Three-And-Out: Eagles-Giants Predictions
Player I’ll be watching
Kapadia: Nick Foles
Sometimes, it’s OK to go with the most obvious guy.
Foles is clearly working through some things right now. He’s turned it over four times (three interceptions, one fumble) in the last two games. He has morphed into one of the worst deep ball throwers in the NFL (2-for-16 on passes of 20+ yards the last two weeks), and he looks jittery in the pocket.
Is Foles the only problem on offense? Of course not. The run game can’t get going. The offensive line has had plenty of breakdowns. And there are times when the receivers have had drops or have failed to get open (specifically last week).
I suspect many of the same issues will resurface against the Giants. Remember, last year, when the Eagles’ offense was running all over opponents, the Giants were one of the exceptions. They limited LeSean McCoy to 2.7 YPC in two games (breakdown of their tactics here). With the Eagles’ ground game struggling to get on track this season, the guess here is that Foles will have to shoulder the load.
The Eagles’ chances of winning rest on the QB’s ability to take advantage of potential opportunities in the passing game and remain calm in the face of pressure.
McManus: Trent Cole
I’m having a hard time picturing the Eagles’ secondary containing this Giants’ pass attack, which includes Victor Cruz, Reuben Randle, tight end Larry Donnell and now Odell Beckham.
“What they’re doing now is they’re spreading the field a lot more than they have in the past,” said Chip Kelly. “So when you have Victor Cruz, and Beckham, and Randle and the tight end in the game, it makes it difficult in terms of everybody is a viable option for [Eli Manning].”
Manning is getting rid of the ball quickly in this new system. That will make it all the more difficult for Billy Davis‘ pass rush to get home, but they’re going to have to find a way. Cole leads the team in sacks (2.5), hurries (10) and forced fumbles (3) through five games. He has eight career sacks against the Giants. It would be of great help if he can add to that total Sunday night.
Over/under: 2.5 sacks on Eli Manning – Whaddya got?
Kapadia: Yo T-Mac, something just occurred to me. We do these over/unders every week and make picks, but we never keep track of how we’re doing. I think that needs to change. Let’s make things interesting: Loser at the end of the season has to take care of any and all coffee runs during 2015 road trips. You in?
As for this over/under, I’ll go over. I understand that Manning is getting rid of the ball quickly this season, and the Giants have only allowed seven sacks in five games. But I think the Eagles’ pass-rush has been a bit underrated as of late. Most of the issues, as I see them, have to do with coverage and the play of their defensive backs. Billy Davis has done a good job of generating free rushers, and the Birds are getting great individual efforts from guys like Brandon Graham and Fletcher Cox.
I think they have a decent chance of getting three sacks on Manning.
McManus: I’m in. And I like mine with a little bit of cream and a little bit of sugar.
I’ll go under for this here prop bet. You’re right that Davis has done a nice job of scheming it up to get some rushers loose, but I think that task will be more difficult this week because of the situation at inside linebacker. There’s a chance that DeMeco Ryans plays but it doesn’t sound like he’ll be at 100 percent. If he can’t go, you’re talking about Casey Matthews and Emmanuel Acho manning the middle. Either way, I don’t anticipate the inside linebackers being particularly active in the blitz game.
The way I see it, the Eagles will need to come by their pressure more naturally, and I’m not sure it gets home all that frequently considering Manning’s new-and-improved release time.
Kapadia: Giants 24, Eagles 20
I should probably go ahead and duck as I write my explanation, right?
To me, this really comes down to the Eagles’ offense. Maybe Kelly will come up with a masterful game plan to get this unit going. But I just don’t see how the Eagles will be able to run the ball effectively. And given Foles’ struggles, I’m not confident that they’ll be able to do the necessary damage through the air.
I think the defense will be OK. Davis’ group will have its share of breakdowns, mostly because there’s not enough talent on the back end. If Ryans (groin) can’t go or isn’t close to 100 percent, things could get ugly. But if he’s out there, the Eagles should be able to handle the Giants’ run game and create some turnovers.
Overall, I think the Eagles are in good shape. Even if they only go 1-2 in their next three, they’ll be sitting at 5-3 when Jason Kelce and Evan Mathis are expected to return. If things go their way, maybe that’s 6-2 or even 7-1. But the guess here is that they go down Sunday night heading into the bye.
McManus: Giants 35, Eagles 28
Ryans wasn’t exactly brimming with confidence yesterday when he mentioned that “certain movements don’t feel too good” and “If I feel like I can help my team and be effective, I’ll be out there.” He’s so important to what the Eagles do on defense and I just don’t know how well this unit can function with him out of the lineup or playing at less than full tilt.
I think the Eagles’ offense will find some success. The run game looked better last week with Lane Johnson back in the mix. I’m guessing LeSean McCoy has a good night, which will take some strain off Foles and company.
If this does in fact turn into a shootout, it’s hard to go against the Giants. They are simply clicking better on offense right now. Maybe special teams can come to the rescue once again. Otherwise, I say the Eagles drop to 4-2.