Eagles

Your In-Depth Eagles vs. Giants Week 16 Preview

If the Philadelphia Eagles beat the New York Giants on Thursday night then the Dallas Cowboys will win the NFC East.

Talk about a devastating win.

Whatever, give them hell!

EAGLES PASSING GAME VS. GIANTS PASS DEFENSE

PHI- 78.4 Passer Rating (27/32), 233 YPG (21/32)
NYG- 76.0 Passer Rating allowed (11/32), 257 YPG allowed (23/32)

For the first time all season, Carson Wentz led his team down the field and into the end zone with them trailing by seven points, but obviously the Eagles went for the win and the ensuing two-point try was unsuccessful.

Wentz was 3-of-8 for 37 yards on the final drive. The Eagles regained possession at their own 41-yard line with 1:39 left and one timeout at their disposal. Wentz hit Zach Ertz for a key 24-yard completion along the right sideline to set the Eagles up at the 17 and Nelson Agholor drew a pass interference penalty on rookie Tavon Young to put the ball at the four. Wentz crossed the goal line on his scramble two plays later. Wentz’s pass intended for Jordan Matthews was tipped at the line of scrimmage by C.J. Mosley on the two-point try and harmlessly fell incomplete.

Wentz, who finished 22-of-42 for 170 yards with and an interception, struggled throughout the afternoon with his ball placement, but it was nice to see him lead the Eagles down the field at the end. It almost happened against the Washington Redskins too before Matt Tobin was abused by Ryan Kerrigan, who strip-sacked Wentz to preserve the 27-22 victory for the Skins. Wentz was 5-of-9 for 61 yards on the Eagles’ final possession prior to the sack.

Ertz turned in another solid performance last week, catching six passes for 80 yards. He’s now hauled in 25 receptions for 271 yards over his last three games. The Giants have allowed the fifth-most yards (864) against opposing tight ends this season. This will be something to watch Thursday. I expect to see a lot of the three tight end sets from Doug Pederson.

New York may be without its top cornerback Janoris Jenkins, who injured his back during the Giants’ 17-6 win over the Detroit Lions on Sunday. He did not practice on Monday.

 

EAGLES RUNNING GAME VS. GIANTS RUN DEFENSE

PHI- 4.2 YPC (17/32), 112.9 YPG (9/32)
NYG- 3.6 YPC allowed (3/32), 90.1 YPG allowed (6/32)

Ryan Mathews and the run blocking kept the Eagles in the game last week. Mathews carried the ball 20 times for 128 yards as the offensive line did an outstanding job of paving the way for him against the No. 1 ranked run defense of Baltimore. It was a very impressive performance considering the game of musical chairs the line had been playing. Allen Barbre, who played right tackle last week in place of Halapoulivaati Vaitai before getting injured, was replaced in the starting lineup by rookie Isaac Seumalo.

But now Lane Johnson is back. Pederson had been calling a lot more running plays along the left side of the line running behind Jason Peters and with Jason Kelce pulling along the left boundary. Johnson will be rusty coming back from his 10-game suspension, but I expect there to be more balance instead of just running predominantly to the left.

Undrafted rookie Byron Marshall ran for 22 yards on nine totes, I’d like to see a little bit more out of his this Thursday.

Pederson had been saying for weeks that he wanted to get a more even ratio of run and pass and we finally saw that on Sunday. The Eagles attempted 42 passes and 38 runs (Wentz took off four times so 34 of the runs were called). That’s a lot better than letting the rookie chuck the ball 60 times like he did against the Cincinnati Bengals.

The Giants are very stout against the run evidenced by their statistics, especially in the middle with defensive tackles Johnathan Hankins and Damon Harrison. Hankins turns guards around right off the snap with a quick first step to get into the backfield. He has a lot of power too to drive them backwards as well. At 6’4, 350, Harrison is ridiculously strong to go along with ver long arms and it helps him keep blockers off him. He disrupts the line of scrimmage and clogs the middle. He’s simply immovable.

 

GIANTS PASSING GAME VS. EAGLES PASS DEFENSE

PHI- 91.1 Passer Rating allowed (19/32), 239 YPG allowed (12/32)
NYG- 89.3 Passer Rating (18/32), 239 YPG (17/32)

The Eagles were tied for third in the NFL with 22 sacks heading into the Week 9 matchup between the teams, but the Birds have registered just nine sacks since. The Giants, meanwhile, have allowed just 21, the fourth fewest in the league. A lot of that has to do with head coach Ben McAdoo’s offense and getting rid of the ball quickly because New York’s offensive line, while improved, isn’t going to intimidate anyone.

This has been the recipe for success for a lot of teams against the Eagles recently because when they’re unable to pressure the quarterback, their secondary gets exposed.

Obviously stopping Odell Beckham will be the main priority for the Eagles. Beckham is an electric route runner and when you combine his speed and body control, it makes it very difficult for a cornerback to play him. If you play off, he’ll beat you with his ability after the catch, if you play him on the line, he uses that agility and quickness to make mincemeat out of a defensive back. In my opinion he’s the best yards of the catch receiver in the league, using that agility, quickness and vision in the open field. He can score from anywhere on the field on any given play. He’s as smooth as it gets in the NFL right now.

Sterling Shepard has slowed down production-wise for the G-Men since an electric start which saw him put up 233 yards and two touchdowns on 16 receptions. He still has 592 yards and seven touchdowns on the season.

GIANTS RUNNING GAME VS. EAGLES RUN DEFENSE

PHI- 4.3 YPC allowed (23/32), 104.9 YPG allowed (17/32)
NYG- 3.4 YPC (30/32), 81.2 YPG (30/32)

The Giants haven’t been able to establish a consistent running game all season long. Rashad Jennings has been atrocious, averaging just 3.2 yards per carry, while rookie Paul Perkins is tallying 3.8 yards per tote.

While the numbers say otherwise, I believe there’s some potential with Perkins. He has good vision and his jump-cutting ability makes him shifty in space.

 

PREDICTION: It’s a must-win for the Giants if they still want to remain in the NFC East race, but they’d need to win their final two games and for the Cowboys to lose out. I expect the Eagles to put up a good fight like they have been the last two weeks, but I still think they fall short.

Giants 27-23

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