The NFL season is only just approaching the halfway point and there are already teams that are so beat up that the Injured Reserve list looks longer than the roster list. That might be an exaggeration, but if the current rate of player injuries keeps us like this, it could happen.
NFL Thursday Night Football tonight is featuring two of these teams when the New York Giants and the Philadelphia Eagles go at it in Philadelphia. Both teams are beat up. Both teams are at the bottom of the charts with only one win each for the entire season. The Giants are at 1-4-1 and the Eagles are at 1-5.
The Battle Between Battered Teams
Taking a look at just where those injuries lie, it is easy to see why the Eagles are the favorites in this game at -4.5. The Giants offensive line is missing some key components while the Eagles defensive line is pretty much intact. This game will be won or lost down in the ‘trenches’ at the scrimmage line. Look for linemen on both sides to get pretty dirty, pretty early.
It could be a long night for Giants quarterback Daniel Jones and company. Jones is already missing his first string running back as Saquon Barkley is on the sidelines for at least another week. Wide receiver Sterling Shepard is scheduled to make a comeback tonight after sitting out four games with a toe injury. Shepard will be in the game on a “try it and see” if the pesky toe has healed enough to play football.
The Eagles Need Some Help
All in all, the Eagles have six players who have been ruled out for this week’s Thursday Night Football, they are Miles Sanders, Zack Ertz, Alshon Jeffery, Malik Jackson, Jack Driscoll and K’Von Wallace. With Miles Sanders out of action, the running back load is expected to be split between Boston Scott and Cory Clement.
Ertz being on IR leaves the Eagles short at tight end with only Richard Rogers and Hakeem Butler available on the roster. Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz may have to take some chances with some relatively untried receives against the Giants. Philadelphia has even gone so far as to call up Jason Groom from the practice squad for tonight’s matchup with the Eagles.
On the bright side for the Eagles, DeSean Jackson, Lane Johnson, Avonte Maddox, Duke Riley and Marcus are all coming off the IR and deemed ready to play even though they are listed on this week’s injury report, but without status.
Their return to the playing field will mean some shifting around for the players who have been taking their places so Eagles head coach Doug Pederson will have to keep a close eye on that situation. Cleared to play and having the stamina to play a full four quarters of an NFL game are not the same.
The Lines Are Shifting
Philadelphia has dropped from being 6-point favorites down to 4, while the Over/Under has also taken a dip from 45.5 points at opening, down to 43 points and counting. If the Eagles had a full complement of the players on their roster, the spread would be much higher.
The Eagles are only 2-4 ATS (against the spread) so far this season, including being 1-2 at home and 1-1 in the NFC East. The Giants are just a little better, being an even 3-3 against the spread and 3-0 on the road. New York is also just 1-1 in divisional games in the NFC East.
The good news is that we do have Thursday Night NFL this week to fill nicely the gap in World Series play. Perhaps not the two best teams in the league, but you never know, sometimes the worst teams give the best football.