New York Giants (10-4) at Philadelphia Eagles (5-9), Thursday Dec. 22, 8:30 PM ET
Line: Eagles +2.5
Remember when Philly was looking good and seemed like they might make the playoffs? Remember when Carson Wentz was the next big thing under center? Now they’ve lost five games in a row, and Wentz probably won’t even finish in the top three of the Rookie of the Year voting. The Giants, meanwhile, have basically clinched a playoff spot, thanks in part to their defense really picking up their play. In their last two games, they’ve only given up 13 points total. Sure, the Eagles still rank higher in DVOA than the Giants, but they are clearly trending in two separate directions.
All things considered, it seems pretty clear the Giants are going to win this game, so let’s dedicate the rest of this article to defending Doug Pederson. Pederson and the Eagles found themselves down one point to the Baltimore Ravens at the end of their game Sunday having just scored a touchdown. Instead of kicking the extra point, Pederson decided to go for two. It didn’t work, and Philly lost, and that alone is reason for some to complain about the choice to try for the win.
This is solely a matter of caring about results over process. Philly decided to go for the win, and it was a totally reasonable decision. The Eagles aren’t going to the playoffs. They have no reason to be cautious. There was no guarantee they’d convert the extra point, and even if they did, then they’d have to go into overtime. In the season opener, the Raiders went for two and won, and everybody applauded Jack Del Rio for his gutsiness. He and Pederson did the same thing. The result was just different. Anyway, the Eagles are going to lose.
Prediction: Giants 20, Eagles 10