Philadelphia Eagles at New York Giants: What to watch for

On Sunday at 1 PM EST, the Eagles will make the trip up the turnpike to the Meadowlands to face Eli Manning and the Giants.

From a statistical perspective, the Philadelphia Eagles front seven should dominate and dictate the outcome of the game. Brandon Graham has been as disruptive of a force as any other defensive end in the NFL this season. Jordan Hicks, the quarterback of Philly’s defense, has shown the capacity to make plays against both the run and pass. On the other hand, the New York Giants‘ defense has quietly posted solid numbers. They’re 12th in the NFL in total defense, 15th  against the pass and 8th against the run. Just like last week against the Dallas Cowboys, the Eagles will need another strong performance from both their offensive and defensive lines.

The return of Bennie

Philadelphia Eagles

Sep 25, 2016; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Philadelphia Eagles defensive tackle Bennie Logan (96) reacts after a sack in the third quarter against the Pittsburgh Steelers at Lincoln Financial Field. Mandatory Credit: James Lang-USA TODAY Sports

Bennie Logan missed last Sunday night’s showdown in Dallas, but has practiced this week. He’s quietly become one of the best defensive tackles in the NFL. As Fletcher Cox began to accumulate his well-deserved respect, Logan has helped anchor the Eagles defense. He’s been a key contributor over the last two seasons because of his explosion and ability to get penetration. His absence was felt on Sunday as rookie running back Ezekiel Elliott gashed the Eagles defense. Logan’s return, bodes well for the team, as they prepare to face a Giants offensive line that has struggled to potect quarterback Eli Manning in 2016.

Is it a trap?

Philadelphia is coming off an agonizing overtime loss to their bitter rivals. This week, they released one of their best special teams contributors in Josh Huff. Huff was initially cited for speeding, but things escalated because of his marijuana and gun possession. Most of the Eagles media coverage this week has been focused on Huff and who his replacement will be. While this was the main topic of discussion this week, the Eagles will be focused Sunday afternoon. Head coach Doug Pederson stated Huff would play in this game shortly after his arrest. The fire was stoked when Howie Roseman announced the team would be cutting Huff. Both teams enter this game with an identical record of 4-3. The Eagles are 1-3 on the road (0-2 against NFC East opponents). The Giants are 2-1 at home.

The Giants have grossly underperformed this season, and wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. has been a huge component of that. Considered one of the elite three wide receivers in the NFL, Beckham finds himself at sixth in the NFL in receiving yardage, 16th in receptions, and 22nd in touchdowns. The Eagles secondary made some big plays a week ago against the Cowboys receivers. Cornerbacks Nolan Carroll and Leodis McKelvin had good games, but Dez Bryant still finished with strong numbers, notching four receptions for 113 yards and a touchdown.

The bottom line

If the Philadelphia Eagles can establish a rushing attack on Sunday, all systems should be a go. Rookie quarterback Carson Wentz has been at his best when the offense has had the threat of a running game. This will open the throwing lanes force the Giants to respect play-action, which bodes well for tight end Zach Ertz. Damon Harrison aka “Snacks”, the Giants defensive tackle, and Olivier Vernon will do their best to disrupt the Eagles offensive flow. If both defensive lines take control of the game, this could be a low-scoring affair and come down to the kicking game.

There’s a few more things of note. Beckham could torch the Eagles secondary if Manning can get into a rhythm. Cox, Logan, and Brandon Graham will need to take control on defense. Wentz and the offense could thrive if they get some momentum. Like most NFL games, whoever wins the battle in the tranches will most likely win this game.

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