Giants (1-4) vs Eagles (2-3)
Sunday the Eagles hosted the Minnesota Vikings in a follow up of the NFC Championship
game also played at home. Back then the Eagles beat them soundly 38-7, and went
on to win in the Super Bowl. This time the Vikings got their revenge, and left
town with a 23-21 win.
In their game, the Giants were up against a tough Carolina
Panthers team. Despite trailing for most of the game, the Giants finally took
the lead with about one minute left. The Panthers didn't have time to move the
ball very far, but a 63-yard field goal gave them a 33-31 win.
- Panthers Wrap-Up
Last year former Eagles quarterback
Nick Foles was signed to be the backup for Carson Wentz. He suddenly found himself
on the field in a game against the Rams when Wentz was injured. Foles led the
team to a comeback victory. With Foles, the Eagles went on to next win over the
Giants and Raiders before dropping a game to the Dallas Cowboys, where the outcome
no longer mattered, as they were on their way to playoffs with home field advantage.
Foles quarterbacked the Eagles to their
first Super Bowl win in franchise history,
and Wentz had surgery to repair a torn ACL. The Eagles had to restaff some positions
and their new offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach were promoted from
their own ranks to make the transition easier. With Wentz still recovering, Foles
was the quarterback for the first two games of this season leading the Eagles
to one win and one loss. Wentz took over and won his first game back before losing
the next two.
Eagles have been scoring one less touchdown each game compared to last year, not
the kind of start they'd like to have. While Nick Foles and Carson Wentz each
have a higher completion percentage than they did last year the points haven't
been coming. Tight end Zach Ertz and wide receiver Nelson Agholor are catching
more passes on average than last year, but each has only one touchdown to show
for it. They finished last season with eight apiece. So far there have been just
six touchdown passes thrown over these first five games.
The Eagles likely
knew that Carson Wentz would have less mobility this year, and have to lean on
a strong running game to keep pressure off, but they couldn't afford to keep top
running back LeGarrette Blount and let him walk. They figured to be fine using
their second leading back Jay Ajayi, acquired from the Miami Dolphins in October
last year. Ajayi has had knee issues and Darren Sproles was returning from a season
ending knee injury. They also have Wendell Smallwood, second-year running back
Corey Clement. How has all that worked out?
The running game has dropped from
3rd in the NFL last year to 16th, and Jay Ajayi, who had three rushing touchdowns,
was just placed on injured reserve after suffering a knee injury in the loss to
the Minnesota Vikings. Sproles hurt his hamstring in the first game of the season,
has missed the last four games, and is out for this one as well. Corey Clement
played in the first three games, missed the last two with a quad injury, but will
be back for this one. Smallwood is not the best blocker, but he and Clement look
to carry the heavy load on Thursday with the Giants.
UPDATE - Right tackle
Lane Johnson was downgraded to questionable with an ankle injury.
rushing defense is on par to where they were last year, very good. They are second
in the league giving up less than 67 yards a game. They are strong up front. Fletcher
Cox is one the NFL's best defensive tackles, and they added defensive end Michael
Bennett this year. Opponents are almost forced to pass the ball, but the bad news
for the Eagles, is that teams have been able to do it quite well. The Eagles secondary
is giving up 50 more yards per game than they did last year.
Their top safetys,
Malcolm Jenkins and Rodney McLeod were backed up by Corey Graham who was expected
to retire, but the Eagles signed him to a one year contract. It was good that
they did, because McLeod was placed on Injured reserve last month. Graham fills
in for him, but he was injured on Sunday and will be out for this game. The Eagles
are on the road for this game, and so far they have given up just about 10 points
more a game than when they've played at home.
They know that their defensive unit
is getting the job done, and it's time to step up and do their part. The offensive
line has just a few games under their belts playing together, and has been improving
every week. In their first four games there were only three pass plays that went
for 25 yards or more, and last week they had five. One of them was a Odell Beckham
Jr. 57-yard touchdown pass to running back Saquon Barkley. It's too bad that Beckham's
special teams play cost them a touchdown, but in any event, he knows how to catch
a ball. Beckham caught 8 for 131 yards, and had one touchdown on Sunday.
Eagles defense won't be easy to crack. They are tough up front, fourth in third
down defense, and tied for fifth in red zone defense. The Giants wish they could
have tight end Evan Engram back for this game, but that's not going to happen,
and they'll also be missing wide receiver Russell Shepard. With Engram out again,
and Rhett Ellison listed as questionable, Sterling Shepard will stay busy. Eli
Manning is going to have to hope his line can handle things so he can take some
shots downfield against cornerbacks Ronald Darby and Jalen Mills.
The Eagles won't have a good running
back solution figured out on such short notice, so with a ground attack easier
to defend, the Giants will have an opportunity to focus more on the Eagles passing
game. Carson Wentz
put up some good numbers against the Vikings on Sunday. Wentz was 24-for-35 for
311 yards, with 2 touchdowns and no interceptions, but he took 8 hits and 3 sacks.
One was a sack-fumble returned for a touchdown.
Over his three games returning
from ACL and MCL surgery, Wentz has been sacked 11 times, and has run with the
ball 10 times for 44 yards. Can the Giants get to him? So far the Giants pass
defense hasn't been effective upfront, and they have only 6 sacks on the season,
tied for last in the NFL. It looks like pass rusher Olivier Vernon will play after
missing the first five games, but he might be limited.
With no pressure, Wentz
would be able to use tight ends Zach Ertz
and rookie Dallas Goedert to keep the chains moving. Last week the defense did
it's job, had the Panthers at near midfield, and a last-second 63 yard field goal
did them in. In the first game with the Eagles last year,
the Giants lost on a last-second 61 yard field goal, the longest ever kicked in
a Giants game.
game seems like a must win when you're struggling with a losing record. In this
crazy NFC East division, Washington is on top with a 2-2 record, and after this
game has been played out, the other teams could be sitting with two wins to go
along with either three or four losses.
That would happen if the Giants win
this game. If they lose, the Eagles would have a 3-3 record, and the Giants would
be at the bottom of the division at 1-5. They would have two division losses while
the rest of the teams have none. It sure looks like the Giants are in a must-win
NFC East Games
Thursday at 8:20pm Eagles (2-3) at Giants (1-4).
at 1:00pm Panthers (3-1) at Redskins (2-2).
Sunday at 4:25pm Jaguars (3-2)
at Cowboys (2-3).
The Eagles and Cowboys are the NFC East teams favored to
win in these games.
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Eli Manning completed 72 passes for 800 yards
and 6 TDs in the last two games with the Eagles.
Sterling Shepard has one touchdown in each of the four games he's played against
Giants have won just 5 of
their last 20 games against the Eagles, and are 2-6 at MetLife Stadium.
have given up 10 more points per game on the road than at home in the last three
Eagles Kicker Jake Elliott is
8 of 10 on field goals, missing his two longest attempts, from 42 and 55 yards.
Oct 22 Giants at Atlanta.
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Oct 28 Redskins at Giants.
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