The Philadelphia Eagles and New York Giants have a rich history of crazy football games, dominant performances, and jaw-dropping endings.
Whether it was Chuck Bednarik’s hit on Frank Gifford in 1960, the Miracle of the Meadowlands I, Jason Sehorn’s pick-six on Donovan McNabb, or Jeff Garcia and Asante Samuel sending the Giants home early in two different seasons, the history between the two squads is deeper than any other rivalry in football.
Therefore, it’s hard to gauge how the third meeting will go between the two teams. Philadelphia has never beaten a team three times in a season before in their history. The Giants on the other hand are coming into Saturday’s contest brimming with confidence. The last two times they have won on Wild Card Weekend, they have gone on to win the Super Bowl.
It’s hard scouting a team you’ve seen several times over the last month. But when it comes to the Eagles, the Giants’ scouting report is quite simple.
Philadelphia Eagles (14-3)
Last Game: 22-17 win over New York Giants
Offensive Ranking: 3rd
Defensive Ranking: 2nd
Head Coach: Nick Sirianni
Offensive Coordinator: Shane Steichen
Defensive Coordinator: Jonathan Gannon
Jalen Hurts’ meteoric rise to NFL stardom has been a sight to see this season. Once an MVP candidate, the Eagles starting quarterback has greatly progressed in arm talent, accuracy, and decision-making. That was before his shoulder injury though. Hurts may be off the injury report but he’s still recovering from a shoulder sprain that cost him two games in the regular season. How healthy he is will be determined early on Saturday.
The Eagles’ offense is loaded with playmakers. AJ Brown and DeVonta Smith are the first 1,000-yard tandem in team history, while Miles Sanders had a career year himself. Throw in Dallas Goedert and the Eagles have plenty of skill position candidates that the Giants need to account for.
The strength of the group though is the offensive line. Lane Johnson is expected to be back this week which means Philly’s offense will be even more dynamic. Jason Kelce and Johnson are the two first-team All-Pro candidates for the team and rightfully so. They are the best at their respective position.
If there’s a weakness for this offense though it’s complacency in their coaching staff. The Eagles got out to an 8-0 start this season by not turning the ball over but have actually tripled their turnover margin since then. Add in a consistent offensive gameplan over the weeks from the Eagles coaching staff, and the team is vulnerable if you can confuse Hurts’ at the line.
The Giants did that in the last game of the year so expect to see more of that on Saturday.
Don’t let Jonathan Gannon’s numbers fool you, the Eagles’ defense can be had on Saturday. Philadelphia may rank tops in the league in yards, passing, and rushing, but this is a susceptible group.
The Eagles’ defensive line has tallied a franchise-best 70 sacks. But with a scrambling quarterback like Daniel Jones, the pass rush could be greatly limited on Sunday. Even Philly’s linebacking core, while improved, could struggle against the shiftiness of Saquon Barkley and the Giants rushing attack.
The big question will be in the secondary. Teams struggled to throw the ball all season on Philadelphia but injuries have played a major role in their demise. They have since gotten back starting safety Chauncey Gardner-Johnson but Avonte Maddox’s foot injury leaves the Eagles vulnerable in the slot.
Darius Slayton and Isaiah Hodgins could have big games on Saturday coming against the Eagles slot corner. Saquon has also been held relatively quiet in their two games this season so expect a big game from him as well. Expect Jones to be able to make plays whether with his arm or legs going into this one.
Player to Watch: Jalen Hurts
The Eagles go as Hurts’ goes. That much is simple. Hurts’ dominance throughout the season has overshadowed that two of his worst games of the year have come in his last two starts. Wink Martindale’s disguised blitzes will come in handy to confuse the franchise quarterback.
In Philadelphia’s 22-17 win over New York’s backups during the season finale, the disguised blitzes worked perfectly to confuse Hurts who was still nursing his shoulder injury. With the mobile quarterback less likely to scramble, it opens the door for New York to send more creative blitzes at the Eagles’ offense.
Jalen Hurts is a great player but there is a way to beat him.
Eagles Injury Report (Latest Practice)
DNP: Avonte Maddox (foot)
Limited: Lane Johnson (groin), Linval Joseph (calf), Robert Quinn (back)