By Kevin McGuire
Nick Foles will be stepping in to guide the Philadelphia Eagles offense for the remainder of the 2017 season, beginning this week on the road against the New York Giants. In the first game after losing Carson Wentz to a season-ending ACL injury, the Eagles are still a considerable favorite on the road this weekend against the division rival Giants. New York is already in a position to think about what top players to take in the 2018 NFL Draft, as it looks as though the Giants will be locking down the second-overall pick in the upcoming draft.
The Giants have not had much luck since last playing the Eagles this season, but can they find a way to score an upset to throw a wrinkle in the Eagles’ postseason positioning?
The Giants are simply looking to avoid having their worst season since winning just four games in 2003, but the reality may be the Giants will have their worst season since winning three games in 1983, the first season with Bill Parcells as the head coach. New York has lost six of their last seven games and are just 2-8 since the Eagles handed the Giants a 27-24 defeat back in Week 3. The loss dropped the Giants to 0-3, but few could have seen this season playing out as dreadfully as it has so far.
In their previous meeting, the Eagles took a 14-0 lead into the fourth quarter and then fell behind the Giants in a fourth-quarter flurry. With the Giants leading 24-21 with just over three minutes to play, Jake Elliott kicked a 46-yard field goal to tie the game with 51 seconds to play. A big defensive stop aided by a holding penalty on the Giants led to a 28-yard punt to give the Eagles one last chance before at the end of the fourth quarter, when Elliott drilled a 61-yard kick as time expired.
Giants on Offense
The Giants returned Eli Manning to the starting job this past week after a one-week hiatus as the team’s starter (which ultimately led to a coach and GM firing in the franchise). Manning’s return to the starting role had no impact on the outcome of Sunday’s game at home against the Dallas Cowboys, however. The Giants scored just 10 points and continue to own one of the NFL’s least productive running games (90.1 rushing yards per game) and scoring offenses (15.2 points per game). After the loss to the Cowboys, Giants interim head coach Steve Spagnuolo confirmed the plan was to stick with Manning at quarterback.
Giants on Defense
The Giants have been a total mess on defense this season. Despite a solid showing against Andy Reid and the Kansas City Chiefs a few weeks back, teams have been able to put points on the board against the Giants this season. New York is allowing an average of 24.7 points per game this season, including 30 given up to Dallas last week. They may also be without safety Landon Collins this week as he is dealing with an ankle sprain. The Eagles moved the ball well against the Giants in Week 3, picking up 24 first downs with 13 of them coming on the ground. The running game figures to be key for the Eagles this week as well, and it should be better than the last time they faced the Giants with the addition of Jay Ajayi. The Giants are prone to giving up points inside the red zone too. The Eagles were three-for-three inside the 20-yard line in Week 3.
Giants Players to Watch
Wayne Gallman, Running Back: The rookie out of Clemson had one of his best games of the year on Sunday with a season-high 59 rushing yards and season-high 40 receiving yards. He has just one touchdown this season, but has potential to be an asset in the Giants offense as they rebuild.
Jason Pierre-Paul, Defensive End: The veteran defensive end was questionable for Sunday’s game and may be less than 100 percent again this week against the Eagles due to a finger injury. Pierre-Paul had five tackles and one hit on Dak Prescott on Sunday against the Cowboys, which was similar to his production against the Eagles in Week 3.
The Eagles may not be playing with Carson Wentz, but the defense and running game are still in good shape and should be more than capable of taking care of business on the road for a third straight week against an ailing Giants squad. Expect the defense to harass Eli Manning and look to see Nick Foles manage a good game at quarterback to keep the season moving toward wrapping up a first-round bye in the playoffs.