Eagles Defense vs. Giants Offense

Stopping Eli Manning has been a tall order in recent weeks; the veteran quarterback has strung together some highly consistent performances. Can the Eagles defense change that?


The Giants average 31:35 per offensive possession, ninth highest in the NFL. Not quite the willful cellar-dwelling of the Eagles up-tempo game (24:53), but the Giants are now priding themselves on quickness: quick snaps, quick throws, many rewards. For the last three games, their offense has been rather keen with this formula.

Across that trio of wins, New York is averaging 35 points a game. That's a long way from scoring a measley two touchdowns in each of the first two losses, and their 26.6 PPG is a far cry from the dismal 18.4 PPG of last season's disaster.

Eli Manning

Manning needs just seven more touchdown passes to match last year's total. Conversely, he needs 22 more picks to hit last year's horrid 27. Manning's found his groove in Ben McAdoo's system, at least for now, and has thrown just one pick in the last three games: a freak play where the ball was stripped from Reuben Randle in a near-touchdown, and picked by Keenan Robinson. Basically, across the three wins, Manning's been virtually flawless.

KEY STAT: Manning has completed 70.1% of his throws over the three victories, peaking with 75.0% (21 of 28) against the Texans.

Rashad Jennings

There's a chance Jennings may not play Sunday due to a knee sprain sustained against the Falcons. That'd be a relief for the Eagles, especially if Mychal Kendricks remains out, and DeMeco Ryans is in any way inhibited by his groin injury. Jennings has averaged over five yards a carry over the last three games, peaking with 176 yards on 34 carries in the season-turning (to date) win over the Texans.

KEY STAT: Jennings is averaging 2.24 yards after initial contact, eighth best among backs with 65+ attempts.

Victor Cruz

Cruz was dropped from many fantasy teams after a slow start to the year, but he turned up the music against the Texans and Redskins, going over 100 yards in each, and scoring his lone touchdown against Houston. However, Cruz has also dropped five passes on 37 targets, the third worst drop rate among regular starters in the NFL this season.

KEY STAT: Cruz has been targeted on six deep passes, catching only one for 29 yards. He is the only Giants receiver to have dropped a pass of 20+ yards this season.

Will Beatty

Beatty may be the most improved player on the Giants offensive line, turning into a pass-blocking maven seemingly overnight. Through five games, Beatty has only allowed one sack from the blindside position, three hurries, and two hits, combining with suitable run-blocking capabilities, to make the revamped Giants offense run. Keeping Manning comfortable has been one of its most vital keys.

KEY STAT: Manning was sacked 39 times last season. With the improved play of Beatty, among others, he's on pace to be sacked just 22 times this season (seven sacks in five games).


It was almost a complete game. For three quarters, the Philadelphia defense stomped the Rams, forcing three fumbles, and hemming in Austin Davis to the point of near-isolation. Then the fourth quarter happened, Ryans went out with a groin strain, the secondary began giving a little too much cushion, and Davis started making his throws.

The pass rush has been much better in the last couple of weeks, although it sometimes disappears in the second half. Those final Rams drives, the rush completely vanished, as it seemed Bill Davis' group had gone into some form of prevent. Even without Mychal Kendricks, the defense is at least making strides to become a more well-rounded group. There's your silver lining.

Fletcher Cox

Cedric Thornton will get headlines for his two fumble recoveries and a touchdown, but Cox has been the most reliable defensive lineman. The last three weeks, Cox has brought eight total pressures, including seven hurries, and does a great job of setting the edge so that runs don't get to the outside with any sort of burst. His improved play overall has been integral to the defense maintaining some level of continuity.

KEY STAT: Cox's 11.4% run-stop percentage is fourth among all 3-4 defensive ends. He's second in total stops at the position, behind only Muhammad Wilkerson.

Trent Cole

The Eagles won by six on Sunday, and old-man Trent Cole gifted himself on his 32nd birthday by sacking Davis, forcing a fumble that Thornton would recover across the goal line for what you could term a much-needed touchdown. Cole has brought 14 quarterback pressures in the last three games, including 2.5 sacks, and found some form of rejuvenation in the Eagles 3-4 scheme.

KEY STAT: While it was once thought that Cole would be a liability in run coverage at linebacker, he has nine stops this season, nullifying three missed tackles from earlier in the season.

Bradley Fletcher

Fletcher is a bit of an enigma. In the past couple of games, his pass coverage has been mostly superb. That's a bit of a misnomer, actually: for seven quarters, the coverage was superb. In the fourth quarter Sunday, Davis used Kenny Britt and Brian Quick to scorch Fletcher, who reverted to the open cushion that hamstrung him against the Redskins. When Fletcher presses, he's tremendous, but he doesn't stick with it.

KEY STAT: Overall, Fletcher's been targeted 44 times this season, with only 21 completions to show for it.

Statistics from Pro Football Focus were used to write this story.

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