NFL – Quarterback form will prove key in crucial NFC East match-up

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NFL nut Kyle Brown (@Kyleianbrown) runs the rule over the Thursday night’s NFL clash between Philadelphia Eagles and New York Giants. 

Philadelphia Eagles @ New York Giants | Friday 12th September 2018, 01:20 | Sky Sports

Thursday Night Football sees an NFC East battle between the 1-4 New York Giants and 2-3 Philadelphia Eagles, with both teams needing a win to kick start any sort of play-off push for the season.

Not since 2002 has a Super Bowl winner suffered a losing season directly after. The Eagles definitely have the talent to continue that trend, but a 2-3 start should still be cause for concern.

Carson Wentz proved in the defeat to the Minnesota Vikings that he’s both physically and mentally recovered from his injury nightmare. He went 24 of 35 with two touchdowns, and not only was he able to showcase his arm strength and comfort in the pocket, but he has started to move a lot more frequently and effectively – rushing five times for 26 yards.

Wentz will be up against a strong pass defence (NYG rank 10th), but proved last year that he’s talented enough to make good coverage futile.

Eli Manning has been at the helm of an increasingly irrelevant New York Giants side for 14 years now. The number two pick of the 2018 Draft provided an opportunity to draft a quarterback for the next 14 years – but the Giants front office opted for a running back.

Saquon Barkley’s ability is neither here nor there, I firmly believe the Giants made a mistake passing on a QB in a very talented draft class, and are paying the price this season. Manning has been scrutinised for his failure to connect consistently with Odell Beckham Jr and Sterling Shepard, and another similar performance could see the home crowd grow increasingly volatile towards him.

I can’t stress enough how little I’ve rated Eli Manning these past few years, and it didn’t surprise me to find out that the longest passing play this season was thrown by wide receiver OBJ…not Manning.

Injury wise, the Eagles have lost Jay Ajayi for the season and it’s going to be a tough ask to replace the three-down back. Corey Clement is the likely candidate to step up, but he himself is only just coming back from the sidelines – so the passing game could be all the more pivotal this week until the backfield mess is sorted.

For the Giants, Oliver Vernon could make his 2018 season debut and it couldn’t be coming at a better time – they rank dead last in sacks and 27th in QB hits – but he’s still listed as a limited participant.

Kicker Aldrick Rosas is nursing a quad injury, which could prove to be massive seeing as he’s yet to miss an extra point or field goal through five games this season: a success rate that some teams can only dream about.

The betting angle

I will be surprised by anything less than an Eagles win if I haven’t made that clear already. Wentz has had two consecutive 300+ yard games, and with the season (almost) on the line at this early stage, I think he’ll put in a clutch performance. I

believe the Eagles will show the grit and talent that won them the Super Bowl last season and make easy work of their divisional rivals. If it weren’t for the fact New York do have some great difference makers on offence, I’d take a 10-point handicap in the Eagles’ favour, but for this week I’ll stick around the 5-7 mark. Philadelphia Eagles-6.5 is available at 6/4 (Betfair).

Worth noting that both Eagles win this season have come following a lead at half time, so a strong start should set them up through all four quarters. Eagles/Eagles in the Half-Time/Full-Time market is 13/10 (888).

Wentz’ favourite target has been tight end Zach Ertz, who has been as reliable as he has been dominant, so I would jump at the over/under price on SkyBet which currently sits at 68.5.

To put that number in perspective, he’s exceeded it in all but the first game of the season (when Foles was throwing at him). He should hit it with ease and you can get some specials/request-a-bets on him hitting 100 yards plus – I wouldn’t be too shy about them either.

Best Bets

Philadelphia Eagles @ New York Giants – Philadelphia Eagles -6.5 (6/4 Betfair)

Philadelphia Eagles @ New York Giants – Philadelphia Eagles/ Philadelphia Eagles (13/10 888)

Philadelphia Eagles @ New York Giants – Zach Ertz Over 68.5 Receiving Yards (10/11 SkyBet)

Philadelphia Eagles @ New York Giants – Carson Wentz 300+ passing yards, Zach Ertz 100+ receiving yards (7/1 SkyBet)

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