According to the standings, the Giants and Eagles will be playing for 1st place in the NFC East on Sunday night. Whether or not that actually means anything in the big picture is up for debate. I’m sure you could find plenty of people who would claim the winner of this game (even at 7-3) isn’t much of a post-season threat. Much like the Chicago Bears, who also have a chance to get to 7-3 Thursday night, there has to be some kind of wait and see approach taken with these teams.
Last week it was New York who was riding pretty high. They were 6-2 and were getting ready to host a Dallas team in total chaos. Guess that was just a ruse by America’s Team. They looked perfectly sharp in a blowout win, and the Giants’ stock as an NFC contender fell through the floor. The Eagles are back up (again). A few weeks back they beat the Falcons (this week’s NFC flavor of the week), and everyone got excited until Ellis Hobbes vs. Kenny Britt turned into one of the great mismatches of the forward pass era. The Eagles were smoked by a team that looks like a middle of the road AFC opponent. But, one Monday Night game and a Mike Vick fantasy explosion was all it took for the Eagles to pop back onto the scene. We’re hearing Andy Reid for coach of the year talk. Um, what?
The point I’m trying to make here is that both these teams have been all over the map in 2010. I’d say the Eagles have far more to be confident about right now. You could make the argument that the Giants really don’t have a quality win. Their best win (vs. Chicago) was against another team most people think is a fraud. They’re also coming off a terrible loss at home, and at first glance you don’t really see a way they are going to be able to contain Michael Vick. The Eagles’ confidence should be at an all-time high. They’ve gotten better play out of the offensive line (thanks in part to Vick’s skills), the defensive backfield has looked slightly less vulnerable, and the offense as a whole is clicking beautifully.
Confidence, hot streaks, any type of trend hasn’t held any water in the NFL this year, though. Saying a team will do something based on what they’ve done the week before almost makes you sound like an idiot. Each game is such a separate entity, and because of that it will be hard to predict an outcome on Sunday, but I feel pretty comfortable in predicting that the game will be wild.
It just has that feel for me. According to the analysis of our Giants’ experts, it sounds like Eli will be running for his life in this one, yet again. Michael Vick just runs around for the hell of it. I’m seeing sacks. I’m seeing turnovers. I’m seeing two sets of receivers that probably have significant advantages on the people trying to cover them. We’ve got Andy Reid in full arrogance mode, which means gadget/idiotic plays that usually have an impact one way or another. I’m not expecting textbook football, but I really think this could end up being one of the more exciting games of the year.
The Eagles are sitting at 3.5 point favorites, which is about what you’d expect. If I saw a bigger line than that, I’d be excited if I was an Eagles fan, because I’d be thinking blowout. But, this is just a line where two teams are fairly evenly matched and one gets the nod for being at home, and maybe a bonus 1/2 point for the Redskins blowout. In related news, the over/under is sitting at 49, which is the 2nd highest number on the board and a sign that maybe Vegas agrees with me that things could get a little weird.