The Giants need to remain disciplined through their bye week and continue their momentum into the ending stretch of the season. They have a very real chance of stealing the division from the loose grips of the Philadelphia Eagles. The division is extremely close because no team has been able to find sustained success so far this season. New York is only 1.5 games behind Philadelphia and that gap could close while the Giants recharge on their bye.
The path to the Giants claiming victory in the NFC (L)East comes through the remaining schedule. Of the Giants’ remaining opponents, the Browns, Seahawks, Cardinals, and Cowboys are all mutual remaining opponents of the Eagles. Outside of those games, New York only has to play Cincinatti and Baltimore, while Philadelphia will face Green Bay, New Orleans (likely after Drew Brees returns), and Washington, a significantly more difficult schedule. All the Giants need to do to take over the division is win one more game than the Eagles against their mutual opponents and win one more than the Eagles in the group of non-similar remaining opponents. Given the current momentum, this is a very possible outcome for the remainder of the year.
The Jets will head to Los Angeles to take on the Chargers, led by impressive rookie quarterback Justin Herbert. The Chargers opened as 8.5-point home favorites following a difficult loss to the Miami Dolphins. Los Angeles has hosted a revolving door at running back this season and it appears as though Kalen Ballage will take the lead this week in a revenge game against Adam Gase.
Justin Herbert has put up some big numbers and his defense has also allowed some big performances as well. The Chargers have not been able to put together many complete games. The 46.5 over/under indicates a lack of faith in the Jets' offense to get rolling in this one. The Jets corners, without Pierre Desir, will have their hands full with the Chargers’ receivers who are all impressive athletes with both size and speed. The biggest question will be regarding the health of the Chargers’ star pass-rusher Joey Bosa. If Bosa is able to go, it could be a long day for Joe Flacco.
The Eagles will travel to Cleveland to take on the Browns who are coming off a hard-fought defensive battle with Houston from last week. The Eagles open this week as 3.5-point road underdogs with a 47.5-point over/under. Cleveland has a 6-3 record on the year and is currently sitting 2nd in the highly competitive AFC North behind the undefeated Pittsburgh Steelers despite having a –28 point differential on the season. Baker Mayfield is no longer considered a threat in the NFL, averaging just 182 passing yards per game. Without Odell Beckham Jr. In the lineup, the Browns rely heavily on their dynamic rushing attack to lead the team to victory.
The Browns boast two of the league’s most talented running backs, Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt, who they will use to try to control the clock in this game. Cleveland’s offense is averaging almost six fewer offensive snaps per game and one fewer possession per game than the league average because Chubb and Hunt can keep the offense moving and the clock running to shorten the game. The Browns have only scored 16 total points over their last two games, including a 10-7 win last week against Houston, in part, because there were simply fewer scoring opportunities for both teams.
Carson Wentz and the Eagles will need to take advantage of every possession they get. If they can get an early lead and force the Browns to play catch-up, they can control this game. An early lead may be a lot to ask for a team who hasn’t surpassed 29 points in any game so far this year. If the game remains a low-scoring, clock control game, the advantage will be with Cleveland.