The Giants come off their bye week to host NFC East rivals, the Philadelphia Eagles, who fell short to the Dallas Cowboys in an 29-23 overtime loss in week 8. The Giants are currently on a 2 game winning streak after beating the Ravens at home and then the Rams away in London. Both teams desperately need a win, as they look to keep pace with the Dallas Cowboys, who lead the NFC East with a record of 6-1, and who play the Cleveland Browns in week 9.
Keys to the game for the Giants
1. Offense needs to get going
Hopefully over the bye week, Ben McAdoo and the offense have sat down and gone over why this highly talented group of players are not playing to their full potential. The Giants offense will need to step their game up against one of the best defenses in the league, a unit that has only give up an average 16 points per game, which is top 5 in the NFL. One of the problems for the offense is that they are predictable. The Giants come out in the same 1 1 personnel (1 running back, 1 tight end, 3 wide receivers) 96% of the time. That is an incredible high number and allows defensive coordinators to easily plan against the Giants offense.
2. Protect Eli Manning
The Giants offensive line is nowhere near good enough to deal with this talented Eagles pass rush, who have sacked the QB 22 times this year (T-2nd in the NFL). Brandon Graham and Fletcher Cox leads the team in sacks (both with 4), but 10 other Eagles defenders have got to the QB this year, showing that they are creative with their blitz’s and have excellent pass rushers across the board. The key here is for Manning to get the ball out quick, he cannot be standing in the pocket for 3-4 seconds, as the pass rush WILL get to him.
3. Rush Defense + 4. Negating Darren Sproles
The Eagles run the ball effectively, with their 1-2 punch of Darren Sproles and Ryan Matthews, averaging over 100 yards per game on the ground. The Giants defense has improved against the run, having not allowed a 100 yard game by any running back all season (E.Elliot-51, T.Gurley-57, E.Lacy-81). The battle between the Giants D-line and the Eagles running backs should be an interesting one and could potentially decide the game.
Negating Darren Sproles ties in with the Rush D, but Sproles is also a handful in the pass game. With no real headline wide receiver, Sproles has become a big part of this offense, with 22 reception for 272 yards and 1 touchdown. The Giants should look to safety Landon Collins, who is playing at a pro bowl level right now, to negate Sproles. The Giants will have success if they force QB Carson Wentz to look elsewhere other than Sproles.
5. Have a clean game
Divisional games are hard to predict, and most come down to who plays the cleaner game on the day. Turnovers and penalties have been an issue for the Giants all season and in a game like this, they could be the deciding factor.
Prediction; Eagles 21-23 Giants