Team Giants


Giants - Eagles
Game 15 preview
Thursday Dec 22, 8:25 PM - Giants at Eagles

Giants (10-4) vs Eagles (5-9)
Last week the Eagles lost a close one to the Baltimore Ravens when they decided to go for a two point conversion on the last play of the game. They could have tied the game kicking an extra point, but when the conversion failed, they lost 27-26.
The Giants continued on their quest to the playoffs, by keeping Detroit out of the end zone. The Lions managed just two field goals, while the Giants came up with a field goal and two touchdowns to take the win 17-6.
Giants - Lions Wrap-Up

Philadelphia Eagles
Doug Pederson was a backup quarterback for a number of teams, including the Eagles, before becoming their head coach for the 2016 season. Pederson's brought on Jim Schwartz, a former defensive coordinator for the Titans and Bills and head coach for Detroit, to manage the defense. They won all four preseason games, and got off to a fast start, winning the first three games of the season. They have gone 2-9 since then, and including losing to every team in the division. The Giants won in their first matchup 28-23 and the Eagles will finish out the season playing at home on Thursday with the Giants before facing the Cowboys.

Philadelphia Eagles Offense
Carson Wentz hit the ground running from opening day. When the Eagles traded Sam Bradford, Wentz became the man. In the first five games Wentz threw 7 touchdown passes and had just one interception. Now after nine games he sits at 13 touchdowns and 13 interceptions. Offensive line problems have not helped the rookie quarterback, and that was evidenced last Sunday when rookie right tackle Isaac Seumalo let down and Wentz had to scramble around. To be fair, Seumalo doesn't usually play in that position and four others have subbed there as well, which gets us to the next point.
For this game the Eagles have welcomed back Lane Johnson, announced to be the starter at right tackle. Johnson was on a 10 game suspension for violating the NFL's performance-enhancing drugs policy for a second time. Doug Pederson admitted that he has no idea what condition Johnson is in, but he needs his starter back on the field. Johnson will have only a few days to prepare after his long layoff.
What the Eagles did do well in their game with the Ravens is run the ball. Wentz was never comfortable and he completed just over half his passes, had one interception and no touchdowns. Meanwhile Ryan Mathews picked up 128 rushing yards, averaging 6.4 a carry against a team that's hard to rush against. They'll also have their second leading rusher back. Darren Sproles was cleared for this game after undergoing concussion protocol.

Philadelphia Eagles Defense
They have been overall better than last season in yards given up both running and passing, and in points allowed. Things were really going their way in the first six games, allowing on average fewer than 15 points per game. Then came a drop off. Except for their 24-15 win against Atlanta, it's been 26 points or more in every other game (all losses). Last Sunday the defense gave up two passing touchdowns to Joe Flacco, but then buckled down in the second half of their game. They finished with one interception and 3 sacks. Tackle Fletcher Cox leads the team with 6.5 sacks, and he has had 2.5 in the previous two weeks.
Jim Schwartz likes to rotate players on the defensive line and they play well against the run, though there was a let up against the Ravens. Three different running backs had plays of 41, 39 and 16 yards during the course of the game totaling 96 yards and 1 touchdown. It should be noted that Baltimore's other 21 rushing plays netted them just 55 yards, but maybe it pays to try and wear this group down to get those big plays. Ben MacAdoo seems more determined of late to establish a balanced running game, so this could be interesting

Giants offense
Let's get right down to it. You want to see Victor Cruz have a great outing in what will be an emotional game for him. Since suffering that injury playing on this same field, Cruz's career has declined. This was to be his comeback year, but you haven't seen the old Cruz on the field. Over the last six games he's had no more than one catch in any one of them. Cruz does try to make them count. In the first game against the Eagles Cruz caught just one pass for 46 yards, and that drive ended with a touchdown for the Giants. Last game it was also just one catch for Cruz for 29 yards, and that also led to a touchdown.
Last time in the win over the Eagles,
Eli Manning threw four touchdown passes. On Sunday Manning completed 11 straight passes to start the game. He was overall 20 on his 28 passes for 201 yards and two touchdowns. Much of his success is dependent on the offensive line and left guard Justin Pugh will be back for his second game coming off of a knee injury that had him sidelined for five games. Running back Rashad Jennings leads the team with rushing yardage, but Paul Perkins needs to have more touches. His blocking has improved, so opposing defenses can't predict as well if he's in there just for running plays.

Giants defense
They saw that the Eagles had success running the ball against the Ravens, and will likely try that again to keep the pressure off quarterback Carson Wentz, who has been called on to do way too much in his rookie season. Wentz has thrown the ball more than 40 times in six of the last eight games, and with 540 total, is easily on track to break Donovan McNabb's record 571 passes in 2008.
The Giants had two interceptions on Wentz back in Week 9, and his favorite targets are wide receiver Jordan Matthews, tight end Zach Ertz, and Darren Sproles. Sproles is a problem for any team, running or catching the ball and on special teams play. The Giants defense will have to play well to keep the Eagles from what they do best, playing hard against the run and limiting short passes to their tight ends and Sproles.

Think about it. Are the Eagles a better team now than the one that faced the Giants back in week 9? How about the Giants, are they better? Winning last week against Detroit validated the Giants as a likely playoff team, and winning on Thursday against the Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field puts them in the playoffs.
Division games are tough fought and can go either way, but the Giants should take this one. The only way that doesn't happen is if they fail to contain
Darren Sproles. That's my biggest concern.

NFC East Games
Thursday at 8:25pm Giants (10-4) at Eagles (5-9)
Saturday at 1:00pm Redskins (7-6-1) at Bears (3-11)
Monday at 8:30pm Lions (9-5) at Cowboys (12-2)
The Giants, Redskins and Cowboys are the NFC East teams favored to win in these games.
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