Date & Time: October 22nd – 8:20 P.M.
Location: Philadelphia, PA – Lincoln Financial Field
Network: Fox/Amazon Prime
Philadelphia: Jack Driscoll (OUT), Zach Ertz (OUT), Miles Sanders (OUT), Alshon Jeffery (OUT), Malik Jackson (OUT), K’Von Wallace (OUT)
New York: Darnay Holmes (Questionable), C.J. Board (OUT), Adrian Colbert (OUT), Tae Crowder (OUT)
The Philadelphia Eagles are coming off two hard fought battles against the top two defenses in the NFL. Although they were unsuccessful in both matchups, there were a lot of things done in those games that they can build off of. Against the New York Giants, a team they’ve beaten in their last six matchups, they will likely be able to turn the tide. With a win the Eagles would move into first place in the NFC East. Here’s our preview:
As stated, the Eagles past two matchups were against the NFL’s top two defenses. In those matchups the offense scored a total of 57 points. The offense seemed to find flow and fluidity for the first time all season. In this week’s matchup they get a bit of a break, going up against the 20th ranked defense (according to Pro Football Reference). The Giants are ranked 17th in defensive DVOA (according to Football Outsiders) and 9th in QB pressures per drop back (according to Pro Football Reference). The unit ranks 11th in sacks with 15, and 21st in hurries.
The Giants defense is led by James Bradberry, who is undoubtedly the team’s best defensive player. Bradberry has been absolutely outstanding in coverage since coming over from the Carolina Panthers in free agency. Bradberry is allowing a 70.9 passer rating when targeted and has just allowed just 244 yards in coverage. Bradberry also has the 2nd highest cornerback grade in the NFL according to Pro Football Focus, at 85.7. Bradberry will likely draw the Travis Fulgham in coverage. For Fulgham, who’s averaged 113.5 yards and caught 2 touchdown passes in the last 2 matchups (as stated, against the NFL’s top 2 defenses), this will be his toughest task of the season thus far. This will be a very equal matchup as both Bradberry and Fulgham are both very long players who can both go up and get the ball. The two are also both very physical players at the point of attack. This should be an entertaining matchup.
While the defensive line won’t be at the same level of difficulty the Eagles offensive line has faced the last two weeks, this will be no walk in the park. The offensive line will be without rookie Jack Driscoll who went down with an ankle injury last week. Lane Johnson will be active but it is unknown if he’ll be able to finish the game due to a lingering ankle injury. Jamon Brown has been cut after an abysmal performance last week. Sua Opeta will likely start in his place at right guard because Matt Pryor, if active, will likely be used as the backup swing tackle. Jeff Stoutland will have another project to put his coaching ability on display. Jordan Mialata and Nate Herbig will continue to anchor the Eagles left side of the line.
Elsewhere at the skill positions, the Eagles are expected to have DeSean Jackson back on the field. Jackson will likely be on a snap count as he works his way back from a hamstring injury. Jackson’s ability to stretch the field should open up things for Travis Fulgham in the intermediate levels of the field. Who Jackson matches up with is a matchup to watch specifically because if Darnay Holmes is active he will likely be in the slot and Logan Ryan may lineup outisde. According to the Giants depth chart, Isaac Yiadom is listed as the team’s number two corner but he didn’t play a defensive snap against Washington. If Yiadom does play he’ll likely be susceptible to the deep ball, as he isn’t the fastest corner (4.52 40 time) and he’s given up 13.3 yards per catch. Yiadom has also given up a 120.6 passer rating when targeted.
The offense will be without Miles Sanders for the next few weeks. Boston Scott will get the start in his place. The Giants are giving up 106.5 yards on the ground per game. There should be opportunities for Scott like there were in the Eagles two matchups with the Giants last season. In those matchups, Scott had a total of 113 rushing yards, 4 touchdowns on the ground and 10 catches for 153 yards through the air.
Carson Wentz has found confidence and rhythm in the last two weeks. In those last two games, Wentz has engineered 2nd half comebacks from down 31-14 and 30-14 to 31-29 and 30-28. In both games Wentz displayed enormous amounts of competitiveness and heart. Those qualities rub off on players and sooner or later those losses will translate to wins. For Wentz and the Eagles, there is no better opportunity than Thursday night to finally put it all together on the offensive end.
The Giants are the NFL’s 30th ranked offense. They come into this matchup averaging 16.8 points per game. That number that is a bit inflated because of their week 5 matchup against the worst defense in the NFL, the Dallas Cowboys, in which they scored 34 points. For all intents and purposes, this offense is quite frankly, pedestrian. Through 6 games, 2nd year quarterback Daniel Jones play has been mediocre at best. Jones has thrown 6 interceptions and 3 touchdowns. He’s also been pressured at the second highest rate in the league (according to Pro Football Reference) at 29.6%.
The Giants offensive line has struggled on the interior. Specifically, at guard where Will Hernandez and Kevin Zeitler who have grades of 57.4 and 63.1 respectfully. The starting center, Nick Gates has been even worse, grading out with a 45.1. Last week New York started Matt Peart at left tackle after rookie Andrew Thomas was late to a team meeting. Peart had some good reps against Washington but did give up a pressure in the game. Andrew Thomas did play 46% of the offensive snaps and he allowed 3 pressures in 11 pass blocking snaps. There will be opportunities for the Eagles defensive line to get to Daniel Jones. They’ll be without Malik Jackson in this game, but Brandon Graham can kick inside if need be. The Eagles also have Hassan Ridgeway ready to step in, in place of Jackson on the Eagles defensive line rotation. Ridgeway has a sack and 2 pressures on the season.
The Eagles secondary will get a boost, as they get Avonte Maddox back. Maddox will likely draw Golden Tate in coverage. This will be an intriguing matchup due to the similarities in height and speed. Maddox is 5’9 and Tate is 5’10. Maddox ran a 4.39 40 and Tate ran a 4.42. However, against Washington, undrafted rookie wideout, Austin Mack out snapped Tate, so this should be something to monitor. Mack had 1 target for 1 yard against Washington, so there’s that.
On the other side, will be the matchup of Darius Slay vs. Darius Slayton. This will be a fun matchup to watch and not only because of the names. Slayton wrecked the Eagles for 9 catches for 204 yards and 2 touchdowns in 2 games last season. Gone is Ronald Darby and in is 3-time Pro Bowler and All-Pro, Darius Slay.
The Eagles linebacker room had somewhat of a shakeup last week. Alex Singleton started last week and took over for Nate Gerry in dime, also the young guys, Davion Taylor and Shaun Bradley got some defensive snaps as well. Nate Gerry remained a starter and (as usual) had a few head scratching plays. This week the challenge is a bit more relaxed against Evan Ingram and Devonta Freeman. Ingram has 177 yards on 20 catches and has a 35.1 passer rating when targeted.
The Giants are one of, if not the, worst offensive teams in the NFL. They are mediocre passing the ball and without, Saquon Barkley, they legitimately have one of the worst rushing attacks in the league. Daniel Jones is their leading rusher with 201 yards. Devonta Freeman, who was recently signed, is the team’s starting running back and is averaging 3.2 yards per carry. The lack of a rushing attack will likely allow the Eagles defense to get after Daniel Jones often on Thursday night.
Doug Pederson once again has to show his ability to be able to settle the ship and push all the right buttons early on in the season. For the 3rd straight season, Pederson’s team has started out slow but you have to believe that eventually, they can and will get it turned around. Offensively for the Eagles, Doug Pederson will need to continue what he’s done the last 3 games as far as, attacking the intermediate levels of the field and picking his spots when to go deep. Those opportunities should be there with the return of DeSean Jackson. Another thing I’d like to see is the utilization of the screen game with Boston Scott against this New York defense. For Jim Schwartz in this game the key is simple: blitz and pressure Daniel Jones.
Joe Judge got his first win as a head coach last week against the Washington Football team. Judge has done a good job of assembling a staff with Patrick Graham and Jason Garrett as his coordinators. Garrett was 11-9 against the Eagles in his career and Graham who was the Giants defensive line coach in 2016 and 2017, and also was the Dolphins defensive coordinator last season has had some success against the Eagles (mainly the 2019 win with Miami). Graham’s units have 4 sacks against the Eagles in 4 years.
I do not see any way the Eagles can lose this game. The fact that the Eagles have put up 57 points in two games against the NFL’s top defenses and Carson Wentz has found rhythm on offense, combined with the monstrosity that is the New York Giants offense, gives me reason to believe that the Philadelphia Eagles will win this game.
Bold Prediction: Darius Slay has a pick 6
Pick: Eagles 27, Giants 14