5 Key Matchups for the Eagles Home Opener vs Giants
The Eagles have beaten the Giants three straight times at the Linc - a fourth in a row would send the G-Men to an 0-3 start to the season, meanwhile it would advance the Eagles to a 2-1 start.
In two games, the Giants offense has scored only 13 points and haven't scored 20 or more in seven consecutive contest (8 including playoffs). As the Eagles approach Sunday’s game in Philadelphia, the defense has a chance to really set the tone and get after Eli Manning.
Here are five things to watch for Sunday:
1. Expect change along the offensive line.
We all expect Chance Warmack to get the start at left guard over Isaac Seumalo. According to Pro Football Focus, Seumalo was the Eagles easily the lowest rated offensive lineman on the team. Seuamalo struggled against Chiefs defensive tackle Chris Jones, allowing four sacks in the game, which got the Eagles thinking about the change.
The timing of a change could help; Warmack played right guard for the Tennessee Titans so he has plenty of starting experience. And one of the keys of succeeding against the Giants defense is up-front. The Giants defensive line is very good and Damon Harrison might be one of the best run-suffers in the league. Both Warmack, and right guard Brandon Brooks with have to help center Jason Kelce in the interior of the line if the Eagles want to have any semblance of a running game against the Giants.
Key Stat: Philadelphia has allowed 3 sacks to players lined up at right DT, 2nd-most in the NFL. Those 3 sacks account for 20 percent of the league’s total output (15 such sacks).
2. The Eagles banged-up Secondary vs Giants passing game.
The Eagles weakness entering the season was the secondary, and while it has held out for them in two games so far, the injuries are starting to pile up. The Eagles are already without Ronald Darby, and now will be missing Jaylen Watkins, Corey Graham and most likely Rodeny McLeod. Hust who will suit up in the Eagles secondary is a mystery, but its an area that the Giants no doubt with target. Watch for Odell Beckham Jr. to be more involved in the game-plan, and the Giants to target the Eagles banged-up secondary early and often.
Key Stat: Through 2 games, the Giants are averaging 5.1 yards per play with Odell Beckham Jr. on the field (33 snaps) and 4.5 yards per play with him off the field (75 snaps).
3. Eagles defensive line vs Giants offensive line.
This is the match-up that has been discussed all week. The Eagles with nine sacks, are tied for fourth in the league in that department. Meanwhile the Giants offensive line is one of, if not the worst thus far in football - its one of the main reasons the team hasn't been able to score points. If the Eagles can pressure Manning, we know he is prone to make mistakes in many of the Eagles games vs the Giants. Manning is just 4-12 against the Eagles since 2009 and the Eagles pressure against him is a big reason why.
Key Stat: According to ESPN state & info, over the last 2 seasons, Manning owns the 5th-worst QBR among qualified QBs when pressured. He's thrown 2 touchdowns against 6 interceptions on those plays.
Key Stat; The Eagles have pressured opposing QBs on 57.1 percent of 3rd-down dropbacks this season, the 2nd-highest rate in the NFL.
4. Carson Wentz vs Giants pressure.
One of the things the Giants do well is pressure the QB, and Carson Wentz has been hit more times than any quarterback in the NFL. We all know and expect the Eagles to throw the ball often, which plays into the strength of the Giants - their pass rush. Doug Pederson trusts his young quarterback and the Eagles will need Wentz to recognize the pass rush and not force the issue.
Key Stat: 74.4 percent of Eagles offensive snaps this season have been designed pass plays, the 2nd-highest rate in the NFL.
5. The Eagles Linebackers vs Giants Tight End Evan Engram
The Eagles gave up a line of 8/103/1 line on ten targets to Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce in Week 2. The Giants would be wise to find Engram in the passing game against an Eagles defense that should generate plenty of pressure against Eli Manning - which means the short passing game should be a big part of their game-plan.
The Pick; Eagles 20, Giants 10
Sal Pal on Eagles vs Giants:
Outside View: Jordan Raanan, ESPN.com NFL Nation Giants reporter