The New York Giants’ Week 18 matchup with the Philadelphia Eagles is a longstanding NFC East blood feud that goes back decades. However, this year’s Giants-Eagles game is essentially the Giants’ bye week before the playoffs, while the Eagles need the win badly. Sounds like a perfect opportunity to make some bold Giants predictions.
The Giants are back in the playoffs for the first time since 2016 and win, lose, or draw on Sunday, they are locked into the No. 6 seed. That means head coach Brian Daboll needs to make some tough decisions as to how much his starters play and how he balances rest vs. rust in this divisional battle.
On the Eagles’ side, the team is on a two-game skid without Jalen Hurts. And while the No. 1 seed (and a bye) in the NFC is still within their control, they need to win this game to get it. If they can get it with Gardner Minshew at QB, that would be ideal and give Hurts two more weeks of rest. Can they even beat the Giants not trying that hard with Minshew, though?
The Giants’ Week 18 game against the Eagles will be an interesting one, even though it likely won’t tell us as much about the G-Men as the Eagles. With that as the backdrop, ahead of this Giants-Eagles clash, let’s make some bold Giants predictions.
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3. Brian Daboll walks the line between playing and taking the bye week
Brian Daboll has played it coy in the days leading up to the Giants-Eagles game. Reporters have constantly asked about his plans for the team and how the teams he’s worked for in the past have handled meaningless games at the end of seasons.
For his part, Daboll has consistently (though not that clearly) said that every team is different, and his plan is to do what is right for this team at this time as the squad heads into the Giants Week 18 matchup.
That doesn’t tell us a lot, so we’ll have to make some bold Giants predictions about what the team’s lineup and game plan will look like on Sunday.
The Giants had a rough second half of the season, going 3-4-1 since their Week 9 bye. However, they have played well in the last three weeks, winning two and losing to the Minnesota Vikings on a last-second 61-yard field goal. Daboll will want to keep up that momentum, so look formerly all of the Giants starters (except maybe Saquon Barkley) to line up and start the game.
That said, whether the Giants are winning, losing, or tied at the half, Daboll should pull all his main guys out then. It’s a fine line to walk but the best Giants prediction here is that it will be business as usual in the first and a de facto bye in the second to get ready for Wild Card Weekend.
2. The second half is still worth watching
Once Daboll pulls his starters at the half of the Giants Week 18 contest, don’t switch the channel over to the Red Zone or another game. Sure, the players on the field will be unfamiliar to all but the most dialed-in Giants fans, but it will be worth getting to know their names.
This is still an NFC East grudge match, so the Giants backups will play hard for the final 30 minutes. And if it’s Gardner Minshew at QB, the No. 2s will keep the team in the Giants-Eagles game.
For New York fans, it will be fun to see their backups give the Eagles a scare. And the real bold Giants prediction is that one of the players who play here will also come in next week in the Wild Card game and make a play.
1. Giants 22, Eagles 28
The spread in the Giants-Eagles game is a two-touchdown Philadelphia win. However, even with the B-Team playing in the second half, New York won’t go out like that.
All the pressure in the Giants Week 18 matchup is on the other side of the ball, and you’ll be able to feel that throughout the game. Brian Daboll’s side will be free-wheeling and having fun, while the weight of the world will be on Nick Siriani’s squad’s shoulders.
Ultimately, the Eagles will win because they care so much more. But this won’t be the easy Birds blowout that Vegas and many others are predicting. And once the Giants’ backups hang with the Eagles in this game, it will give the team even more confidence and momentum heading into the playoffs.