September 23, 2017
The Eagles are set to face the Giants on Sunday in what will be their second NFC East matchup of the season after they beat Washington in Week 1.
This time, however, the Birds will be the home team as they look to improve to 2-1 on the season in the first game at Lincoln Financial Field. They've owned the Giants in recent years, going 5-1 in their last six meetings. However, that lone loss came last season in the first year of the Doug Pederson & Carson Wentz era. And it came at home.
Here are five over/unders for their first meeting of the 2017 season, one in which the home team is favored by six points.
That’s the current total being offered by Bovada, and even though the Giants have scored just 13 total points through their first two games, that number seems a little low to me.
Both teams have injuries to starting cornerbacks – and in the case of the Eagles, a rash of hamstring injuries that will leave them without defensive backs Rodney McLeod, Jaylen Watkins and Corey Graham. And both teams are much better through the air than they are on the ground – neither team has scored a rushing touchdown this season. And while the Giants haven’t looked good on offense no matter the play call, they’re dead last in the NFL in rushing yards through two games (97 yards on 30 carries).
There are a lot of ways this could play out, but most signs point to an aerial battle unfolding at the Linc on Sunday. Given the state of both teams’ secondaries, it could be a high-scoring one. Each of their last three meetings – and four of their last five – have seen at least 43 points scored. I don’t see that changing on Sunday.
No, that’s a not a typo carried over from the previous over/under. Believe it or not, that’s how many pass attempts Carson Wentz is averaging through the first two games of the season. And even though it goes without saying, I’ll say it anyway: THAT’S WAAAY TOO MANY. And it’s not just because he’s a second-year quarterback still growing as an NFL QB; it’s also because he’s been sacked eight times – and hit a bunch more times – already this season.
The Giants pass defense is respectable, especially considering their ability to get to the quarterback, and it wouldn’t surprise me to see Pederson deploy a more balanced gameplan on Sunday. Of course, Wentz is averaging one 38 pass attempts per game in his 18-game career (and 42 per game through his last 11 games). So while I think this falls short of hitting the above number, I don’t think it’s going to be by much.
Blount carried the ball 14 times in the season opener, a 30-17 win over Washington. Then, last week against the Chiefs, Blount didn’t get any rushing attempts, finishing the game with just one reception … for no gain.
The Giants are almost as bad at defending the run as they are running the ball, and that could mean we see more Blount on Sunday. Will he get to double-digit carries? That’s likely going to depend on how the rest of the game unfolds – if the Eagles are down early, I’m going to get both this and the previous over/under wrong – but I just don’t think it’s very likely that Blount finishes with so few carries.
If he does, the Birds are in trouble. And there are going to be a lot of questions about what’s really going on with Blount. Hopefully, for the sake of Eagles fans everywhere, that scenario doesn’t play out in Week 3.
That’s what the Giants’ top receiving threat has averaged through his six career games against the Eagles, but it’s really been more feast or famine for Beckham. He has a pair of games with 150-plus yards but has failed to get record more than 61 yards in each of his other four times facing the Birds.
After missing Week 2 and facing a decimated Eagles secondary in Week 3, Beckham is going to be hungry for targets … and he’s likely to see a healthy dose on Sunday. His two huge games came when he saw a ridiculous 20 or more targets, and if he sees anywhere close to that number in Week 3, it’s going to be a long day for the Birds secondary. That being said, it appears his receptions aren’t the number with which Jim Schwartz and the defense needs to be most concerned. The Giants lost both of those games in which Beckham went off – he’s only beaten them once in his career, and he had to score a pair of touchdowns to do so.
In other words, they can bend quite a bit before Beckham breaks them. I think Beckham has a big day, hitting the over here, but I don’t think it prevents the Birds from improving to 2-1 on the young season.
Through two games, the Eagles defense has recorded eight sacks, and simply hitting the average will put the Birds in a good position to beat the Giants, who have allowed eight sacks of their own. But if they want to get in great position to pick up their second win, they’ll also need to create some turnovers, something they failed to do last week against the Chiefs after forcing four in their season-opening win in Washington.
In what I suspect will be a pass-heavy game, the chances for turnovers should be there, but it starts with the Eagles front seven – and, specifically, the front four – getting pressure on Manning early, and keeping that pressure up throughout the game.
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