean Jackson back in this one. If Jackson plays, expect him to see some deep shots. (If he doesn’t, those deep shots will still probably happen, but likely to rookie John Hightower.)

Meanwhile, the Giants have had their ugliest offensive games against the Steelers, Bears, 49ers, Rams, and Washington. In Week 5 against Dallas, they lost 37-34, though to be fair Cowboys turnovers really helped the Giants offense in that one. I’m less confident in the Giants offense overall, but I still expect them to be willing to throw and think they can put up some points in this spot.

Honestly, I’m a little shocked with the elevated game totals we’ve been seeing in 2020 that this one is only at 45. I’d probably take the over a few points higher. It’s tough to bank on bad offenses scoring points, but the defenses in this game have both not been good and specifically at defending the pass. Based on early-season matchups, it’s not hard to expect both offenses to both throw more and perform a little better than usual in this matchup. Get on the over.

NFL Expert Picks

Over 45 @ -110

NFL Free Picks

We're onto Week 7 of the NFL season with the Ravens, Dolphins, Colts and Vikings all on bye-weeks. We have some divisional games this week including the Bengals meeting the Browns and Washington facing a depleted Cowboys. The game of the weekend is arguably Titans vs. Steelers, with both teams being hugely impressive. Elsewhere we'll see Jon Gruden face his old team, the Buccaneers on Sunday Night football and the Rams face the Bears in primetime on Monday Night Football.

Our impressive array of handicappers, including Ben Gretch, Davis Mattek, Ben Rolfe, Alex Kirshner, Richard Johnson, Brian Good and Sam Farley, are on hand to give you the best picks. Don't forget to compare odds to ensure you get the most return on your bets too.

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Ben knows his football. A fantasy football expert who was most recently seen at CBS Sports, he'll be helping bettors find value ahead in the NFL with OddsChecker.

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