When the Giants have the ball
The Giants' offense can't be as bad as it looked the past two weeks, can it? The Giants scored a total of seven points over their past two games as offensive line issues, lack of a running game, dropped balls, turnovers and missed field goals plagued them.
The Eagles transitioned from a 4-3 defense to a 3-4 this season, and things have not gone well thus far. The Eagles have surrendered a league-worst 446.8 yards per game and are 31st (behind only the Giants) in points allowed, giving up 34.5 per game.
"For one, the talent isn't there. There are no real playmakers, the pass rush is pedestrian, the linebackers miss tackles, and the secondary is much maligned. Additionally, Eagles' defensive coordinator Bill Davis isn't exactly inspiring. The Eagles are transitioning from a 4-3 defense to a 3-4 base. Let's just say the transition hasn't been smooth."
The Eagles are 31st in passing yards allowed (325 per game) and 26th vs. the run (121.8 yards per game).
Victor Cruz has 26 catches already and is on pace for 104, which would be only the second 100-catch season ever by A Giants receiver. Steve Smith had 107 in 2009. Cruz is on pace for 1,700 receiving yards, which would shatter his franchise record of 1,536, set in 2011.
Unfortunately for the Giants no one else has played as well as Cruz. The Giants are second-last (behind the Eagles) in time of possession, holding the ball for only 25:31 per game. They are 31st in first down, with only 17.5 per game. The Giants are last in the league in third down efficiency, at 22.9 percent (11-for-48). They are 30th in points per game at 15.3. The Giants are 30th in the league in rushing yards per game (57.8) and 28th in yards per carry (3.3). Eli Manning has been sacked 14 times.
The task for the Giants will be to get more consistent play from an offensive line that likely will once again be without starting center David Baas (neck) and starting guard Chris Snee. Snee faces the possibility of season-ending hip surgery. The Giants will have David Diehl in the lineup for the first time this season. Diehl, who has missed the first four games following thumb surgery, told reporters on Thursday he will start at right guard.
When the Eagles have the ball
This is where things get interesting. The Eagles' fast-paced read-option style attack instituted by first-year coach Chip Kelly is one the Giants spent the offseason preparing for. The Giants revamped their defensive tackles, adding a pair of former Eagles -- Cullen Jenkins and Mike Patterson -- and their linebacking unit. Coach Tom Coughlin has pointed out that the Giants spent a great deal of time in the offseason studying the type of offense Kelly runs.
Are they prepared for it? We have to wait for Sunday to find out.
Philadelphia averages 458.8 yards per game, second in the league. Running back LeSean McCoy has 468 yards rushing in four games and is averaging 6 yards per carry. Quarterback Michael Vick has piled up 228 rushing yards, 8.8 per attempt. The Eagles average a league-leading 6.9 yards per play.
The Giants, on the other hand, have surrendered a league-worst 146 points (36.5 per game), are last in the league in quarterback sacks with four and 28th vs. the run, allowing 122.5 yards per game.
The Giants could be short-handed defensively, as well. Tackles Jenkins, Linval Joseph and Shaun Rogers are all nursing injuries, and only Rogers has practiced. Cornerbacks Corey Webster, Aaron Ross and Jayron Hosley all may miss Sunday's game due to injuries.
Steve Weatherford of the Giants is traditionally among the NFL's best directional and most consistent punters. This season, though, Weatherford has struggled. There have been too many line drive punts and too many kicks ending up someplace other than where Weatherford, or coach Tom Coughlin, wanted them. The result? Weatherford has had two punts returned for touchdowns in four games and the Giants are giving up an astronomical 22.1 yards per punt return.
"I like them (punts) outside the numbers, pinning it to the sideline," Coughlin said.
Giants' placekicker Josh Brown is also testing Coughlin's patience, having missed critical 38 and 44-yard field goals the past two weeks.
Perhaps the Giants will get an opportunity on kickoff return this week. The Eagles are surrendering 31.8 yards per kickoff return and placekicker Alex Henery has gotten only 11 touchbacks in 22 kickoffs. David Wilson is averaging 25.8 yards on eight kickkoff returns thus far. Rueben Randle is averging 6.2 yards on punt returns for the Giants and Damaris Johnson is averaging 8.8 yards on punt returns for the Eagles. Johnson is averaging 26.4 yards on kickoff returns.