Eagles fans are still feeling good, watching clips of Max Kellerman, Chris Broussard and Skip Bayless try to explain how Carson Wentz and his depleted cast from the Island of Misfit Toys managed to humiliate the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday at Lincoln Financial Field.
Man, it’s been a great couple of days.
Fans can afford to milk a victory like that for all it’s worth, but for the team, they need to turn the page quickly, because on Sunday, the Eagles are facing a Giants squad that nearly beat them three weeks ago with a quarterback who is playing his best ball of the season.
On Sunday in Washington, rookie QB Daniel Jones was on fire, and it was impressive.
Daniel Jones 28/42 352 yards— Bobby Skinner (@BobbySkinner_) December 22, 2019
5 TD 0 INT
All 5 TD’s including a walkoff win for Daniel Jones! pic.twitter.com/guXBIsD7Rd
Certainly, Jones was not facing a defensive juggernaut against Washington, as many of his throws were to wide open receivers. But according to Elias, no other rookie QB in NFL history had ever thrown for 350 yards with five touchdowns and no picks in a single game. In his last six starts he’s thrown 17 TDs and just 4 INTs while completing 62.8% of his passes for a QBR of 99.2. On Sunday, he showed accuracy and a strong arm with some touch as well, and against an Eagles defense that struggles on the road (29.0 points per game vs. 16.9 at home), Jones could be in line for another big day.
He has some quality targets to throw to, too. Darius Slayton lit the Eagles up the last time these two teams met, Golden Tate is a solid slot receiver and Sterling Shepard has the ability to move the chains as well. Not only that, when the Eagles and Giants met a few weeks ago, running back Saquon Barkley was not 100%.
He’s 100% now.
Barkley had 279 yards from scrimmage on 26 touches and two touchdowns against Washington. He’s a problem.
But the Eagles have largely handled the running game this year. It’s the passing game the team has struggled with, and without Ronald Darby on the field, the secondary will have their hands full with a solid receiving corps and a rookie quarterback who is coming off the best game of his career.
Of course, Jones has been up-and-down. He’s been what you’d expect from a rookie in his first season.
Two weeks ago against the Packers at home he went 20-for-37 for 240 yards with one touchdown and three interceptions for a QB rating of 49.4. He had an 86.6 rating the week before that against the Bears in Chicago, going 21-for-36 with two touchdowns and no picks. But he’s also had two other games, in addition to last weekend, when he’s thrown for four touchdowns and no interceptions, against the Lions and the Jets.
Look, I'm not going to sit here and tell you the Giants offense is awesome, because it isn’t. Prior to Sunday, the team had lost eight games in a row and in just three of them did they score at least 20 points. They’re 19th in points per game (21.6) this season. They have four wins. Their defense is perhaps the worst in the NFL. Wentz and the Eagles should have little trouble putting some points up on the board.
But if the Eagles go into Sunday afternoon’s contest thinking the hard part is done and take the Giants lightly, they’re going to lose. All the good feelings about the victory over the Cowboys, and all the pats on the back and congratulations they’re receiving from the national media for their heart and toughness will have been negated.
The Eagles need to play with the same sense of urgency on Sunday against the Giants that they did against Dallas, especially on defense. They need to bring that home game mentality to MetLife Stadium, because if they don’t, New York will pile up the points, thanks to an improving Daniel Jones and a decent supporting cast.