Coming off a 20-20 tie against the Commanders a week ago, the Giants must now re-shift their focus as they stay at home to play the Eagles. Over the course of this season, the Eagles have been one of the best teams in the NFL. Led by Quarterback Jalen Hurts, their offense has been explosive and a lot of that is due to the introduction of Wide Receiver AJ Brown during the offseason. He’s been a force on the outside for Philadelphia, and the rest of their playmakers have also benefited from his arrival.
Their defense is nothing to look past either. They’ve allowed the fewest passing yards in the NFL, and they also have snagged the most interceptions in the league. Cornerbacks Darius Slay, CJ Gardner-Johnson, and former Giant James Bradberry have a lot to do with that statistic.
The Giants will have their hands full on Sunday as they face a team with a lot more talent and playmakers. Head Coach Brian Daboll called the Eagles the best team in the league earlier this week and his team will have to play their best game of the year if they want to walk away with a win.
New York did end up beating Philadelphia last season at home 13-7, but this is a much different team than they faced a year ago. They have to play with intensity and aggression if they want to end up on top. With that said, here are three things to watch out for this Sunday when the Giants play the Eagles.
1. Giants Have To Utilize A Consistent Running Game
For the Giants to have any success in this game, they have to find a way to limit the time that the Eagles have the ball. To do that, they need to run the ball on offense and shrink the game. They have the running back to do that, as Saquon Barkley has already run the ball over 30 times twice this season.
If you look back to the Eagles’ only loss this season against the Commanders in Week Ten, Washington ran the ball 49 times as a team compared to only passing it 29 times. They owned the time of possession battle as they had the ball for a little over 40 minutes while Philadelphia only had the ball for a little under 20.
It’s a winning recipe and one that worked to perfection. Washington did end up trailing 14-7 at the end of the first quarter but continued to stay in the fight. They never wavered from their game plan and went on to win 32-21. Even if the Giants are down in the early portion of the game, they can’t give up on the run. Whether it’s Saquon Barkley, Matt Breida, or even Daniel Jones running the ball, owning that time of possession battle will go a long way.
2. How Giants Pass-Rush Follows Last Week’s Performance
Last week against the Commanders, the Giants got after the quarterback as they got five sacks during the game. This is what Giants fans have been clamoring to see for a long time and Sunday gave us a glimpse into the potential this line has. Azeez Ojulari, Dexter Lawrence, and Kayvon Thibodeaux all got sacks during the game and put constant pressure on Washington QB Taylor Heinicke. This week, the Giants are facing a tougher test as the offensive line of the Eagles is one of the best in the entire NFL.
Right Tackle Lane Johnson, Left Tackle Jordan Mailata, and Center Jason Kelce are all considered one of the best at their positions which creates an intriguing battle up front. One position the Giants can center on though is left guard, which is played by Landon Dickerson.
Since the start of the season, Dickerson has done a nice job but has drawn ten penalties, the most in the NFL when it comes to offensive linemen. A big key for Sunday will be the health of Giants Defensive Tackle Leonard Williams. If he’s able to play, Williams and Dexter Lawrence can put a lot of pressure on Dickerson and those penalties could come in waves at that point.
3. How The Giants Handle The Moment And If It Gets Too Big For Them
One thing about this Giants team that is totally opposite from recent teams is their ability to fight with the big boys of the NFL. We’ve seen it in the opening game against the Titans, at home against the Ravens, and in London when they took on the Packers. They’ve found a way to fight back and not let the talent disparity swallow them up. Daboll discussed this week the idea that you can’t let one game be bigger than the rest due to the opponent.
“It’s just the most important game for that week. I think I’ve been 30 playoff games, a National Championship, five Super Bowls, nine AFC Championship games, been in some big games throughout my career as a position coach and as a coordinator. I don’t think you can let one game be bigger than any other game or one mean less than any other game. It’s the most important game because it’s the next one,” said Daboll in his press conference Wednesday.
It’s a mentality that doesn’t let you get too big in the moment and that will certainly get tested on Sunday. Even if the Giants are down early in the game, they can’t let that affect the rest of the game. Getting away from what you do best will only lead to more negative results. That’s where QB Daniel Jones will have to step in and be a leader for this offense. If he can take command throughout the game and play consistently throughout, the team will have a chance.