November 04, 2016
Oh, that's right. The Philadelphia Eagles actually have a game this weekend. And an extremely important one at that -- they head up to MetLife Stadium to face the New York Giants in their third division game in the last four weeks.
After falling to the Dallas Cowboys in overtime on Sunday night, the Eagles are now 4-3 on the season. Given how close the NFC East has been as we hit the halfway point of the season, falling to 0-3 in the division could have major tie-breaker implications once the playoffs arrive. However, the fact that their final three division games will all be at home, where they are undefeated so far this season, should help.
But before playoffs even enter this team's collective mind, they need to take care of business within their own division. Those losses are adding up quickly.
Here's what you need to know as the Eagles not only hit the midway mark of the season, but also complete the first half of their NFC East schedule, on Sunday against the Giants.
TV: FOX | RADIO: 94.1 WIP
SPREAD: Giants -2.5 | TOTAL: 43.0 (via topbet.eu)
In their last 16 meetings (a full season's worth of games) with the Giants, the Eagles are 13-3 over their rivals up the NJ Turnpike.
|Eagles vs. Giants||Eagles||Giants|
|Jan 11, 2009 (playoffs)||23||11|
That is ownership.
The Giants have faced 500 plays on defense so far this season, and have only run 428 plays on offense. A disparity of 72 plays after seven games is pretty significant. As a result, they have the worst time of possession in the NFL, with an average of 25:57. As you might imagine, the Giants are not winning on third down. They are converting just 35 percent of their third down attempts offensively, while opponents are converting 42 percent of their third downs.
That plays into the hands of an Eagles' offense that is devoid of down-the-field weapons, and wants to control the football.
After a brutal loss in Dallas (and more importantly, a brutal beat for anyone taking the 5.5 points), the Eagles travel to a place where they have consistently taken care of business lately. Since the infamous Osi Umenyiora game back in 2007, the Birds are 8-1 in the Meadowlands. Up in New York, they have owned the Giants.
In what shapes up as an ultra-important game for both teams, Odell Beckham has plenty of experience tearing up the Eagles secondary. That is certainly worrisome, as is the Eagles playing their third consecutive opponent coming off the bye. But I have my doubts that the Giants will be able to pass protect long enough for Beckham to get open deep down the field. Fletcher Cox, Brandon Graham and the rest of the front four should get after Eli Manning.
Again, this is a huge game for the Eagles mostly because of last week’s giveaway in Dallas. I think they need to reach 10 wins to make the playoffs, and sitting at 5-3 before a home game against Atlanta would be a decent spot.
The scariest thing about the Giants is their depth at wide receiver. They have more than just Odell Beckham Jr. to scorch your secondary, especially one that's thin at cornerback. And that's actually good news for Eagles fans, because in order for those wideouts to be successful, Eli Manning also has to be successful.
Recently, that's been an issue for Manning. Here's a look at how he fared in his last six games against the Birds (all against Chip Kelly's Eagles, who were hardly a defensive juggernaut):
Furthermore, Manning has been sacked 13 times in those six meetings and been outscored by an average of over 11 points per game (27.7 to 16.5). None of those numbers bode well against an Eagles defense that ranks fourth in points against and eighth in yards allowed -- not to mention 13 takeaways through seven games.
The best weapon the Birds have against Beckham, Victor Cruz and Sterling Shepard will be their front four's ability to get pressure on Manning. And since they won't also have to pay as much attention to the running game as they did a week ago against Dallas, there's a chance the Giants offense winds up looking more like the Vikings did two weeks ago than the Cowboys did on Sunday night.