The Philadelphia Eagles and New York Giants were at opposite ends of the spectrum last season – but five weeks into the 2018 campaign, they find themselves in similarly dire situations as they face off Thursday night at MetLife Stadium. The defending Super Bowl-champion Eagles are quickly slipping out of the playoff picture following last week's 23-21 loss to the Minnesota Vikings and are struggling to produce much offense. That's par for the course with the Giants, who have dropped four of five to open the season and are coming off a frustrating 33-31 setback to the Carolina Panthers.
The Eagles were one of the most prolific first-quarter teams in the NFL last season, averaging 6.4 points in the opening 15 minutes – behind only the Los Angeles Rams. Fast forward to 2018, and Philadelphia has managed just seven total first-quarter points through its first five games. Quarterback Carson Wentz has been downright invisible in the first quarter of his first three games, throwing for just 113 yards compared to 345, 258 and 184 yards, respectively, in quarters 2-4. Combine Philly's early-game problems with playing on a short week, and we like the under on their first-quarter total. o
Prediction: Philadelphia Under 3.5 first-quarter points (-138)
Aldrick Rosas has been a busy guy in the first half of games this season. The New York Giants kicker has booted six first-half field goals through the first five games, with all of them coming in three contests; he was shut out in the first half of the other two. The Giants haven't fared all that well in the opening half so far in 2018, recording just three touchdowns. But they've been a lot better lately, averaging 13.3 first-half points over their previous three games. They're moving the ball better but are still settling for field goals – and should continue to do so against a stout Philadelphia defense.
Prediction: New York over 1 first-half field goal (+280)
If the Giants are going to prevail, they'll need to do so though the air. The Eagles have one of the best run defenses in the league so far, limiting opponents to 3.4 yards per carry while surrendering just two touchdowns on the ground. The pass defense, on the other hand, has been downright abysmal. Philadelphia ranks 23rd in passing yards allowed and has surrendered four individual 100-yard performances through five weeks. We see you, Odell Beckham Jr., and like your chances of scoring at least one touchdown against what could be one of the easiest secondaries he'll face all season.
Prediction: Odell Beckham Jr. touchdown (+110)
Thursday night totals betting has been an exercise in frustration, with two of those games winding up under 40 points and the other three producing at least 57 combined points. These two offenses haven't reached their full potential and aren't likely to do so on a short week: The Giants could struggle to run the ball against a menacing Philadelphia defensive front, while the Eagles rank in the middle of the pack in passing and rushing yardage and just lost Jay Ajayi for the year. That all said, this total feels a few points too low. Look for enough offensive improvements on both sides to make the over the preferred play.
Prediction: Over 43.5 (-110)
Oddsmakers have the Eagles as a 5.5-point favorite on a neutral field, which seems rather high given the litany of issues they're dealing with – among them, the loss of their starting running back to a season-ending injury and their inability to do much of anything in the opening quarter. And while the Giants have struggled mightily to open the season, they should be able to sufficiently exploit Philadelphia's pass defense to put points on the board. Meanwhile, the Eagles are the only NFL team yet to score at least 24 points in a game this season. We like the Giants and the points in this one.
Prediction: New York +2.5 (-110)