Week 3: New York Giants vs Philadelphia Eagles previews and predictions

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Giants
Giants

When The Giants Have The Ball

The Giants’ offensive line hasn’t had good showings against the Dallas Cowboys and Detroit Lions. They will face an Eagles front seven that is one of the most formidable in the NFL. So far, the Eagles defense have eight sacks, the same number of sacks the Giants have surrendered.

Left tackle Ereck Flowers barely laid a hand on Lions defensive end Ezekiel Ansah last Monday night. This week he faces Vinny Curry. Curry is not the pass rusher that Ansah is but he will give Flowers problems.

With Bobby Hart out with an ankle injury, the Giants will use a patchwork offensive line featuring Flowers, left guard Brent Jones, center Weston Richburg, right guard John Jerry, and right tackle Justin Pugh. They will face a relentless Eagles pass rush including Curry, Brandon Graham, and Chris Long coming off the edge and Fletcher Cox and Timmy Jernigan in the middle.

In other words, it’s going to be a long day for the offensive line and quarterback Eli Manning.

The Giants running game has been stuck in neutral. Paul Perkins doesn’t look like he should be starting on an NFL roster. Orleans Darkwa has showed more prowess but hasn’t gotten enough touches. It remains to be seen if head coach Ben McAdoo overcomes his own ego and stubbornness to see what Darkwa can do. Darkwa certainly can’t do any worse than Perkins.

Let’s assume (and this is a huge assumption) that the offensive line is able to create lanes for the running backs and provide Manning more protection than he’s received so far. What is he going to do in the passing game exactly? Odell Beckham Jr. is still not at full strength and Brandon Marshall is a shell of his former self. Evan Engram, who has scored the Giants’ only touchdown this season, cleared the concussion protocol but there’s no telling how effective he will be.

The Eagles’ secondary could be a little thin with cornerback Jaylen Watkins and safeties Rodney McLeod and Corey Graham dealing with hamstring injuries. Then again, the Giants’ air attack hasn’t been what it was predicted it would be.

When The Eagles Have The Ball

The Eagles have offensive line issues of their own. Quarterback Carson Wentz has been sacked eight times and hit 19 times in two games, the most hits in the NFL. Now they get to face the edge-rushing, playmaking duo of Jason Pierre-Paul and Olivier Vernon and the run stuffing Damon “Snacks” Harrison.

Wentz, unlike his New York counterpart, is a mobile quarterback who has no issues taking off and running. On one hand, it’s a component to his game that makes him more dangerous. On the other hand, it also makes him susceptible to taking unnecessary punishment (say what you will about Manning, his durability is one of his biggest assets).

B.J. Goodson will miss his second consecutive start with a shin injury, which means Calvin Munson will be called into duty. Munson, an undrafted rookie, looked as if belonged out there against the Lions, handling the defensive play calling duties like a seasoned vet.

Janoris Jenkins is questionable. He didn’t practice this week so there’s a better than average chance he won’t take the field in Philadelphia. If he’s not able to go, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie would play the outside and trade acquisition Ross Cockrell would see his workload increased.

Both Rodgers-Cromartie and Cockrell did a good job in coverage last week against Detroit but they lack the physicality that Jenkins brings to the game. Jenkins also takes whatever side of the field he is on.

The Eagles’ running game is nothing to fear, with Wentz as the team’s leading rusher through two games with 61 yards. This is significant because the team has been unable to get Darren Sproles and LeGarrette Blount going on the ground. Expect the Giants to give them problems as well.

Tight end Zach Ertz is the team’s leading receiver and the Giants defense will look to take him out of the game. Wentz has only thrown four touchdowns in the first two games, an opening day win against the Washington Redskins and last week’s loss to the Kansas City Chiefs. He has no problem completing passes but getting into the end zone has been somewhat difficult for him.

Special Teams

The Giants’ special teams will be looking to redeem itself after Lions running back Jamal Agnew returned a punt 88 yards for a touchdown that sealed the Giants’ fate Monday night. Aldrick Rosas still hasn’t missed a field goal or extra point, going back to the preseason. The Eagles’ kicking game has been in flux as well. Jake Elliott missed a chip-shot attempt against the Chiefs just before halftime. The return game for both teams hasn’t been awe inspiring.

Who Will The Win

The Giants have had trouble with the Eagles in recent years, losing five of their last six games against the Eagles. The losses are mostly because of Philly’s ferocious pass rush. The Giants’ lone win was a 28-23 game in Week 9 last season. Wentz threw interceptions on the Eagles’ first two drives that turned into Giants touchdowns. Philly eventually settled down but the Giants held on for the victory.

Four of Philadelphia’s defensive lineman have at least one sack. The Giants have an inability to keep defenders at bay and keep them off Manning’s backside. Even if the defense does its job, the offense hasn’t produced touchdowns. When you throw in the fact this is the Eagles’ home opener and went 6-2 at Lincoln Financial Field last season, the Giants are in for it on Sunday.

Pierre-Paul said he can’t see the Giants going 0-3. Unfortunately, all evidence points to the contrary.

Eagles-17 Giants-7

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