The week leading up to this game has been one of the most fun I can remember. From #BlackSunday to Jason Pierre-Paul's inability to count to five, it shows that this rivalry is alive and well. That this Week 6 match-up means a lot is icing on the cake. There's a lot of talking this week, so let's get to it:
The Giants Are Dumb
Earlier this week, Giants defensive lineman Jason Pierre-Paul said that, while the Eagles are in fact 4-1 (so far so good on the math, JPP), they could just as easily be 0-4 (aww, so close). Were the Eagles playing just about any other team, we'd laugh this off, make some poorly-timed concussion joke and move on. But not this week. This week is Giants week, and everyone in that locker room is dumb and awful.
If this week has proven anything, it's that the Eagles are smarter than the Giants. This really shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone, because, well, Chip Rules Everything Around Me. Do Giants players lovingly post Photoshopped versions of their coach looking like Albert Einstein? No. In fact, according to center Jason Kelce, the Giants are stupid because of their head coach. Here's Jason on the WIP Morning Show this week:
"Well my response to that is, I don’t think Jason Pierre-Paul is smart enough to come up with that statement on his own," Kelce told Angelo Cataldi and the 94WIP Morning Show Friday morning. "I think he’s the type of guy that just reiterates what his coaches have been telling him. So, I’m a little worried about Tom Coughlin’s math ’cause I feel like maybe that’s where it was screwed up. Maybe it was just relayed to him."So you are not impressed by the intellect of the New York Giants?"That is correct," Kelce answered. "They are a good football team though, but yes."
Shots. Friggin. Fired.
Like so many awful things involving the Eagles, the national spotlight focused on this war of words because Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie did something he shouldn't have done. Earlier this week, DRC and newly-sexed Giants cornerback Prince Amukamara visited with Giants superfan License Plate Guy, and took a fun and seemingly innocuous photo:
Wow. Original stuff, guys. Also - "Super Bowls" is two words. Even their fans need some help with The Three Rs, apparently.
Forgetting for a minute that Rodgers-Cromartie has no room to gloat about the Eagles' lack of Super Bowls because he was brought in specifically to help the Eagles get one, our frenemies at Big Blue View pointed out this week that neither of those players should have been antagonizing the other team. It's the biggest game of the season so far for both teams, and it's not even a home game for the Giants. The crowd in Philly would be hostile enough without the week-long reminder of how smug the Giants are. At least Cromartie had the sense to apologize later in the week.
On the other hand, maybe the best thing about a rivalry game is that it allows players to shed some of their canned, calculated press conference jargon, show some personality and have a little fun. It's great when your center calls the opposing defense's young star an idiot. And it's even fun when a disgraced former Eagle switches teams and gets involved in the trash.
Weeks like this are one of the reasons we love this game, and it's even more fun when the smack talk reaches a WWE-approved level of ridiculousness. Rivalry games give us a rare chance to see our favorites athletes with a mischievous grin in their eye. and maybe, if we're lucky, a little bit of personality.
Read more: Jason Kelce thinks New York Giants are not very smart by Brandon Lee Gowton
Read more: Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie apologizes for making fun of the Eagles by Brandon Lee Gowton
Read more: New York Giants are busy trash talking the Philadelphia Eagles by Brandon Lee Gowton
Get On The Good Foot
At first blush, a night game against a divisional opponent who, oh by the way, has a surprisingly good defense might not seem like the best opportunity for the Eagles' struggling offense to get it going. But that first blush is as dumb as JPP (that's the last one, I swear).
Let's start with the run game. LeSean McCoy's 24 carries and 81 rushing yards last week were the most of the season so far. As our friend Tommy Lawlor pointed out this week, the rushing offense may not have looked overly impressive against the Rams, but it did show some real progress. Getting Lane Johnson back was and will continue to be huge, and the hope is that guys like David Molk and Matt Tobin can improve as they grow more comfortable in their respective positions. But most importantly, Shady's looked a little more like himself.
The bad news? New York ranks 10th against the run, giving up 99 yards per game on the ground. For comparison, the Eagles are surrendering 132, which is good for a 25th-place rank. Unfortunately, the news doesn't get much better. The Giants will likely bring pressure up the middle against Molk and Tobin, which could limit McCoy's ability to run north-south and may make Shady try some more of his east-west dancing. Keep an eye on Giants defensive tackle Jonathan Hankins, who will be the man in the middle against the banged up Eagles interior line.
Read more: Hope for the Eagles Ground Game by Tommy Lawlor
Read more: Eagles vs. Giants Injury Report: DeMeco Ryans questionable, Mychal Kendricks out by Brandon Lee Gowton
Listen to BGN Radio: Eagles vs. Giants 2014: Huge game for Philadelphia and New York
Maybe the only player who needs a good game more than McCoy is Nick Foles. Confidence and mechanics appear to be two of Foles' biggest issues this season, and this game presents an opportunity for him to get back into the good graces of the city and the coaching staff. It's possible that the deep passing game could be effective in this game, even against a Giants secondary that could be inconsistent. Rodgers-Cromartie battled injuries during the Falcons game last week, and despite all his natural speed, the Eagles may want to test his gimpy ankle and hamstring.
This is a game where Foles and the Eagles should do what they know works well: get the ball to your tight ends, let your playmakers get yards after the catch, and sprinkle in the screen game. Those kinds of plays can get Foles' confidence up, and maybe that will help get the deep passing game going some more.
As we've seen in recent years, season stats can largely be thrown out the window for rivalry games. The Eagles offense needs to play to its strengths and get the Giants defense on its heels, especially early.
Read more: Eagles vs. Giants Preview: Perfect time for Philadelphia to play a complete game by Brandon Lee Gowton
Read more: Eagles-Giants Scouting Report: Philadelphia Punt Block Party by Dave Mangels
Read more: Eagles-Giants Week 6 Preview: Less LeSean McCoy, More Darren Sproles? by Mike Kaye and Dan Klausner
A Walk Down Memory Lane
Smack talk is fun, but remembering times when the Eagles took down the Giants is even more fun. For our final section of the day, I asked you, the members of Bleeding Green Nation, to tell us your favorite memories in Eagles-Giants history. And you fine folks did not disappoint:
Wanna be featured in Saturday's "This Week In @BleedingGreen" column? Send me your favorite Eagles-Giants memory and I'll include the best.— Patrick Wall (@ByPatrickWall) October 6, 2014
Bleeding Green Nation - Bringing People Together Over Memories Of A Disappointing First Round Pick™
@ByPatrickWall my 1st Eagles/Giants gm. DEC 09 in Giants stadium. Had my VICK jersey on and caught hell. Djax PR TD and 60 Yarder from DMAC— Fly Eagles Fly (@shotime40) October 6, 2014
I am so glad someone picked this game. It was vintage Andy Reid Eagles. You can check out the recap here, and man does this game include some goodies. Highlights include:
- Using Vick in the Wildcat, like, every time the Eagles got into the red zone.
- Great play by the cornerbacks (missin' u, Lito and Sheldon) and really, really bad tackling by Asante Samuel.
- A DeSean Jackson punt return that gave us one of the coolest Eagles photos in recent memory.
- A Leonard Weaver touchdown! Loved that guy.
I can't believe we've made it this far into the column without mentioning MANNINGFACE. I'm sorry, everyone. That's on me. I've gotta do a better job there.
Nope. There are not.
@ByPatrickWall 2003, 0-2, Donovan was struggling, and we were on the verge of 0-3. Then Westbrook saved the season with his punt return.— Austin (@DadSelfie) October 6, 2014
A true Philadelphia classic.
But let's be real, you guys. There's really only one answer to this question:
@ByPatrickWall Has to be Miracle at the New Meadowlands. DeSean Jackson delivered one of the most exciting plays I've ever seen.— Cameron (@ShadyScores) October 6, 2014
@ByPatrickWall Watching the New Miracle, my friend called the famous walk-off PR right before it happened. I tackled him right after.play.— Let Curry Hunt (@Randyljobst) October 6, 2014
Love him or hate him, this is the best moment in Eagles-Giants history, and probably one of the top five best moments in team history. Hell, NFL.com recently voted it the best play ever. And if it makes you feel any better, Darren Sproles could totally do this play and probably do it without requiring Jason Avant to concuss himself.
Read more: Philadelphia Eagles work out Kenjon Barner by Brandon Lee Gowton
There are probably more words to write about this game, and certainly much more to talk about. But the game is tomorrow, by now we're all tired of the talk. It's Giants Week, it's #BlackSunday, and it's primetime. Let's freakin' go.