Eagles Inactives, Pick and Matchup to Watch vs Giants
Philadelphia defeated St. Louis, 34-28, at home in Week 5, improving to 4-1 for the first time since 2006 with the victory. The Eagles led 34-7 and had to hold on for dear life as the Rams came charging back, but the win was the seventh straight regular-season home win -- the second-longest home winning streak of any NFC club (New Orleans -- 10).
The Giants and Eagles have split their season-series each of the last three years, and are meeting for the 159th time during the regular season this weekend.
In the 2012 draft, the Eagles took quarterback Nick Foles in the third round. Foles completed 24-of-37 passes for 207 yards with two touchdowns, one interception and one lost fumble in Sunday's Week 5 win over the Rams and is on pace to throw for 4,416 yards and 25 touchdowns.
The first overall pick in 2004, Eli Manning threw for 200 yards and two touchdowns (0 INT) against the Falcons last Sunday. Manning (9-10 in 19 career starts against Philadelphia) has 36 career touchdown passes versus the Eagles -- most of any quarterback all-time.
The Giants lead the all-time series 82-74-2.
(ESPN.com NFL insider KC Joyner looks at the match-up)
The Eagles will be missing linebacker Mychal Kendricks , who is out again for the fourth straight week with a calf injury, he will be replaced by the combination of Emmanuel Acho and Casey Matthews – a huge drop off. Last week the return of Lane Johnson gave the Eagles a little better push in the running game and allowed Todd Herremans to move back to right guard, after bumping out to right tackle for one week. Johnson's return helped the run game that had been non-existent the past two weeks, LeSean McCoy had 24 carries for 81 yards and Darren Sproles rushed seven times for 51 yards. Matt Tobin will start for the third week in a row in place of Evan Mathis at left guard. Finally, for the fourth time, David Molk will start at center in place of Jason Kelce who is out following sports hernia surgery.
On the Giants injury front, running back Rashad Jennings is out for the game with a sprained MCL. Rookie Andre Williams will get the start and should be up for the challenge carrying the football, but will he be able to pass protect is a big question for Giants fans. Defensive end Robert Ayers missed Friday's practice with neck spasms. Ayers has nine hurries and three sacks in only 162 snaps this season, but Giants coach Tom Coughlin did not sound optimistic that he will play.
(Listen to this week’s The Outside View with former Giants TE Howard Cross of the Giants Radio Network)
Howard Cross Part II:
Match-Up to watch:
(ESPN’s Sal Paolantonio talks about the match-up to watch)
Giants passing attack vs Eagles Secondary: So far in 2014, five different Giants have at least 10 catches, with tight end Larry Donnell leading the way with 25 and four touchdowns. This could be a matchup issue with Kendricks missing the game tonight, which Eagle linebacker will matchup with Donnell? Also the addition of rookie Odell Beckham to the passing game gives the Giants another weapon for Eli Manning who is starting to excel in this new Ben McAdoo offense. Beckham made an impact in his first NFL game last week with four catches for 44 yards and a TD. Rueben Randle along with Beckham will be matched up with Cary Williams and Bradley Fletcher with Brandon Boykin in the slot working against Victor Cruz.
Eagles’ inactives: RB Chris Polk, QB Matt Barkley, LB Mychal Kendricks, WR Brad Smith, C Jason Kelce, OL Dennis Kelly, and DE Taylor Hart.
Giants’ inactives: RB Rashad Jennings, OG Brandon Mosely, LB Spencer Paysinger, OL Adam Snyder, DE Kerry Wynn, OT James Brewer, and DT Jay Bromley.
Reaction: One of the big reasons for the Giants turn-around has been the play of their offensive line. Justin Pugh and Will Beatty have been much better on the outside for the Giants and it has given Eli Manning the ability to find his wide receiver targets fast and hit them them accuracy. Manning has been getting the ball out-of-his-hands very fast this season and it could affect the Eagles pass rush which has come alive of late. The Eagles mediocre secondary could be a big issue and the safeties could be called on to make a lot of key tackles.
Running back LeSean McCoy has been horrendous averaging a career-low 2.9 per carry. The All-Pro running back finished with 24 carries for 81 yards and caught four passes for five yards in Sunday's Week 5 win over the Rams. The feeling is McCoy is fine, the offensive line is a big issue with his struggles, McCoy is a second level runner who hasn't been able to get to the second level very often this season. One of the reasons for that could be the loss of DeSean Jackson. With Jackson in the mix, safeties used to follow him down-the-field, allowing McCoy to bounce out and hit the corner with regularity. Now that safety is up-in-the-box and when McCoy bounces out, he is greeted by a safety - who used to be running with Jackson.
The Eagles got more of Darren Sproles into the game plan last week - but still not enough. He was a huge factor in wins over Jacksonville and Indianapolis. Over the last three games, the Eagles offense has run 194 plays and Sproles has touched the ball 15 times. Tonight, the Eagles need to find ways to get him the ball in space and let him loose against a Giants defense that is very good vs. the pass. The Giants defense has a league-high eight interceptions and is limiting opposing quarterbacks to a 76.0 rating for the NFL's third-best mark.
Andre Williams is a big unknown, he was drafted in the fourth round of the NFL draft after rushing for over 2,000 yards in 2013. With Rashad Jennings sidelined, Williams is going to have an every-down role against the Eagles. He could be in for a breakout game against a Philadelphia defense that's allowing 132 rush yards per game. One issue for Williams and the Giants could be in the passing game, where reports this week were that the Giants do not trust Williams in the passing game.
The Pick: Giants 38, Eagles 27