WHEN EAGLES RUN THE BALL
Just 33 of the Eagles’ 134 offensive plays in their first two games have been called run plays. They’re averaging 4.0 yards per carry, but that’s only because Carson Wentz’s scrambles (61 yards on eight runs) are factored in. Their RBs are averaging just 3.1 yards per carry with a total of two runs of more than 7 yards. LeGarrette Blount had 14 carries in Week 1 and zero in Week 2. Darren Sproles had 48 yards on 10 attempts vs. KC, but had just three second-half carries. RBs have just four rushing first downs in two games. The Giants have one of the league’s best defensive fronts. C Jason Kelce had his problems last year with Giants DT Damon Harrison. Still, the Eagles averaged 4.1 yards per carry vs. Giants in 2016. Giants are 22nd in the league in run defense (133.5 yards per game), but have gone up against two very good backs in the Cowboys’ Ezekiel Elliott and the Lions’ Ameer Abdullah.
WHEN EAGLES THROW THE BALL
Carson Wentz already has attempted 85 passes in the first two games. He’s thrown multiple TD passes in back-to-back games for the first time since Games 3-4 of last year and is fourth in the league in passing yards (640). Tight end Zach Ertz has been targeted 18 times and has a team-high 13 catches for 190 yards. A league-high 11 of his 13 catches have resulted in first downs. Wentz still is trying to get on the same page with his new starting wideouts, Alshon Jeffery and Torrey Smith. He’s targeted them a combined 31 times, but they have just 15 catches, thought Jeffery had seven Sunday. The Eagles’ screen game has been ineffective. They ran five of them vs. Chiefs, completed only two and had an interception. Wentz was sacked just twice in 71 attempts in the two games vs, Giants last year. The Giants have a 100.0 opponent passer rating, which is nearly 25 points higher than last year.
WHEN GIANTS RUN THE BALL
The Giants own the NFL’s worst running attack through the first two weeks. They’re averaging just 48.5 rushing yards per game and 3.2 yards per carry. They rushed for just 35 yards in their Week 1 loss to the Cowboys and 62 in their loss to the Lions. Like the Eagles, they’re using a RB-by-committee with Paul Perkins, Shane Vereen and Orleans Darkwa splitting the carries. Perkins averaged 4.1 yards per carry last year as a rookie, but has averaged just 1.9 in the first two games. Shane Vereen had a team-high 28 yards on six carries vs. the Lions, but he’s a better receiver than he is a runner. The Eagles are 14th against the run (88.0 yards per game). But 51 of the 176 rushing yards they’ve allowed have been by QBs. Another 53 came on one run (Kareem Hunt’s TD). They’ve allowed just 2.7 yards per carry on the other 27 rushing attempts.
WHEN GIANTS THROW THE BALL
The Giants have one of the most talented receiving corps in the league, but Eli Manning hasn’t been afforded much time to get the ball to them. He’s been sacked eight times in the first two games and been under pressure on a third of his dropbacks. He has a 72.9 completion percentage, but is averaging just 6.56 yards per attempt and has thrown just one TD pass. He’s completed 16 of 20 passes on third down, but just seven of those completions have been for first downs. Odell Beckham Jr. missed the Week 1 loss to Dallas with an ankle injury, but he played 34 snaps vs. Lions and should be good for close to a full workload this week. New addition Brandon Marshall has just two receptions on nine targets. The Eagles are fourth in the league in sacks per pass play. They will be without their best corner, Ronald Darby (dislocated ankle) and probably safety Rodney McLeod (hamstring). They need their front four to get pressure on Eli early and often.
PK Jake Elliott had an inauspicious start as injured Caleb Sturgis’s replacement, missing a 30-yard field goal attempt in loss to Chiefs. Elliott and Sturgis have just two touchbacks, but the Eagles are ninth in opponent drive start on kickoffs (23.0) and third themselves (26.1). P Donnie Jones is 28th in net average (38.5), but the Giants’ Brad Wing is 31st (35.2). The Giants gave up an 88-yard punt return for a touchdown to Lions rookie Jamal Agnew last week. The Eagles’ 34-year-old punt returner, Darren Sproles, has just one return (for 10 yards) on nine punts. The Giants opted not to re-sign veteran PK Robbie Gould after last season and have put their faith in 22-year-old Aldrick Rosas, a strong-legged first-year player out of NAIA-school Southern Oregon. Rosas has made both of his attempts this season, though neither was longer than 29 yards.
DOMO’S PREDICTION: Eagles 22, Giants 20
–Eagles CB Rasul Douglas vs. Giants WR Odell Beckham Jr.: Douglas played pretty well against the Chiefs in his NFL debut. But OBJ is one of the league’s best wideouts. ADVANTAGE: Giants.
–Eagles LDEs Vinny Curry/Derek Barnett vs. Giants LT Ereck Flowers: Flowers has given up four sacks in the first two games. Curry and Barnett are part of a fierce pass rush that has eight sacks in the first two games. ADVANTAGE: Eagles
–Eagles WR Alshon Jeffery vs. Giants CB Janoris Jenkins: Jeffery’s chemistry with Carson Wentz still is a work in progress, but he had seven catches for 92 yards and a TD vs. Chiefs. Jenkins, the Giants’ best corner, missed last week’s game with hand and ankle injuries. ADVANTAGE: Even
HOT AND NOT
Eagles: TE Zach Ertz. Has a team-high 13 receptions and is tied for the league-lead in receiving first downs (11).
Giants: TE Evan Engram. The rookie had four catches for 49 yards and a touchdown against the Lions on Monday night.
Eagles: LG Isaac Seumalo. The second-year player was largely responsible for four of the six sacks of Carson Wentz Sunday in the loss to the Chiefs.
Giants: LT Ereck Flowers. He has given up four sacks and a total of six pressures in the Giants’ 0-2 start.
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