NFL 2019 (Week 14): New York Giants at Philadelphia Eagles

Russell S. Baxter

NFL 2019 (Week 14): New York Giants at Philadelphia Eagles

By Jesse Pierson

Special to Pro Football Guru

In what is likely his final prime time appearance, two-time Super Bowl winner Eli Manning has no hope for a late-season playoff run this year. Instead, he can play the role of spoiler against his longtime rivals, as even at 5-7, Philadelphia is still only a game back of Dallas for the NFC East lead and the home playoff game that comes with winning the division. Manning’s return is due to rookie starter Daniel Jones suffering from an ankle injury, and the Giants have not won a game since Jones’ second start in late September. The Eagles are on a three-game skid and would love nothing more than to right the ship over the last month of the season with four divisional games remaining (after Monday, they play at Washington, host Dallas, and finish at New York). Doug Pederson’s team was 9-7 last season, and they still managed to win a playoff game, so there is no desperation in this group. However, they need to hold on to the ball and play more inspired defense in order to return to the postseason.

Giants: Seeing how this is a “farewell tour” of sorts, Manning will be able to continue his climb up the record boards before the game ends. With nine passing yards and/or two passing touchdowns, Manning will pass 2004 draft classmate Ben Roethlisberger for seventh place all time in each category. Of course, Eli would need about 16,000 yards and 178 touchdowns to pass his older brother Peyton, so Big Ben is probably a more reasonable target on Monday. Darius Slayton, Golden Tate, Sterling Shepard and Saquon Barkley are all around to help him achieve those milestones, and considering that his defense yields over 28 points per game, he will assuredly be passing a lot to keep pace with Philadelphia. Joining Jones on the sideline, though, will be top two tight ends Evan Engram and Rhett Ellison and potentially left tackle Nate Solder, who is listed as questionable. Despite the Eagles’ defensive struggles, they do rank fourth in the league against the run, which means Barkley will presumably find more success as a receiver than as a runner. All of this means that Manning will need to look like his younger self to steal a win one more time.

Eagles: After consecutive tough losses to New England and Seattle, one could have assumed that the Eagles would rebound with a win over atrocious Miami last week. What actually happened was a 37-31 head-scratching defeat in which the highlight was the Dolphins’ punter throwing a touchdown to the kicker. In other words, Philadelphia is unpredictable. They’ve lost to Atlanta and Detroit and beaten Green Bay and Buffalo on the road. Stability will go a long way toward winning the division, but this team lacks two key components that its championship roster had in spades: a relentless pass rush and a complementary running game. No one has rushed for over 100 yards in a game all year, and leading sacker Brandon Graham has only 7.5 to his name, which ranks him 20th in the league. To make matters worse, starting running back Jordan Howard and starting defensive end Derek Barnett are listed as questionable, leaving already vulnerable spots open to more attrition. Can they beat a lackluster Giants team with a shorthanded performance at home? If recent history is any indication, don’t bet your life.

Prediction: Carson Wentz throws a pair of bonehead picks but does enough to win.

Philadelphia Eagles 23, New York Giants 14

Jesse Pierson (@jessetpierson) is a former teacher and high school football coach who has written about the Colts for over a decade. He loves football, dogs, food, and comedy, and you can follow his work on his Facebook page, Jesse Pierson, Mediocre Writer.


NFL 2019