|Written by Michael|
Bet on the NFL This Sunday is a true battle for the NFC East as the first plae Philadelphia Eagles try to hold on to their title when they travel to New York to take on the Giants who are currently second in the NFC East. Both teams hold on to a 9-4-0 record going into this weekend’s matchup. Sportsbook lists the Giants as the minus 3 point home favorites this Sunday, with the total over under at 37.5. And at the heart of the matter, pure divisional rivals who do not particularly care for one another. All are in play as the Philadelphia Eagles travel to the Meadowlands to battle the New York Giants in the WhatIfSports.com NFL betting Game of the Week.
Aside from the Patriots, the Eagles are the hottest team in football. Although 9-4, Philadelphia has just one loss when quarterback Michael Vick is behind center from start-to-finish. With a NFC-best QB Rating of 104.3 and 24 total touchdowns Vick has seemingly incorporated the cerebral and planning aspects of the position with the athletic prowess that made the former Hokie the #1 pick in the 2001 Draft. And despite taking nine years to finally come to fruition, this enlightenment by Vick has made the Eagles a team no one wants to face in the playoffs.
Assisting Vick in this endeavor have been DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin, who have combined for 99 receptions for 1,803 yards and 14 touchdowns. The explosiveness of Jackson (23.1 yards per catch) and sure-handedness of Maclin (57 catches and eight touchdowns) has vaulted the duo into the upper echelon of receiving combos in the NFL. But the most vital cog in the Eagle aerial attack lies in the backfield, where LeSean McCoy has garnered 70 balls for 538 yards and two scores. McCoy is rarely the intended target of a play, but his propensity for "making something out of nothing" has transformed the running back into Vick's security blanket in the passing game.
But Vick and company are not the sole reason for success. The Philadelphia secondary is one of the most opportunistic in football with a league-leading 22 interceptions, correlating to a +15 TO margin (2nd in the NFL). The defensive discipline has been outstanding as well, registering a meager 72 penalties on the season. This trinity has helped offset the relatively high mark of 23.7 points per game surrendered by the Eagles.
Philadelphia is not alone in their defensive conquests.
New York is stifling opponents to a NFC-low 281.1 yards a ballgame, leading the NFL in defensive fumbles caused and recoveries (34/17), and are wreaking havoc on rival signal callers to the tune of a 73.1 QB rating (3rd lowest in the NFL). If further evidence is needed of the G-Men's stoutness, New York is conceding just 19.2 points per game.
Unfortunately for the Giants, their defensive dexterity is a necessity rather than an indulgence. Although New York is lighting up the scoreboard with an average of 25.3 points, "efficient" is hardly an apt description for Eli Manning and the offense. Manning currently owns the dubious honor of leading the league in picks with 19, and Ahmad Bradshaw's six fumbles are tied for worst among running backs. Worse, the receiving corps has been depleted thanks to injuries suffered by Steve Smith, Hakeem Nicks and Mario Manningham. If the Giants intend on embarking on a playoff run, Eli and company need to complete the arduous task of simultaneously becoming more protective of the ball while returning to full health.