There isn’t a whole lot that diehard New York Giants fans don’t know about the Philadelphia Eagles. They know the Eagles have beaten the Giants roughly a gazillion times in a row. They know classy Eagles fans love rubbing the noses of Giants fans in that losing streak. They know the NFC East stinks as a whole. They know there are certain Eagles’ players whose names they would like to forget.
Anything else? Let’s turn to Bleeding Green Nation’s Brandon Lee Gowton for this week’s ‘5 questions’ to find out.
Ed: I know the Eagles have been beset by injuries, but that can’t be the only reason for their struggles. A couple of years ago I thought Philly was set up for a long run of NFC East dominance. What has gone wrong?
BLG: Yeah, you can definitely say that injuries have factored in. I mean, when the Eagles are down to just Carson Wentz and Jason Kelce as their only remaining projected starters … not ideal.
These issues haven’t just all been about bad luck, though. Investing in aging and injury-prone wide receivers like Alshon Jeffery and DeSean Jackson wasn’t smart.
Such an example of larger roster mismanagement has led the Eagles to where they are today. This is a team that’s 20-20-1 since winning Super Bowl LII. If you look at general manager Howie Roseman’s record outside of his fantastic 2017 season, it’s a whole lot of mediocrity. The championship year is clearly the anomaly.
Roseman has failed to adequately surround his franchise quarterback with a quality supporting cast. The Eagles have had the NFL’s worst wide receivers for at least two of Wentz’s seasons. Things were looking pretty bleak this year until Travis Fulgham luckily emerged out of nowhere.
It’s not all on Roseman. Wentz certainly deserves blame, as does Pederson. But I’d largely blame poor personnel decisions for why the Eagles haven’t been able to dominate the division like they should’ve been.
Ed: Carson Wentz is …. What?
BLG: … improving.
In the short-term, at least. Not so much in the long-term, which is an issue.
But as far as Thursday’s game goes, I feel better about Wentz’s outlook than I did a few weeks ago. He was legitimately playing like the worst quarterback in the league earlier this season. He had worse stats than Dwayne Haskins, who got benched.
I’d argue that Wentz’s numbers from his last two games don’t tell the whole story about his performance. This isn’t to suggest he’s been great, by the way. He still needs to cut down on the turnovers. But given the injuries to the Eagles’ offensive line and his skill players, he’s pretty much made the most of what he’s been given to work with.
The Eagles’ next three games are a big opportunity for Wentz to prove he’s truly back on the right track: vs. NYG, vs. DAL, at NYG. He needs to lead the Eagles to victory and take control of this awful division.
Ed: Who is the player you would most like to take off the Giants’ roster and put into Philly’s lineup? Why?
BLG: I wouldn’t mind having a healthy Darius Slayton. The Eagles’ top three receivers right now are Fulgham, Greg Ward, and John Hightower. Ward is mainly a slot guy who can make some nice catches but is also only averaging 8.6 yards over his career. Hightower has had some drop issues. Slayton’s speed at Z would be a nice complement to Fulgham’s size at the X position. Plus the Giants not having Slayton to burn the Eagles like he did with 204 yards and two touchdowns in two games last year would be nice.
Funny enough, the Eagles might line up Darius Slay on Darius Slayton in this game. But the other starting cornerback spot isn’t as settled. With that in mind, it’d be nice to plug James Bradberry into the starting lineup across from Slay. I see Bradberry’s only allowing a 69.9 passer rating when targeted (per Pro Football Focus) in addition to having two interceptions and eight pass breakups. Better coverage should allow the Eagles’ defensive line to have more time to get home to the quarterback.
Ed: Which team emerges from the NFC East dumpster fire with the division title?
BLG: The Eagles!
Gee, what a homer pick, right?
Truth be told, I worry that the Eagles winning a division would actually be a false positive. I fear that lines like “First team to repeat as NFC East champions since 2004! Four straight years of making the playoffs!” will be used internally to prevent the Eagles from making meaningful and necessary changes. And then they’re back in a similar boat of being a mediocre team at best in 2021.
So, no, I’m not just homering it up here.
I think they have what it takes to be the least awful team in the division. The Eagles have the top remaining head coach and quarterback combination. They’re reportedly set to be buyers ahead of the trade deadline, which is potentially foolish for the long-term, but could at least help them in the short-term.
Here are my projected finishes for all four teams:
Eagles projected record: 6-9-1
Giants projected record: 5-11
Cowboys projected record: 4-12
Football Team projected record: 3-13
Ed: Joe Judge is from Philly and he says he is buying a helmet b/c his in-laws are buying batteries to bring to the game. Now, no one would want to hurt poor Joe, would they? Aren’t Eagles fans nice people?
BLG: I don’t think anyone would want to hurt Joe Judge. The Giants are too irrelevant to the Eagles for fans to hate them that much. The “rivalry” — if you can call it that anymore — has been tempered by Philly owning this matchup for quite some time now.
As you know, the Eagles are 20-4 in their last 24 meetings with the G-Men. The Eagles have also won a Super Bowl more recently than New York.
Eagles fans should be always be happy to see the Giants show up at Lincoln Financial Field!