(4-3) vs Eagles (4-3)
The Eagles were not
able to close the gap with the Cowboys last Sunday night. It was a matchup of
two quarterback rookie starters trying to lead their team to victory. Carson Wentz
was selected by the Eagles as the number 2 overall pick in the draft, and Dak
Prescott was a fourth-round selection. Prescott's team came out ahead, as the
Cowboys beat the Eagles 29-23.
The Giants are coming off a bye week after winning
their game in London 17-10 over the Rams. It was a good time for a break, as the
Giants were able to size up their next opponent and reflect on all the things
that need fixing. They didn't tip their hand too much this week about what changes
could be expected, so we'll have to wait and see.
Giants - Rams
Chip Kelly took the Eagles to a 10-6
record and a division title in his first year as head coach. The Eagles also finished
10-6 with him in 2014, but they were second to the 12-4 Cowboys and missed the
playoffs. Kelly asked for more control in 2015 and ownership allowed him to make
personnel decisions. It
was fantasy football time played out for real as the Eagles starting quarterback,
running back, top receiver, and two starting corners were gone.
not go well, and with the team at 6-9, ownership made their own change. One game
short of the full season, offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur was named the interim
head coach. Kelly's record overall against the Giants was 4-1, and Shurmur coached
the team to another win over the Giants in that last season game.
us to Doug Pederson, a backup quarterback for a number of teams, Eagles included,
before becoming a quality control coach, and then quarterbacks coach for the Eagles
under Andy Reid. When Reid moved off to Kansas City, Pederson became his offensive
coordinator there. Three years later, and with loads of experience on the offensive
side of the ball, Pederson become the head coach of the Eagles. Pederson's brought
on Jim Schwartz, a former defensive coordinator for the Titans and Bills and head
coach for Detroit, to manage the defense.
Sam Bradford felt about as good as Kerry Collins did back in 2004, when the Giants
did all that they could to get Eli Manning on their team. The Eagles moved up
in the draft to get the number two overall selection, Carson Wentz. Collins and
Bradford both had their wishes fulfilled, and were traded to other teams. Manning
sat and learned before starting in his first game, but Wentz was on the field
from day one and he's done well. The Eagles haven’t won a playoff game since Donovan
McNabb was their quarterback, and have seen Michael Vick, Kevin Kolb, Nick Foles,
Mark Sanchez and Sam Bradford come and go, and they now have high hopes with Wentz.
the Eagles have failed to do, is provide him with some better targets. Last year
Sam Bradford had the highest percentage of dropped passes in the NFL. On Sunday
night in Dallas, Wentz threw the ball 43 times for 32 completions. It would have
been 37, as at least 5 of the incompletions were drops by his receivers. That
could have made all the difference in a game that was tied and went into overtime.
Jordan Matthews, last year's top receiver, was thrown to and caught more passes
(11-15) in that game than any other. Tight end Zach Ertz was second last year,
but since returning from his rib injury, over the last four games has caught just
9 out of 13 passes. They have not been a big play offense all year, and rank near
the bottom in passing yards and third-down effectiveness.
Ryan Mathews is
the leading rusher, but his average per carry is at a career low (3.8 avg). They
had him run the ball just 4 times for 10 yards last week, while Darren Sproles
saw more action at that spot, rushing 15 times for 86 yards (5.7 avg.). Sproles
also had 5 catches for 17 yards, and could be on the field more now that they
released wide receiver Josh Huff, following some legal charges he encountered
while driving in New Jersey.
the defensive coordinator for the Bills for just one year in 2014, Jim Schwartz
led his defense to the number four spot in both points and total yards allowed.
The Bills also led the league in sacks. The following year when Rex Ryan took
over as the head coach he brought in his own staff, and Schwartz took a consulting
position with the NFL. Schwartz's biggest improvements in his tenure with the
Bills were in the areas of rushing defense and points allowed.
defense needed more improvement than the Bills, and he's done that as well. The
Eagles currently rank 4th by allowing less than 17 points a game, and they are
5th in defending against passing yardage. Schwartz has them tied for third in
the NFL with 22 sacks. He rotates his up front players in and out of the game
to keep them fresh. Fletcher Cox is part of that rotation, and tied for the team
lead with four sacks, and Brandon Graham is another with four. Both are also strong
run stoppers. Schwartz has called for the blitz a lot more than usual in the last
two weeks, but that can be costly against Eli Manning with his group of receivers.
Eli Manning and his offensive line
will be up against a strong defense that likes to get at quarterbacks. Manning
hasn't taken many sacks, just 10 so far, with the help of his quick release and
elusiveness, but he's been pressured heavily this season and looks uncomfortable
in the pocket. Manning excels at looking over the defensive alignments, and that
keeps him out of plays that are doomed from the start.
The problem this week will be right tackle Bobby Hart and right guard John Jerry
dealing with linemen Brandon Graham and Fletcher Cox.
If the Giants could
run the ball it would certainly help. The Eagles have struggled more with teams
that have been able to establish a running game. Fifth-round pick Paul Perkins
might get more work this game as the Giants try to improve in that area. Fortunately
the Giants have won two games this year when they had less than 40 yards rushing.
It's nice that that happened, but it's no formula for success.
Beckham Jr. says his injured hip is feeling better with the extra time they have
had off. Victor Cruz would love to have a breakout game against the Eagles to
close the book on the devastating injury he suffered playing against them in Philly
two years ago. The Giants haven't been able to use rookie Sterling Shepard as
well as they did at the start of the season. If the Eagles get too eager with
their safety or cornerback blitzing, Manning and Shepard will make them pay.
The defense was lucky to hit the
Cowboys in game one before Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott had ever played a
regular season game in the NFL. They beat the Cowboys, and no other team has done
so since. The Giants lost a winnable game to the Redskins, and now there's another
division game on Sunday. They are lucky once again as they are playing at home,
and have had a bye week to prepare for the Eagles. The Giants don't have many
sacks, just nine which has them next to last in the NFL, but they have been pressuring
There's been a lot of good things said about rookie quarterback
Carson Wentz, but they haven't really asked him to do what quarterbacks do on
a consistent basis, and that is take shots downfield. Just this week after the
loss to Dallas, head coach Doug Pederson said as much. Wentz's passing average
is less than 7 yards a completion, and was less than 5 yards over the past two
games. Is it wise for the rookie to open up in this game against the Giants secondary?
So far the Giants have only allowed more than
300 net passing yards once, and they have faced Aaron Rodgers, Joe Flacco, and
Drew Brees who were all held under. Safety Landon Collins has been doing it all
this season. He's leading the team in tackles with 57 and in sacks with 2, and
he's tied for the lead with his 2 interceptions. The one thing the Giants must
do is keep an eye on Darren Sproles who makes yardage happen whenever he gets
his hands on the ball.
we stated, the Giants are playing at MetLife Stadium, coming off a bye week, and
facing a quarterback in Carson Wentz who will start in just his eighth NFL game.
Ben McAdoo will likely continue to call the plays and he's had an extra week to
do homework. The Giants players are coming off a good team bonding experience
with their winning effort in London and are well rested. The Eagles are coming
off a tough "Sunday Night Football" overtime division loss and are the
visiting team. They've also seen one of their fellow players cut from the team.
The Giants have a lot going in their favor this week, so I'd expect them to come
out ahead in this game.
Sunday at 1:00pm Eagles (4-3)
at Giants (4-3)
Sunday at 1:00pm Cowboys
(6-1) at Browns (0-8)
The Giants and Cowboys are favored to win in these games.
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have played in seven games this season, six have been decided by a touchdown or
Giants Eli Manning has been sacked
more by the Eagles (52) than any other opponent in his career.
Landon Collins, Janoris Jenkins, and Domonique Rodgers-Cromartie all have two
Eagles are 4-1 against
the Giants playing in MetLife Stadium.
offense has gained less than 300 yards for three straight weeks for the first
time since 2003.
Eagles are 4-0 when
allowing 14 or fewer points and 0-3 when giving up more.
Darren Sproles last week ran for 86 yards on 15 carries, his most carries since
2009 and most rushing yards since 2011.Eagles
Ryan Mathews has 4 rushing touchdowns and is the only NFL running back with two
fourth-quarter fumbles this year.
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