Giants (3-2) vs Eagles (4-1)
Sunday the Eagles were up 34-7 in the third quarter and let that 27 point lead
slip away. They hung on for a 34-28 win over the St. Louis Rams.
staged another comeback victory when they shook off a third quarter 10 point deficit,
and scored 20 points while holding the Falcons to none. 30-20.
Giants - Falcons
In 2012 the Eagles were coming off
a 4-12 season and they fired longtime head coach Andy Reid. They hired Chip Kelly
to replace him and in just one season he took the Eagles from last place in the
division to first for the title. It wasn't all that easy at the start when they
beat the Redskins on the road then lost their first home game to the Chargers
and then dropped a second one at home to Andy Reid's new team, the Kansas City
Chiefs. Then coming off an embarrassing 52-20 home loss to the Denver Broncos,
Kelly was heading his 1-3 team into the Meadowlands to face the Giants.
that game, despite missing on 8 of his 14 passes, Michael Vick had his team up
16-7. The Giants kept running back LeSean McCoy in check, but Vick's running and
scrambling moved things along. In the first two quarters Vick had already produced
79 yards on just 7 carries.
That edge ended when with less than 2 minutes
left in the half, Vick was suddenly out on the sideline with a groin injury and
Nick Foles was in. During his drive Foles completed six straight passes, then
missed on two before completing a 21 yarder to DeSean Jackson. It was close enough
to add a field goal to end the half. The Eagles went on to win this game with
Foles throwing for 197 yards and 2 touchdowns. Not a bad start, and Foles impressively
handled the quarterback position for the Eagles. Foles continued on to lead the
league with a 119.2 passer rating while throwing for 27 touchdowns and just 2
It had all started in that game for the Eagles and they won
the division with a 10-6 record. At the end DeSean Jackson led the team in receptions,
receiving yards and touchdown receptions. Kelly kept the pressure off Foles and
the passing game, having the Eagles run the ball over 47 percent of the time.
McCoy had 366 opportunities to run the ball and he led the NFL with 1,607 rushing
yards. The Eagles lost their first playoff game to the New Orleans Saints 24-22,
but it was one heck of a season and a great job for a first year head coach. That
was last year and right now Kelly has his team off to a fast 4-1 start ready to
face the Giants and once again for the first time this season.
Foles had a nice advantage last year in that no one on his offensive line had
missed a start. They were solid and they stayed healthy, but it's not the same
this year as injuries have hit them hard. The line was at their worst shuffle
when they took that one loss to San Francisco, but now Lane Johnson has returned
from his four-game suspension. His addition helps the line shift closer to the
normal positions as they did last week against the Rams, but they're still missing
Foles no longer has DeSean Jackson as a receiver, but he
does have Jeremy Maclin back as a target. The Eagles took a chance releasing Jackson
figuring that Maclin, after missing a year from a torn ACL, would be able to do
the job. Maclin currently leads the team with 25 catches, 429 yards (17.2 avg)
and 4 touchdowns. Maclin is certainly doing what they hoped, but imagine if they
could have kept both Jackson and Maclin. Jordan Matthews and Riley Cooper each
have 19 receptions, but watch out when tight end Zach Ertz gets the ball. He averages
7 to 8 more yards per catch than they do (16.2 avg).
With the line problems
Foles is off to a slow start and appears to be having problems throwing the ball
downfield (no DeSean Jackson?). Foles has completed just 2 of his 15 passes when
throwing the ball past 20 yards, and 3 of his 5 interceptions have come off those
throws. LeSean McCoy is in the same boat, and without the line opening holes,
his output has suffered. Running back Darren Sproles has done very well. Viewed
as a passing threat, defenses don't tend to crowd the line when he comes in and
he's averaged 6.9 rushing yards on 25 carries for the second-best average of any
player in the NFL with at least 20 carries.
defense gave up more passing yards per game than any other team in the NFL last
year. They have improved just slightly in that area (29th), but their rushing
defense has suffered to the extent where they are ranked down to 25th from 10th
last year. They have given up roughly 28 more yards per game this year and are
probably happy that Giants running back Rashad Jennings won't be coming at them.
Andre Williams looked good for the Giants last week when he had to carry the load,
but he's still just a rookie and the Eagles defense won't have to prepare for
seeing the combination of them coming on and off the field with their different
styles of play.
The Eagles have given up 13 passing touchdowns in 5 games,
more than any other team in the league and they have only 3 interceptions. Now
the Giants passing game just got more difficult to defend with the addition of
Odell Beckham Jr. The Eagles let down last week and
allowed 21 straight unanswered points to the Rams before finally making a defensive
stop to end things in that game. They will have their problems with a Giants offense
that seems to be hitting it's stride over the last few games.
Eli Manning and his offense showed
how effective Ben McAdoo's system can be when things are clicking. Odell Beckham
Jr. now coming on the scene has added a new wrinkle to this offense. Defenses
can't focus on just locking out Victor Cruz and Larry Donnell and leave Beckham
running loose too. Manning for the most part has kept his passing short and quick,
but that could change this week with Beckham out there stretching the coverage
and all the receivers could benefit. Cruz currently leads the team with receptions
that are 20-yard-plus.
With Rashad Jennings recovering from a sprained MCL,
Andre Williams is the starter and Peyton Hillis will likely come in on passing
downs, being a better blocker and pass catcher. Williams hasn't shown to be adept
at catching the ball the way Jennings has, catching nearly all the passes thrown
his way, but Williams hasn't had a lot of reps at that yet.
biggest problem the Giants will have on offense is that rookies tend to make mistakes
and they have to rely on them this week. Andre Williams is hard to bring down,
but the opportunistic Eagles defense will be coming at him anxious to cause a
fumble as he plows down trying for that extra yard, and Beckham is playing in
only his second game. What I don't want to see is Beckham out there on returns
in this game as it's an unnecessary risk. Let Beckham concentrate on his job helping
Manning as a receiver and get used to taking some hits that way for awhile first.
defense has 8 interceptions on the year, more than any other team and they are
tied for third in turnovers forced per game (2.0). They rank 11th on stopping
their opponents running game, but watch out Giants. Running backs LeSean McCoy
and Darren Sproles have also combined for 30 receptions this season. They just
can't go all out on Foles or he'll throw to these talented running backs on screen
and swing passes. The defense knows they have a bit of an edge in that the Eagles
offensive line is still unbalanced. That said, they really didn't take much advantage
last week when the Falcons came in harboring the same type of problem. They waited
until the second half to turn on the heat with the front four generating most
of the pressure on the quarterback to get the game back in line.
to wake up faster this time before Maclin, Sproles and Ertz do too much damage.
One thing is for sure. With the Giants offense working at a much faster pace,
this defense has had a lot of practice time working against it. That's what they
will see coming at them from the Eagles and not too much should be unexpected.
Foles hasn't had much success throwing downfield, but they might try going after
Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie who has missed
several series over the last two games nursing his leg injury.
the Giants win this game, and then the next against the Cowboys, they'd be in
great shape. Those wins would put them at 5-2, and the Eagles and Cowboys could
be no better off than that having taken the losses. The Giants would be 3-0 in
division games, and the next three would be played at home.
Of course the
Eagles sure would like to win this one with the Giants. That would give them 2
division wins with either the Giants or Cowboys having just one to their credit
following their matchup next week. The Eagles play three of their four remaining
division games on the road and all four are crammed into the last five games of
the season. Eagle fans will do their very best to throw off the Giants, but we
think the Eagles are living on borrowed time and the Giants win this one.
On Sunday before the Giants play against
the Eagles, you might be able to catch either the Cowboys or Redskins playing
at 4:25pm. The Cowboys (4-1) are in Seattle playing the Seahawks (3-1), and the
Redskins (1-4) are in Arizona taking on the Cardinals (3-1). The Eagles are the
only team favored to win in these games.
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and Eagles split their games last year.
Eli Manning is 6-3 as a starter at the Linc.
Giants rank among the worst teams in the league at covering punt returns.
won the last matchup 15-7 last October with the Eagles gaining only 200 yards
Eagles Nick Foles has
lost 3 fumbles and thrown 5 interceptions, 3 more than he threw all of last year.
Eagles have had 4 special teams returns for touchdowns in 5 games so far this
Eagles were the first NFL team
to start a season 3-0 after trailing by 10-plus points in each game.
have won seven-straight regular season games at the Linc.
special teams and defense have added at least 2 touchdowns per game.
Oct 19- Giants at Cowboys.
Nov 3- Colts at Giants.
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