Eagles-Giants Game Predictions: Three-and-out
The Eagles play the New York Giants this Sunday at MetLife Stadium in New Jersey. Here’s how we expect the game to unfold.
EAGLES PLAYER I’LL BE WATCHING
BLG: Bryce Treggs.
Treggs is expected to be active for the first time in his NFL career this week. It’s interesting that Doug Pederson noted Treggs would have been suiting up for this game even if Josh Huff hadn’t been released.
The 22-year-old pass catcher likely won’t have a big role in the offense. It’s his first game and Pederson even said his playing time will be limited. But Treggs’ presence is intriguing for a number of reasons.
First, he provides the Eagles with a skill-set that their other receivers don’t possess: raw speed. Treggs ran a 4.3 40-yard dash. He averaged 21.2 yards per reception in 2015. The Eagles have sorely lacked a deep threat. It’s far from a sure bet, but maybe Treggs can be something of a field stretcher.
Another reason what makes Treggs intriguing is because the rest of the Eagles’ receivers are just so uninspiring. Just take a look at how the Eagles’ wide-outs rank in terms of receiving yards this season.
Jordan Matthews – 38th
Nelson Agholor – 111th
Dorial Green-Beckham – 121st
The Eagles desperately need someone to step up at receiver. If their current cast continues to fail them, why not give someone else a shot to see what they can do? Treggs has an opportunity to earn more playing time if he can make the most of his limited touches.
Josh: Zach Ertz.
The Eagles do need someone to step up in the passing game, BLG, and I think it will be Ertz this week. The tight end has been getting open and he should have much better numbers than he does, but he only has 15 catches in five games for 150 yards.
Pederson has talked about how Carson Wentz doesn’t have a great feel for the personnel yet, which is understandable because the rookie only has two months of experience with the first-team offense, but I think the Birds still start force feeding the ball to Ertz before long because they have so few offensive weapons.
“It’s easy to have a natural connection with Ertz, it really is,” Frank Reich said. “He’s such a good route runner and he’s so smart and he understands leverage and how to get open. And Carson is equally smart and understands all that stuff. So those two, should hit it off. They should hit it off and we need more production. So we’ll keep fighting for that.”
In Ertz’s last game against the Giants, he hauled in nine catches for 152 yards, the fourth-highest total ever by an Eagles tight end. This season, the Giants allow around nine receptions and 56 yards per game to opposing tight ends, so this seems like a game for Ertz to beat his season-high numbers in catches (six) and yards (58).
OVER/UNDER: 99.5 passer rating for Carson Wentz — Whaddya got?
Wentz’s average passer rating through seven games this season is 92.5. The Giants’ average passer rating allowed is 77.5. Can Wentz break 100 for the first time since the Eagles’ Week 5 game against the Lions?
It wouldn’t surprise me to see Wentz get close — I don’t expect a bad game from him — but it’s hard to feel great about the Eagles’ offense as a whole. It’s a below average unit right now. The lack of quality receiving options is obviously a huge problem.
Then there’s the fact the Giants’ defense has shown signs of improvement compared to the abysmal unit it was last year. Steve Spagnuolo’s unit ranks fifth in opponent yards per play allowed (5.1) and 10th in points per game allowed (20.1).
If Wentz can get to a 100.0 passer rating, he’ll be the third NFL rookie since 1950 to post a 100+ passer rating in at least four of his first eight career games. While I don’t think he’ll get there because of the Giants’ significant advantage with their corners over the Eagles’ receivers, there are some other records he can get.
Wentz needs just 174 passing yards to break Nick Foles’ franchise rookie record for yards in a season (1,699), and he needs just 10 completions to surpass Foles’ other franchise rookie record. Also, if the Birds win, Wentz will be just the sixth NFL rookie quarterback since 2007 to win at least five games in the first half of the season.
In terms of passer rating, though, I think he’ll be somewhere in the 80s.
BLG: Eagles 23, Giants 17
The way I see it, the Eagles have multiple factors working in their favor.
First, the Eagles are a better team than the Giants on paper. That doesn’t necessarily mean much when the game starts, but I like the Eagles’ chances in this one. Philadelphia ranks first in DVOA and second in point differential. The Giants rank 17th and 20th, respectively.
The Eagles own the Giants in recent history. The Birds have won 13 out of their last 16 matches against the G-Men. The Eagles are 8-1 in road games during that span, so playing at MetLife hasn’t been a problem for them.
The desperation factor also favors the Eagles. Going down to 4-4 overall and 0-3 in the division isn’t an acceptable outcome for Philadelphia. The players should be up for this game, especially coming off a disappointing game in Dallas they easily could/should have won.
The feeling here is Philadelphia’s defense will be able to effectively limit a Giants offense that’s only averaging 17 points per game (28th in the NFL). Yes, New York has some receiving weapons, such as Odell Beckham Jr., that could test the Eagles’ secondary. But the Giants’ lackluster running game could allow the Eagles’ pass rush to tee off on Eli Manning as they’ve done in recent years. The Giants don’t have great blocking. Everyone saw how Philadelphia’s pass rush dominated a weak Vikings offensive line in Week 7.
It’s hard to expect the Eagles’ offense to go wild against an improved Giants defense, but the Birds should be able to score enough to get the win.
Josh: Eagles 20, Giants 13
I think the Eagles’ defense will win them this game. I’d be surprised if the game is as sloppy as the Eagles-Vikings defensive battle, but it could feature almost as few points.
The Eagles have generated great pressure with the front four when they’re able to just tee off on the quarterback, and because the Giants’ run game is so bad, they should have the opportunity to do that on Sunday. The Giants are last in the NFL in rushing yards per game (70.3) and 29th in yards per carry (3.3).
But the biggest stat that’s in favor of the Birds is turnover differential. The Eagles rank fifth in the NFL (+6) this year because of how well Wentz has taken care of the ball and how much the defense takes the ball away. The Giants, on the other hand, rank 28th in the league (-7), in part because they fumble so much (they’ve lost the ball eight times this year).
While Beckham will probably get his 100 receiving yards, I expect the Eagles’ red zone defense to keep the Giants from scoring enough touchdowns to win the game.