WHEN THE EAGLES HAVE THE BALL
The Eagles enter the game with the NFL’s fifth-ranked offense, averaging 381 yards in the first two weeks. Most of those yards came through the air. This would be a good week for the Eagles to tilt the run-pass distribution, which featured a called run only 19 percent of the offensive plays last week. The Giants rank No. 28 in the NFL in run defense, allowing 133.5 yards per game. So there could be opportunities for the Eagles, but that will require them to run the ball. LeGarrette Blount had a small role last week and could see his playing time jump this week. Darren Sproles remains the most valuable running back on the team. Wendell Smallwood and Corey Clement should also mix in. Clement has not carried the ball this season. The Eagles are expected to replace Isaac Seumalo with Chance Warmack in the starting lineup. Seumalo has struggled, and Warmack’s run-blocking ability and experience could help the line. Defensive tackle Damon Harrison is a good run-stuffer in the middle of the Giants defense.
Carson Wentz will look for his third consecutive 300-yard passing performance against a Giants defense that is ranked 11th in the NFL with only 191 passing yards allowed per game. That will make it a challenge, and the Eagles must protect Wentz better after allowing six sacks last week. The Giants have a good pass rush, led by defensive ends Jason Pierre-Paul and Olivier Vernon. Safety Landon Collins has become one of the NFL’s best at his position. Top cornerback Janoris Jenkins is questionable with an ankle injury. If he’s out, it could be a big game for Alshon Jeffery, who was a major factor against Kansas City. The Giants also start Voorhees native Eli Apple and use former Eagle Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie in the slot. Zach Ertz is off to a hot start and could take advantage of a defense that allowed 12 receptions to the opposing team’s top tight end the last two weeks.
On field goals, the Eagles will need a better performance from rookie Jake Elliott. He went 2 of 3 last week, missing on a 30-yarder.
WHEN THE GIANTS HAVE THE BALL
The key for the Eagles defense will be putting pressure on Eli Manning, who has been sacked eight times this season. The Giants offensive line has been a problem, and the Eagles’ defensive line has been the team’s strength. That potential mismatch could swing the game in the Eagles’ direction. On Manning’s blind side, left tackle Ereck Flowers allowed three sacks last week. Vinny Curry and Derek Barnett both rush from that side. Left guard Justin Pugh, a Council Rock South graduate, might need to move to right tackle with Bobby Hart sidelined with an ankle injury. Brett Jones would start at left guard in place of Pugh. The strength of the Eagles’ defensive line is the other side, where Fletcher Cox and Brandon Graham wreak havoc. Manning is one of the NFL’s most accomplished quarterbacks, although he’s a different player when under pressure.
If the Eagles cannot win at the line of scrimmage, it could be a long day because they have major questions in the secondary. Safety Rodney McLeod is questionable with a hamstring injury and will be a game-time decision. Backup safety Corey Graham is out. Cornerbacks Ronald Darby and Jaylen Watkins are both sidelined. Rasul Douglas is expected to start. So the Eagles are down to their third-string cornerback, and could be using a third-string safety if McLeod cannot play. They’ll be challenged by wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr., one of the NFL’s elite players. Beckham is getting healthier each week after missing the season-opener with a sprained ankle. Veteran receiver Brandon Marshall plays on the other side, but the Eagles must also be aware of rookie tight Evan Engram, the Giants’ first-round pick, who is a threat in the middle of the field.
The Giants have the NFL’s 32nd-ranked rushing offense, totaling only 48.5 rushing yards per game. Their No. 1 running back is Paul Perkins, who is averaging only 1.9 yards per carry in two games. The Eagles are 14th in the NFL in rushing defense, although they allowed a 53-yard touchdown run last week.
That’s how many times the Eagles have sacked Giants quarterback Eli Manning in 26 career games. It’s the most sacks by any team that Manning has faced. Trent Cole has nine of those sacks. The Cowboys have sacked Manning 52 times in 26 games, and the Redskins have 37 sacks in 25 games against Manning. Manning’s 29 interceptions against the Eagles and 16 losses to the Eagles are also his most against any opponent. The Giants lost five of their last six games against the Eagles.
Zach Berman: Eagles 21, Giants 16
Jeff McLane: Eagles 23, Giants 20
Les Bowen: Eagles 17, Giants 13
Paul Domowitch: Eagles 22, Giants 20