Philadelphia Eagles vs. New York Giants Semi-Coherent Preview

Jan 3, 2016; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning (10) trows the ball during the second half against the Philadelphia Eagles at MetLife Stadium. The Eagles won 35-30. Mandatory Credit: Jim O
Jan 3, 2016; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning (10) trows the ball during the second half against the Philadelphia Eagles at MetLife Stadium. The Eagles won 35-30. Mandatory Credit: Jim O /

A preview of the matchup between the Philadelphia Eagles and New York Giants

After last week’s disappointing overtime loss to the Dallas Cowboys, the Eagles find themselves 0-2 against NFC East competition. They’ll have another chance to earn their first divisional win of the season when they travel to New Jersey to take on the Giants.

New York Giants

Record: 4-3 (Second place in NFC East)

Last week: Bye (Defeated Los Angeles Rams 17-10 in week seven)

Head coach: Ben McAdoo

The last time they met

For the second straight year, the Eagles and Giants faced each other in week 17 after both teams were eliminated from the playoffs. This time around, the Eagles had a new head coach as Chip Kelly was fired the week before.

More from Philadelphia Eagles

Pat Shurmur filled in as coach, and he led the Eagles to a cosmetic victory. As a result, they were “gifted” with a harder schedule this season. Hooray!

What’s the deal with the Giants?

Last season, the Giants had one of the better offenses in the league. The thinking was that the combination of offensive coordinator (now coach) Ben McAdoo and quarterback Eli Manning was unstoppable. Considering the Giants rank 26th in points scored, that unstoppability hasn’t seemed to carry over.

Defensively, the Giants spent a lot of money on free agents in the offseason. The result is that they are no longer awful defensively, and have moved up to the ranks of the mediocre. Janoris Jenkins has seemed to shore up the defensive backfield, but Olivier Vernon hasn’t done much to improve the pass rush. Their nine sacks are second least in the league, so they probably won’t be applying much pressure to Carson Wentz.

Featured Giants player: Odell Beckham, Jr.

Eli Manning’s worth as a quarterback has been almost impossible to gauge throughout his career. Is he elite? Is he overhyped by the New York media? Is he a hack who makes goofy faces? Or maybe he’s some combination of the above?

Philadelphia Eagles
Oct 22, 2016; London, United Kingdom; New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning (10) and receiver Odell Beckham Jr. (13) during NFL Fan Rally at the Victoria House prior to game 16 of the NFL International Series against the Los Angeles Rams. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports /

I think this difficulty in defining Manning is due to the varying quality of receivers he’s played with over his career. When Manning has good receivers, he tends to play well. If those receivers decline or shoot themselves in the leg, Manning’s play declines as well.

That brings us to the latest of Manning’s great receivers: Odell Beckham, Jr. Two years ago, Beckham burst onto the scene with his amazing one-handed catch, and established himself as one of the top receivers in the league.

This season, Beckham’s play has noticeably declined. After last season’s Josh Norman incident, opposing defenses learned that it was possible to get into Beckham’s head and throw him off his game. This phenomenon was most visible when he attempted to take out his frustrations on a kicking net, and somehow got the worst of the exchange:

Three weeks ago, Beckham dominated the Ravens with eight catches for 222 yards and two touchdowns. But he followed that up with an underwhelming 5/49/0 day against the Rams.

In four games against the Eagles, he’s put up inconsistent numbers. He had a huge game (185 yards) in the 2014 finale, but only 153 yards and one touchdown in the other three.

Reason to hate the Giants

I’ll give Giants fans credit. They keep talking smack about the Eagles even though the series has been lopsided in the Eagles’ favor in recent seasons. I’d give them more credit if most (all?) of the smack talk didn’t involve how many Super Bowls the Eagles have won.

Tweets of unimportance

See what I mean?

Super Important Eagles Storyline: Running Back Roulette

Heading into the season, Ryan Mathews was viewed as the Eagles’ lead running back. That status appeared to take a hit after Mathews had a fourth-quarter fumble against the Vikings. While this fumble was ultimately meaningless, it came after a previous fumble against the Lions that did cost them the game.

Philadelphia Eagles
Oct 30, 2016; Arlington, TX, USA; Philadelphia Eagles running back Darren Sproles (43) runs with the ball against Dallas Cowboys safety J.J. Wilcox (27) at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports /

Against the Cowboys, it was Darren Sproles who received the majority of carries. He performed well, but his slight size raises questions about how well-suited he is for the lead role. Can he hold up if he gets over twenty touches a game? And can he take the kind of pounding that a fourth quarter “clock killer” needs to withstand?

Wendell Smallwood might have been given a shot at the job last week, but fumbling on his first carry isn’t the type of thing to make coaches have faith in him.

If the Eagles are leading in the fourth quarter this week, which back is going to get the call? Will Mathews or Smallwood get another shot at it? Or perhaps Kenjon Barner will get a chance.

The Week in Andy

Eagles fans may find themselves missing former coach Andy Reid. So every so often I’ll check in to see how “Big Red” is doing in Kansas City.

The scene: Andy Reid is in his office reviewing game film when offensive coordinator Brad Childress walks in.

Childress: Hey, coach

Reid: Chilly! How’s it going?

Philadelphia Eagles
Aug 15, 2015; Glendale, AZ, USA; Kansas City Chiefs special projects coach Brad Childress against the Arizona Cardinals during a preseason NFL football game at University of Phoenix Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports /

Childress: I have a few wrinkles I want to add to the game plan this week and I wanted to run them by you.

Reid: Sounds great! Why don’t you run it by Doug?

Childress: Doug?

Reid: Yeah. Doug Pederson. You know, the offensive coordinator?

Childress: Um…coach? Doug doesn’t work here anymore. He’s the head coach in Philly.

Reid: Whaaat? (Stands up and starts looking through his shelves at the binders stored there. Pulls one out and leafs through it.) Heh, how about that? You’re right.

Childress: Yeah, how about that?

Reid: He’s in Philly. You know, I used to be the coach there.

Childress: Actually I did know that, coach. I was your offensive coordinator there.

Reid: No kidding. So, if Doug’s gone, who’s our offensive coordinator now?

Childress: Um…I am.

Reid: Oh, great. So you should probably get going. I bet you have all sorts of offensive wrinkles you want to put in the game plan this week.

Childress: Uh…yeah. I’ll get right on that, coach.

The Wentz Watch

Philadelphia Eagles
Oct 30, 2016; Arlington, TX, USA; Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz (11) throws a pass in the second quarter against the Dallas Cowboys at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports /

After a game in which Carson Wentz didn’t throw a pass longer than fourteen yards, there have been some questions as to why the Eagles’ offense has become so limited. Is it because the offensive game plan has been conservative? Is it because the Eagles receivers can’t get open downfield? Or is Wentz reluctant to pull the trigger?

Regardless of the cause, the Eagles are going to need to find a way to get the ball downfield. While his receivers haven’t proven capable of winning one-on-one battles, Wentz may have to start throwing it in their direction and just hope for the best.

Next: Eagles Cut Ties with Josh Huff Following Arrest


The Eagles have had the Giants’ number in recent seasons, and I don’t see that changing this week. The Eagles defense should be able to limit the Giants’ offense, and I think Wentz will connect on at least one ball over 20 yards this week.

Eagles 24 – Giants 17