Thursday, December 25, 2014

What we're watching: Divisional playoffs

Our weekly look at what we are watching in this weekend's Eagles game:

What we're watching: Divisional playoffs

Our weekly look at what we are watching in this weekend's Eagles game:

1. Defending Giants’ ground game: Since getting gashed for 219 rushing yards by the Giants in Week 10, the Eagles’ defense has stuffed the run better than anybody in the league. Held the Giants to 88 yards in their Week 14 rematch. Held NFL rushing champ Adrian Peterson to 83 yards last week. Needs to do the same Sunday to Brandon Jacobs and Derrick Ward.

2. The factor back: Brian Westbrook, who has battled knee and ankle injuries much of the season, had 203 rushing and receiving yards and both of the Eagles’ TDs in their Week 14 win over the Giants. In the four games since, he’s averaged just 3.0 yards per carry. He needs to be a factor again Sunday.

3. Takeaways: The Eagles have won five of their last six games and have 13 takeaways in those six games. None of those 13, though, came in their Week 14 win over the Giants, who have turned the ball over just 13 times this season. Eli Manning, who averaged an interception every 26.4 pass attempts last year, is averaging one every 47.9.

4. Who’s the Boss?: Giants tight end Kevin Boss has six TD catches. Had six receptions, 69 yards and one TD against the Eagles in Week 10. But tight ends haven’t had much luck vs. the Eagles lately. The second time around against the Eagles, Boss, the Redskins’ Chris Cooley and the Cowboys’ Jason Witten averaged a collective 6.8 yards per catch. The first time around: 13.7.

5. TDs or FGs: Neither the Eagles nor the Giants have been very adept in the red zone. The Giants are 20th in the league in red-zone offense, the Eagles 22nd. Ironically, the Eagles converted four of five red-zone opportunities into TDs in their first meeting with the Giants and lost, then went 0-for-3 in the rematch and won. The Giants aren’t going to score 36 points again against this defense. So if the Eagles can avoid relying on David Akers for points, they will greatly improve their chances for victory.

Paul Domowitch Daily News NFL Columnist
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Paul Domowitch Daily News NFL Columnist
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