It’s been the main topic of discussion all week, how is the dumpster fire of the New York Giants’ offensive line going to handle the ferocious pass rush of the Philadelphia Eagles?
The Eagles have tallied eight sacks in two games, while the Giants have allowed eight in their first two contests.
Not only does that matchup look completely lopsided, the Eagles have dominated the series since 2008, winning 14 of the last 18 meetings between the teams.
We’ll see what happens Sunday as the 0-2 Giants travel to Philadelphia Sunday afternoon to clash with the Birds.
EAGLES PASSING GAME VS. GIANTS PASS DEFENSE
PHI- 89.3 PASSER RATING (14/32), 299 YPG (3/32)
NYG- 70.0 PASSER RATING ALLOWED (7/32), 191 YPG ALLOWED (11/32)
The Eagles are set to make a switch at left guard this Sunday as Chance Warmack is going to get the call for Isaac Seumalo. More on that below when I get into the running game, but Seumalo allowed four of the Chiefs’ six sacks last week. Warmack is better in run blocking than pass protection.
After being sacked just four times over his first four games last year, Carson Wentz has been tackled behind the line of scrimmage eight times already this season. Some of that has to do with Seumalo and the offensive line, but some of that can be attributed to holding onto the ball too long as well, which Wentz admitted following the 27-20 loss to the Chiefs on Sunday.
There’s big plays to be made and sometimes there’s going to be sacks where you hold onto it, so it’s going to be a constant thing every week, just knowing when’s the first time and finding that right balance.
I also think an argument for play-calling can be made. When you only have 13 designed runs for an entire game and just seven after your first two drives, defenses stop expecting the run and starting teeing up on your quarterback.
Remember that Scott Kacsmar fella from Football Outsiders and how he said Carson Wentz was a dink-and-dunk quarterback because his air yards were low last year? He can’t say that about Wentz this year. The second-year quarterback currently leads the league with 12.8 air yards per attempt. He has also attempted a NFL-high 15 “deep passes,” which are categorized as throws over 20 yards. It’s amazing what adding some wide receivers like Alshon Jeffery and Torrey Smith can do. Wentz, however, does need to work on his accuracy as only four of those 15 attempts have gone for completions.
The matchup to watch this week will be Jeffery going up against Janoris Jenkins, but that’s if Jenkins even plays. He didn’t practice Wednesday or Thursday after missing Monday night’s game against the Detroit Lions. If he can go that’s now Josh Norman, Marcus Peters and Jenkins in consecutive weeks for Jeffery, yikes! Jenkins’ specialty is also dealing with bigger, physical wide receiver, which Jeffery is. The difference between this week and last, the Giants have more depth at cornerback to combat Jeffery if Doug Pederson elects to move him round the formation. Jeffery finished with 92 yards and a touchdown on seven receptions, but only two of them came against Peters for 22 yards. Three receptions came against Terrance Mitchell on the left side and two others were from the slot, including his 16-yard touchdown against Phillip Gaines. The trio of Jenkins, Eli Apple and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie is better than the one in Kansas City, we’ll see how Jeffery fares Sunday. If Jenkins can’t go, then Ross Cockrell, who was acquired prior to the season from the Pittsburgh Steelers, will be the third corner.
Statement drive! Wentz 5/5 for 70 yards on the march, 2 catches by Jeffery including the TD from the slot on Gaines. 10-6 Birds! pic.twitter.com/drxTmjPCwY
— The Bitter Birds (@AdrianFedkiw) September 17, 2017
I want to see Mack Hollins get more playing time this week. When I saw him run a great stop route against Peters and get easy separation, that’s all I needed to see. Get him out there, especially if Nelson Agholor struggles again. After hauling in six passes for 86 yards and a score, Agholor was limited to a nine-yard touchdown catch in pretty much garbage time on Sunday against Kansas City.
Zach Ertz will continue to be Wentz’s security blanket. He is currently third in the NFL with 190 receiving yards.
EAGLES RUNNING GAME VS. GIANTS RUN DEFENSE
PHI- 4.0 YPC (12/32), 82.5 YPG (20/32)
NYG- 4.2 YPC ALLOWED (22/32), 133.5 YPG ALLOWED (22/32)
Thirteen designed runs, really?!
The Eagles have to get more of an offensive balance established this week. I believe the move was made in an attempt to get the run game and LeGarrette Blount going. The Eagles have struggled immensely generating push with the interior of their offensive line, but have found success running along the boundaries. They averaged 5.43 yards per carry on plays along the perimeter Sunday, but just 2.33 YPC on totes up the middle. Blount didn’t even get a carry.
Getting the tackles in space and Jason Kelce pulling along the perimeter is what the Eagles do best. Darren Sproles is the back who runs that play best, however, he’s 34 and can’t be seeing double-digit carries each week. Wendell Smallwood was supposed to be the outside runner, but he’s struggled through two games.
It’ll be a test for the interior Sunday when they match up against New York Giants defensive tackles Dalvin Tomlinson and Damon Harrison. Olivier Vernon also stops the run well as a defensive end.
Check out this great stat compiled by EROCK, it’s not a coincidence that the Eagles win games when they run the football.
— EROCK (@TheMightyEROCK) September 19, 2017
Grant it you can make the argument that the Eagles ran the ball more while they were ahead, but we’re also talking about a team that is 8-10 under Pederson’s watch over his first 18 games coached.
GIANTS PASSING GAME VS. EAGLES PASS DEFENSE
PHI- 89.8 PASSER RATING ALLOWED (19/32), 216 YPG ALLOWED (16/32)
NYG- 83.0 PASSER RATING (19/32), 203 YPG (18/32)
Giants left tackle Ereck Flowers surrendered three sacks to Ziggy Ansah on Monday night against the Detroit Lions. I’m sure New York is going to do everything it can to get the ball out of Eli Manning’s hand as quickly as possible, but the Eagles defensive line is still going to be licking their chops. The Giants did a great job of negating Philadelphia’s pass rush last season, yielding just a sack in two games. I’m expecting a mixture of quick passes, max protection and chipping.
— 5StarLinemenAcademy (@5StarLATA) September 19, 2017
Flowers didn’t handle Ansah’s power and hand usage well at all on Monday night and Barnett has a strong pair of mittens. I think he’ll record his first career sack on Sunday. Former Giants running back Tiki Barber is concerned for Manning’s well-being, saying on CBS Radio’s “Tiki and Tierney” show that he will wind up in a body bag if Flowers continues to be the left tackle.
If Ereck Flowers has a job on Wednesday morning, then Eli Manning might be in a body bag three weeks from now. I’m serious. The Philadelphia Eagles’ defense is really good, and they get after the quarterback. If Ereck Flowers is allowed to protect Eli Manning’s backside any longer, Eli is going to get killed. Ereck Flowers can’t be your left tackle any longer. Ereck Flowers either has to go to tackle or has to go inside to guard or sit on the bench.
Like Pederson, second-year Giants head coach Ben McAdoo also calls plays, but he is considering giving up those duties to offensive coordinator Mike Sullivan. New York hasn’t reached the 20-point plateau in eight games and McAdoo’s vanilla offense makes Chip Kelly’s look like Rainbow Sherbet. Here’s what McAdoo had to say during a conference call with reporters on Tuesday.
We can’t keep doing the same thing over and over again. That’s insanity. It’s not working, so we’re going to look to make some more changes this week like we did last week. Maybe it will be a little more drastic this week, to use your word. If that means me giving up play-calling duties, that’s something we will look at, that we’ll talk about. For personnel, jobs are won in this league, they are not given away. So somebody’s got to win a job or take a job to get a job.
If Manning is given time, we’ll find out if the Eagles’ cornerbacks can hold up against Odell Beckham, who was limited to 36 yards on four receptions on Monday. Jalen Mills has taken a leap forward in his second year and rookie Rasul Douglas impressed in his debut.
Rasul Douglas has been tremendous today, allows minimal gain on 2nd down and tip on 3rd down. pic.twitter.com/F4fAKddRdi
— The Bitter Birds (@AdrianFedkiw) September 17, 2017
GIANTS RUNNING GAME VS. EAGLES RUN DEFENSE
PHI- 4.9 YPC ALLOWED (27/32), 88 YPG ALLOWED (14/32)
NYG- 3.2 YPC (26/32), 48.5 YPG (32/32)
As much flack as the Eagles have been getting for their running game, the Giants’ rushing attack has been much worse. It might be the worst in the entire league. Not only has their offensive line been a mess, but the trio of Paul Perkins, Orleans Darkwa and Shane Vereen isn’t exactly installing fear into anyone’s defense. Their starter Perkins has totaled just 26 yards on 14 carries, an anemic 1.9 yards per carry average.
The Eagles’ defense did a solid job on Kareem Hunt last week until he rumbled into the end zone for his 53-yard score. If you take that carry away, Philly allowed Hunt to run for just 28 yards on 12 totes. Brandon Graham continues to be one of the best run-stuffing defensive ends in football.
The Eagles are going to get the Giants’ best shot on Sunday, they’re in full desperation mode at this point. They can’t start 0-3 and 0-2 within the division. With that being said, the Giants’ offensive line is completely overmatched going against the Eagles’ defensive line. This will be why the Eagles win this game. Philadelphia gets to 20, New York doesn’t.
You can follow Adrian Fedkiw on Twitter (@AdrianFedkiw) and e-mail him at email@example.com. Subscribe to The Bitter Birds on YouTube here. Follow Philly Influencer on Twitter (@PHL_Influencer), Facebook and Instagram.