With the latest installment in the New York Giants- Philadelphia Eagles rivalry set for this Sunday, let’s take a look at what to watch for in this all-important game to keep pace with the Dallas Cowboys in the NFC East.
1. Can the New York Giants offensive line compete against a stellar Philadelphia pass rush?
It’s no secret that the Giant offensive line has struggle, to say the least, during the first half of the season. The Giants offense is ranked dead last in the NFL with just 70.3 rushing yards per game and only four touchdowns, and the 11 sacks they’ve let up are a cause for concern as well. Hopefully Mike Solari and his gang have figured out why they haven’t been gelling as a unit and have fixed any and all issues that led to their poor play up to this point, because a formidable front seven in the Philadelphia Eagles awaits them this Sunday. Philadelphia has only given up 114.7 rushing yards per game and four rushing touchdowns while sacking opposing quarterbacks and incredible 22 times. These statistics don’t bode well for the Giant offensive line, which needs to establish some sort of multi-dimensional attack via the run as well as keep Eli Manning off of the turf if they expect to win.
2. How will the New York “Big Three” receivers fare against Philly’s Top 3 Secondary
The Philadelphia secondary of Malcolm Jenkins, Leodis McKelvin, and Nolan Carroll could pose a nightmare matchup for Odell Beckham Jr.., Victor Cruz, and Sterling Shepard. Through eight weeks, the Eagles are third in total pass defense, having only allowed only 8 touchdowns and 214 yards per game while allowing a 57.3 percent competition percentage against opposing quarterbacks. On the contrary, the Giants passing attack ranks 13 in the NFL, averaging 275 yards per game through the air along with eight touchdowns. Something has to give between these two powerhouse units, and it’ll be interesting to see if the Eagles try to get physical with all three receivers, especially Beckham, who has proven in the past that his game is affected if you rough him up a bit and get inside his head. In the end, it comes down to the Giants offensive line. If they give Manning enough time to throw the ball and, knowing that all three of his receivers can and will get open at various points throughout the game, expect big numbers through the air and a torching of an Eagles secondary that has been virtually impenetrable up to this point.
3. Can the Giants defense carry their momentum from Week 7 against Los Angeles into this week?
After carrying the Giants to a win in England, the Giants defense needs to have another stellar performance given the strength of Philadelphia’s defense. Carson Wentz and the Eagles’ offense has slowed down considerably since their 3-0 start to begin the season, just 109.4 rushing yards per game and a little of 208 passing yards per game, good enough for 29 in the league. Combine that with a Giants pass defense that ranks 12 in the NFL in passing yards allowed per game (267.4) and rushing yards allowed per game (93.6) and you have an intriguing matchup with two teams that could go either way. The Giant defense could seize on Wentz’ apparent return to Earth and add a few more picks to the four they had against the Rams while, on the other hand, the Eagles offense may have found their stride after a close game against Dallas on Sunday night in which Wentz was 32 of 43 through the air with 202 yards and a touchdown. They could very well take advantage of the 267.4 passing yards per game that New York has surrendered.