Eagles vs. Giants: Keys to the Divisional Rematch
Coming out of their week 9 bye, the 3-4-1 Birds are slated to take on the 2-7 New York Giants. This contest is a rematch as the teams recently squared off in primetime during Thursday Night Football in week 7. The game was sloppy for both sides but ultimately resulted in a comeback victory for the Eagles, giving them a precarious divisional lead in the NFC East which they still hold. The Birds are looking to continue their two-game winning streak while the Giants are hungry for revenge. Find the keys to the matchup below.
QB Comparison: Wentz vs. Jones
I’m fairly certain both organizations are sick of hearing about subpar play from their quarterbacks…but its not going to stop until their performances change. Carson Wentz has surely outplayed Daniel Jones this season, but it’s only translated into one more victory and both players have made mistake after mistake in 2020.
Daniel Jones essentially created an instant meme the last time these teams met as he broke away for a long rushing touchdown only to trip over his own insecurity and fail to make it to the endzone. While both quarterbacks threw interceptions in the game, Wentz did soundly outduel his opponent, limiting that pick to his only turnover on the day and throwing for practically double the amount of yardage (359 to 187).
The Eagles offense was severely undermanned in that game so a lot of pressure was put on Wentz to make things happen. That’s not quite the case anymore and if Wentz can slide into a mistake-free game-manager role, that should be enough for the Eagles. I personally don’t think Daniel Jones can go a game without turning the ball over at least once and the Birds defense was all over him in week 7. Speaking of the defense…
Eagles Defense: Keep the Turnovers Coming
The Eagles have had an extra week to prepare for this matchup and it should be a dominant one for their defense. During their last meeting with the Giants, they garnered three sacks while recovering two fumbles and getting an interception. Brandon Graham has been providing energy for this defense all year and has been vocal about not letting up, especially in these divisional matchups.
The Eagles defense is coming off their best performance of the year, as they held the Cowboys to under 10 points in week 8. However, say what you will about Daniel Jones, he is certainly more competent than Ben DiNucci who the Cowboys had under center. The key to this game for the Birds defense will be continuing to force turnovers and letting the offense start drives with favorable field position. I don’t expect this game to be a high-scoring affair so field goals could really be important.
Miles Sanders: A Return to Form?
Miles Sanders was missing for the first meeting between these two teams. Boston Scott served well in his absence, even catching the game-winning touchdown. However, Miles Sanders is an elite talent and a true three-down running back. The Eagles offense is always going to be more dangerous with him in the backfield.
Sanders will be itching to go after sitting out the last three weeks. He’s had extra time to recover with the Eagles bye and now should be the focal point of the Eagles’ attack. The Giants actually have a formidable rush defense, ranking #6 on the year, so it won’t be easy sledding for Sanders. However, his ability to both bruise up in the middle with power runs and catch the ball out of the backfield should afford him the versatile ability to help the Eagles offense in a variety of ways. Sanders has been nothing short of awesome when he has been healthy this year and I’m truly excited to see him back in form for this game.
Eagles Weapon to Use: Dallas Goedert
During the Eagles first matchup with the Giants this year, they were without both of their top tight ends, Zach Ertz and Dallas Goedert. That left the role to Richard Rogers, who was terrific down the stretch and helped the Birds achieve victory with six receptions for 85 yards.
Dallas Goedert is healthy again and the tight end responsibilities should fall on him for this contest. There’s understandably a lot of excitement about rookie wide receiver Jalen Reagor and second year sensation Travis Fulgham. While those wideouts will get special attention for the Giants defense, I’m calling for a breakout game from Dallas Goedert who has often flashed big-play and touchdown ability in the past. Week 1 of this year saw him go for 8 receptions for 101 yards and a touchdown. A similar statline is due.
Giants Weapon to Take Away: Evan Engram
Giants tight end Evan Engram was a drop away from icing the game the last time these two teams met. Fortunately for the Birds, he couldn’t secure an easy pass and the game continued. Engram has been the most targeted pass catcher on the Giants this year, and consequently the best bet to be a threat in this game. He has a whopping 29 targets in his last three games and is also coming off his first receiving touchdown of the season. The Giants have shown a willingness to get creative with Engram’s utilization, sometimes even allowing him rushing attempts near the goalline. There aren’t too many offensive weapons for Daniel Jones to work with but Evan Engram so Evan Engram should be the clear focus for the Eagles defense.
The Giants have played close games in all four of their divisional matchups this year, the largest margin of victory being only three points. I envision this contest to be a nailbiter too. While I don’t fully trust either of these quarterbacks with the game on the line, I trust Daniel Jones less. Eagles 24, Giants 23.