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Fact or Fiction: Predictions for Monday Night Football


1. Saquon Barkley will have more than 100 yards rushing on Monday night.

John Schmeelk: Fiction: For all of the Eagles' issues this season, one consistent strength has been their ability to stop the run. They have a dominant defensive line and often play a single high safety alignment with eight men in the box on early downs. The Eagles are only allowing 91 rushing yards per game (4th best in the NFL) and 3.99 yards per rush (8th best in NFL). While Saquon Barkley looks as healthy he's been since injuring his ankle in Week Three, and Eli Manning's presence might help the running game a bit, I don't think the Giants will be able to ride Barkley to victory on the ground. I like his chances much better as a receiver out of the backfield against the Eagles linebackers.

Lance Medow: Fiction: The Eagles are very strong in defending the run as they're only allowing 91 rushing yards per game (4th NFL). Just two opposing running backs have collected over 100 rushing yards against Philadelphia this season: Dallas' Ezekiel Elliott in Week 7 and Rashaad Penny of the Seahawks in Week 12. Since Saquon Barkley returned from his high ankle sprain in Week 7, he has yet to reach the century mark and although he accomplished that feat in both games against the Eagles last season, it's a new year, so there's no guarantee success from one season carries over to the other.

2. Protecting the quarterback is the Giants' first priority in Philadelphia.

Schmeelk: Fact: This is true, as is Eli Manning getting the ball out quickly. It has to be a combination of the two because at some point the Eagles are going to get into the backfield if Manning holds the ball too long. The Eagles cycle pass rushers throughout the game. Everyone knows about Brandon Graham and Fletcher Cox, but Derek Barnett, Tim Jernigan, Josh Sweat and Vinny Curry are effective pass rushers, too. The Eagles don't use many stunts, so Giants offensive linemen will have to win one on one in space. The Eagles will occasionally blitz safeties and their slot cornerbacks with movement to confuse offensive lines. If Manning does get time to throw it, the Philadelphia secondary is vulnerable.

Medow: Fact: The Eagles are tied for 11th in the NFL with 34 sacks and have recorded nine in the last two games. The strength of Philadelphia's defense is its front four because there's a great deal of depth at that position, and Eagles coordinator Jim Schwartz loves to rotate personnel. That's why that group is effective late in games. Twenty-five of the team's 34 sacks have come courtesy of defensive linemen, and that group has helped cover up some of Philadelphia's issues on the back end. If the Giants can protect Eli Manning and win the battle in the trenches, there could be plays to be made down the field as Ryan Fitzpatrick and the Dolphins demonstrated last Sunday.

3. Sterling Shepard will lead the Giants in receiving yards.

Schmeelk: Fact: I like Shepard to have his best game of the year against the Eagles. Philly's nickel cornerback Avonte Maddox is allowing 65% of the passes thrown in his direction to be completed. Either Shepard or Tate will be in the slot and I like the matchup for both players. Manning also has more experience throwing to Shepard than both Tate and Darius Slayton. Against an excellent pass rush, he will be Manning's safety outlet and get plenty of action.

Medow: Fiction: Sterling Shepard has yet to lead the Giants in receiving yards since he returned from a concussion in Week 12. He had 15 yards against the Bears and 40 against the Packers. I think Golden Tate will lead the Giants. He has been arguably the team's most consistent weapon this season and it doesn't hurt that he's going up against his former team. 

4. The Giants need to sack Carson Wentz at least three times in order to win.

Schmeelk: Fiction: Carson Wentz has been uncharacteristically inaccurate this year. He still makes many of the spectacular off-schedule passes from different arm angles, but he has missed some easy throws that he normally completes. The Eagles sport one of the best offensive lines in football, so even if Wentz does hold the ball, as he is apt to do, it will be difficult for the Giants to get to him. The Giants need to keep the Eagles from completing long passes down the field, something they have struggled with since DeSean Jackson was injured in Week One.

Medow: Fiction: Here's why how many times the Giants sack Carson Wentz won't dictate the chances of the team winning this game. The Giants are just 2-4 this season when it sacks the opposing quarterback at least three times. Based on that record, it's going to take more than sacking Wentz. That doesn't mean the Giants don't need to get pressure on Wentz. It just means they also need to stop the run, prevent explosive plays, protect the ball and finish drives with touchdowns. When all of those things come together, that's when the chances of a win dramatically increase.

Giants vs. Eagles Broadcast Info: TV channel, Radio Station and Live Stream.


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