Giants / Cowboys Playoff Preview – Third Time’s a Charm?
by Thomas Quaynor – NFL analyst for Wannamakeabet.com
NFC East rivals meet in the divisional round of the playoffs as the New York Giants face the #1 seed Philadelphia Eagles (14-3) on Saturday. The Eagles are a 7.5-point favorite and the total is 48.5. The Giants advanced to the divisional round after upsetting the Vikings 31-24 last week in Minnesota.
It was the Giants first playoff win in 11 years, when they upset the New England Patriots in Super Bowl 46 (XVLI). The Eagles won both regular season meetings against the Giants, 48-22 at New York in Week 14 and 22-16 in the regular season finale.
WHY THE GIANTS
New York Giants quarterback Daniel Jones made history in last week’s win at Minnesota when he became the first quarterback in NFL history to pass for 300+ yards, rush for 70+ yards and pass for 2+ touchdowns in a playoff game.
Jones is in the final year of his 4-year rookie contract, the Giants decided not to extend him before the season and that decision may come back to haunt the Giants because Jones value has gone up tremendously after his outstanding performance last week in Minnesota. The Giants may have no choice but to sign Jones to a multi-year contract for at least $33 Million Per Year!
Star running back Saquon Barkley finished with 109 total yards and 2 touchdowns, including the tie breaking score that put the Giants up 31-24 with about 8 minutes left in the game. Unheralded wide receiver Isaiah Hodgins finished with 8 catches for 105 yards and a touchdown last week, the Giants actually claimed Hodgins off waivers from Buffalo on November 2nd and he is now playing a pivotal role on this playoff run.
All-Pro defensive tackle Dexter Lawrence did not record a sack last week but his constant pressure on Kirk Cousins may have contributed to Cousins curious decision to throw a 4-yard pass on 4th and 8 in the final minute of the game with the Vikings season on the line.
The Philadelphia Eagles surprised a lot of people this year by going 14-3 and finishing as the top seed in the NFC. Quarterback Jalen Hurts turned in an MVP-caliber performance in his second year as a starter, finishing the year with 3,701 passing yards, 22 touchdowns to 6 interceptions and 3 rushing touchdowns across 15 games.
The Eagles traded a first and a third-round pick for wide receiver AJ Brown during last April’s draft, then signed him to a 4-year, 100-million-dollar extension. Brown rewarded the Eagles with his best season as a pro finishing with 88 catches for 1,496 and 11 touchdowns. Brown’s 1,496 yards broke the franchise record set by Mike Quick (1,409) in 1983. Running back Miles Sanders rushed for 1,269 yards (5th in the NFL) and 11 touchdowns.
The Eagles have one of top defenses in the NFL, they led the NFL with 70 sacks, four players finished with double digit sacks. Leading the charge was linebacker Haason Reddick who finished with 16 sacks and 5 forced fumbles. Defensive ends Josh Sweat and Brandon Graham each had 11 sacks, defensive tackle Javon Hargrave also finished with 11 sacks.
The Eagles have a formidable defensive backfield with safety C.J. Gardner-Johnson (6 interceptions), cornerbacks James Bradberry and Darius Slay. The Eagles added former all-pro veterans defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh and defensive end Robert Quinn during the season which provides depth and experience.
‘Daniel Jones looked elite in Minnesota last week and it’s tough to beat the same team 3 times in a season, but the Eagles have way too much talent for the Giants, lay the 7.5….Eagles 34, Giants 20
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