The hunt for .500 starts today!
The last time the Eagles lost to New York, it was Wentz and Pederson’s rookie seasons: a 28-23 contest in which Wentz completed just over 50% of his passes and threw two interceptions to zero touchdowns. Let’s hope we get a better effort than that this time around.
What’s interesting about the Eagles’ wining streak against the Giants isn’t the length, but rather the unlikely odds it has endured. In four of those eight wins, the Giants have held multiple score leads at some point in the game, including two in the second. The game from a few weeks ago was one such game, as the Giants were ahead 21-10 after scoring with 6:21 left in regulation.
The Eagles have been playing with fire in all of these New York games going all the way back to 2017, when a Jake Elliott 61-yard field goal allowed the Eagles to escape overtime after surrendering a 14-point fourth-quarter lead in their own right. This is not the team to mess around with, either: Joe Judge’s Giants, 2-7 on the year, have only played in two games decided by more than one possession (0-2), so they’re due for some positive regression on their 2-5 record in close games.
While the Giants have been prone to giving up big cushions so far this year, and historically against the Eagles, Philadelphia should try to do that which they haven’t all season: generate a commanding lead. Eventually, the Giants’ luck on these deficits is going to break their way.
503 - That’s how many receiving yards the Giants have allowed to running backs this year. It’s the highest number in the league.
Their 59 receptions to backs are second-most in the league as well, illustrating just how pass-catchers have been so successful coming out of the backfield.
These numbers have been boosted a bit by facing J.D. McKissic and the Washington Football Team twice — McKissic has burned the Giants for 15 catches and 102 yards in two games. But there’s a reason he got so many targets! In a heavy Cover 3 approach, the Giants’ poor talent at LB is often exposed by pass-catching backs, and they are comfortable taking a sink-and-rally philosophy in their underneath zones that allows for easy, free yardage to running backs on checkdowns.
Look no further than Boston Scott, Giant Slayer. Scott’s three most productive games as a receiver in his career have come against New York’s defense, and while they’ve added Blake Martinez at LB and switched defensive coordinators since his 2019 performances, his game in Week 8 (three catches, 46 yards, game-winning TD) solidifies the point: the Giants are weak to the RB target.
With Miles Sanders returned from injury, expect him to enjoy the soft passing game ground instead of Scott this week. That will not only include screen passes, but the quick angle route the Eagles have been trying to develop with him all season, as well as his usually flares to the flat.
It’s worth noting that there is no pass-catcher Wentz has had more difficulty targeting this year than Sanders, save for perhaps TE Zach Ertz, as he and his explosive running back regularly seem on different pages in regards to spacing and timing. If they can figure that out, the potential for easy stick-movers and big plays alike is there.
2.34 - That’s Daniel Jones’ average time to throw across the last three weeks. It’s the seventh-fastest figure in the league.
That’s pretty fast, but what matters is how fast it is relative to Jones’ figure earlier in the season. Through the first six weeks of the year, Jones’ time to throw was 2.77 — that’s a whole .33 second different. If one-third of a second doesn’t sound like a big deal, that 2.77 figure would take Jones from seventh-fastest to eighth-slowest on a list of 40 quarterbacks who have played this year. Big deal.
This is an especially big deal when you’re facing a team like Philadelphia, as regular readers of Bleeding Green will know. The quick passing game is the modern NFL’s best response to pass rushes that are growing more ferocious by the year. Against teams like Philadelphia in particular, opposing offenses have long sped up their passing game by running half-field reads, RPOs, or constraint plays to get the ball to playmakers before Jim Schwartz’s ferocious front four can even think about getting to the quarterback.
This has held so far this year. When facing quick passing games like Pittsburgh’s (Roethlisberger’s 2.13 time to throw is the best in the league), the Eagles couldn’t pray to cover a quality stable of receivers with their limited secondary talent, and accordingly the pass rush could not have the impact on the game it was paid to generate. Even against the Giants in Week 8 against a reeling offensive line, the Eagles only had three sacks and eight QB hits — an average outing against a markedly below-average opponent.
Even with slot separator Golden Tate questionable for the game against Philadelphia, the Giants have enough good pass-catchers in Darius Slayton, Sterling Shepard, Evan Engram, and even emerging rookie Austin Mack to find the guys not covered by Darius Slay and work them in a nickel-and-dime passing attack that not only protects Daniel Jones from the Eagles’ pass rush, but also from himself.