5 Philadelphia Eagles the New York Giants Must Contain on Sunday
5 Eagles the Giants Must Shut Down
The New York Giants have miraculously had breath blown into them by the disaster that the NFC East has been this season. It really is amazing to think about. The Giants have been arguably the worst team in the NFL to this point, and yet, they could be one game out of first place after this weekend. With a win and a Dallas Cowboys loss, that is exactly where the Giants will be.
On Sunday, the Cowboys welcome the Denver Broncos to Dallas and the Giants host the Philadelphia Eagles. The Broncos have been an unstoppable force thus far and are heavy favorites even on the road, while the Giants are slight favorites at home.
Since their blowout win over the Washington Redskins in Week 1, the Eagles have hit on some hard times. They’ve lost three straight, dropping their record to just 1-3 on the year. Still, the Eagles have the No. 1 rushing attack in the league, compiling a whopping 198 yards per game. Overall, Philadelphia is also second in the NFL in total yards per game.
Basically, the New York defense is going to have their hands full. The defensive line’s inability to pressure the quarterback (even on blitzes) is crippling their defense. The Giants have also struggled against the run, placing just 28th in the NFL through four weeks. On paper, the matchup does not look favorable for the Big Blue “D.”
If the Giants are going to make up some ground on Sunday, the defense will have to step up and contain these five Eagles.
Riley Cooper may be listed as the second wide receiver on the depth chart, but Jason Avant’s numbers say otherwise. Avant has four more receptions and 53 more receiving yards than Cooper. The numbers don’t blow you away, but if things continue like this, Cooper will eventually lose his spot in the starting lineup. Without Corey Webster or Aaron Ross, it will likely be Trumaine McBride on Avant. McBride played well last week and will have to keep it going on Sunday.
Tight ends have absolutely shredded the Giants this season. Through four weeks, New York has given up a total of 23 receptions for 235 yards and four touchdowns to starting tight ends. Brent Celek hasn't been a major factor for the Eagles thus far. He’s only caught seven passes for 131 yards and one touchdown on the season. However, a matchup like this screams breakout game for the seven-year veteran. The Giants linebackers will have to step up and play better in pass coverage than they have so far if they’re going to stop Celek.
The memory of DeSean Jackson taking a punt to the house to cap off a frantic comeback is still imprinted in the minds of Giants fans. Jackson is a lightning bolt of speed and can change a game without a moment’s notice. He’s caught 21 passes for 393 yards and two touchdowns this season. Cornerback Prince Amukamara will likely draw the assignment of Jackson. Terrell Thomas may also spend some time on Jackson.
The Giants have had trouble taking away the legs of running quarterbacks this year. New York surrendered 45 yards and a touchdown to Cam Newton and 37 yards to Alex Smith. Michael Vick is even more explosive in this new offense. If the defensive line can’t get Vick under duress, he’ll be able to make defenders miss once he leaves the pocket. Vick has rushed for a total of 228 yards this season, which is only three less yards than the entire Giants team.
No surprise here. Running back LeSean McCoy has to have Giants fans chomping at their nails with worry. Chip Kelly’s offense has been like a shot of adrenaline for the five-year veteran. McCoy is erasing his forgettable 2012 with a mammoth 2013 season. He is currently first in the NFL in rushing with 468 yards and will force the Giants to make consistent open-field tackles on Sunday. The secondary and linebacking corps must be able to take away McCoy’s big-play ability because this year, he’s making cuts like Boobie Miles pre-surgery.