How amazing have the past two Monday Night Football games been? Just wish I had gotten them right on my picks here. This past Monday, I would have been correct in taking San Diego -2.5 against Pittsburgh had the Chargers been able to hold up Steelers running back Le'Veon Bell just one second longer ... alas Bell scored on a 1-yard run at the gun in an incredibly gutsy call by Pittsburgh coach Mike Tomlin. That turned a Bolts 20-17 win and cover into a 24-20 loss. And of course the week before, the Lions were one yard from a potential winning touchdown in Seattle with under two minutes left only for Kam Chancellor to force Detroit star receiver Calvin Johnson to fumble and introduce America to the "illegal batted ball out of the end zone" rule. Except it wasn't called.
Here's hoping we are in for similar last-minute drama this Monday in an NFC East showdown between the Giants and Eagles in Philadelphia. New York (3-2) could be and perhaps should be 5-0 but has taken charge of the NFC East with three straight wins. The Giants, who haven't won the division since 2011 (their last playoff trip), are now +145 favorites on BetOnline to win it.
Philadelphia could easily be 3-2 and on a three-game winning streak as well, but it lost in the final minute in Washington in Week 5. The Eagles are +175 for the division. I do think it will be one of these teams. Things seem to have calmed down in Philly with Chip Kelly's future, although he already has been tied to the now open USC job. In fact, Bovada has an NCAA special currently up that lists Kelly as the +600 second-favorite with Boise State's Bryan Harsin to be the Trojans' head coach in 2016. I'm not ruling that out. Utah's Kyle Whittingham is the +350 favorite.
Giants at Eagles Betting Story Lines
New York was fortunate to win last week, beating the visiting Niners 30-27 on Sunday night. Eli Manning set a career high with 41 completions in 54 attempts and threw for 441 yards. He hit tight end Larry Donnell on the winning 12-yard TD pass -- stellar catch by Donnell in traffic -- with 21 seconds left. It was Manning's 102nd career win, a Giants record. However, the news was not all good as superstar receiver Odell Beckham Jr. left with a hamstring injury, a similar injury caused him to miss the first four games of his rookie year. Beckham thinks he will play Monday and the Eagles are expecting him to. One of the Eagles' big defensive acquisitions this offseason was former Seahawks cornerback Byron Maxwell, who likely gets the primary duty on Beckham. Last year, Beckham caught seven passes for 108 yards when the Giants played Maxwell and the Seahawks.
Philly had no trouble last week in a 39-17 rout of the visiting Saints. Sam Bradford looked about as comfortable as he has thus far in that offense, throwing for 335 yards and two scores, although he was sacked five times. But easily the big story was the emergence of the Philly running game, which had been terrible. DeMarco Murray had 20 carries for 83 yards (he had only 47 yards entering the game) and a TD while also catching seven balls. Fellow back Ryan Mathews had eight carries for 73 and a score with three catches. Those are the Eagles' two best offensive options. They need to keep getting touches.
The Eagles swept last year -- the Giants haven't done that in this series since 2007. In Week 6 in Philly in 2014, the Eagles rolled to a 27-0 win for their only shutout of the year. In fact, the Eagles hadn't shut out an opponent since a 24-0 win over the Giants on Dec. 1, 1996, at Veterans Stadium. I remember that game for two reasons: Philly wore all black uniforms for the first time in team history (loved them), and the Giants' Victor Cruz blew out his knee (he still hasn't played this year and won't Monday). Manning was awful, going 13-for-23 for 151 yards and getting sacked six times. In the regular-season finale in New Jersey, the Eagles won 34-26 in what was a meaningless game for both. I truly thought that would be Tom Coughlin's final game as Giants coach. Beckham Jr. was a beast in that one with 12 catches for 185 yards and a touchdown. Manning threw for 429 yards.
Giants at Eagles Betting Odds and Trends
At 5Dimes , the Eagles are 4.5-point favorites (-110) with a total of 50. Philly is -220 on the moneyline and New York+180. On the alternate lines, the Eagles are -5 (-105) and -4 (-118). The Giants are 3-2 against the spread this season and 3-2 "over/under." The Eagles are 2-3 ATS and 1-4 O/U.
The Giants are 4-0 ATS in their past four on the road. They are 4-1 ATS in their past five in the division and 1-4 ATS in their past five on Monday. The Eagles are 2-6 ATS in their past eight vs. the NFC. They are 1-7-1 ATS in their past nine at home vs. teams with a winning road record. The over is 5-1 in the Giants' past six vs. the NFC East. It is 5-2 in their last seven on the road. The over is 8-2-1 in Philly's past 11 on Monday. The favorite is 4-1-1 in the past six meetings. The under is 5-0 in the past five at the Eagles.
Monday Night Football Picks: Giants at Eagles Betting Prediction
I'm assuming Beckham plays, but fellow receiver Reuben Randle also suffered a hamstring injury in Week 5 and is iffy. Linebacker Jon Beason suffered a concussion on the first play vs. the Niners and cornerback Prince Amukamara suffered a pectoral injury. They are in doubt. Those are some key guys. The Eagles are pretty healthy. And at home. I'll give the 4.5 and go over.
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Read more articles by Alan Matthews
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