There is so much going on in the NFL right now. There was a massive changing of the guard in both the AFC and the NFC.
There are a few really important games coming up in Week 14, like the Seattle Seahawks at Los Angeles Rams, The Kansas City Chiefs at New England Patriots, Baltimore Ravens at Buffalo Bills, and of course the San Francisco 49ers at New Orleans Saints. But there are also a couple of games that are flying under the national radar … of course, they mean a lot to their local markets, but they aren’t getting pumped up with highlight reels on national media coverage.
Let’s have a look at a couple of these forgotten matchups and come up with predictions for them.
New York Giants @ Philadelphia Eagles
The Philadelphia Eagles are hosting the New York Giants as 8.5-point favorites on the match's odds. This game is actually important to the playoff outlook in the NFC because the Dallas Cowboys have lost two straight and are somehow leading the NFC East as a 6-6 team. The Philly Eagles are 5-7 and can creep closer, especially if the Cowboys take a loss over in Chicago on TNF. The issue with this game is there is just no pizzaz … no ‘yay’ or ‘wow’ factor to it – if you are not a Philly or Giants fan. Which is crazy for a MNF game.
Still, the Eagles are at home and this one is important so, the 8.5 points set as a point spread makes sense … that said, it’s still quite a bit for two teams that have struggled to score as of late. The Eagles have dropped three straight games, and though they managed to put up 31 points against one of the worst defenses in the league in their loss to one of the worst teams in the league, the two games before that they only totaled 19 points combining the two.
The Giants put up 27 against the Jets, but in their other three most recent games, they only managed 13, 14, and 18 points. Both teams have a laundry list of injuries, and the Eagles are missing both Darren Sproles and Jordan Howard – though he may play on Monday. These issues make me thinking that scoring is going to be a problem for both sides, not just the Giants. That said, the Giants do have the No. 31 scoring road defense in the NFL – wow … that SBTF status– allowing 30.83 points per game when they hit the highway. But it may not be too bad. The Eagles only average 21.33 points per game at Lincoln Financial Field. So it isn’t like the Giants are defending against the most prolific offense out there. The one thing the Eagles do have going for them is pretty decent home defense. One that allows the visiting squads to score just 18 points per game. Which should fall right in line with the NY Giants road offense numbers. They put up 21.67 in this situation, but I imagine the No. 7 home defense in the league will stunt that a bit.
I think this one ends up in the high teens for the Giants and the low middle twenties for the Eagles, ex. 24. So I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Giants cover the Number here, especially if it keeps moving in favor of the Eagles.
Carolina Panthers @ Atlanta Falcons
This is a game that really has no bearing on anything at all … other than one team or the other trying to climb their way on the backs of the other to a .500 season or better. The Saints are a lock to win the NFC South and their big game against the Niners is significant because if they lose, it could mean them giving up a chance at the No. 1 seed. There is none of that going on for the Panthers and Falcons. This game is pretty much worthless … it’s just going through the motions of finishing out a failed season for both teams. You actually have to wonder if they both try to lose from here on out since there is basically zero chance of a playoff berth for either.
The Panthers were on track to a wild card berth, but they’ve dropped four straight. The Falcons are maybe the most disappointing team right out of the gates this season, just playing poor ball all season when there were high hopes over the offseason. But the Falcons, who have lost two straight are three-point favorites over the Panthers … perhaps because they are at home and because a few weeks ago, they smoked Carolina like a brisket, 29-3.
Three points in Atlanta? I’ll take that.