After a bye week to rest up following their trip overseas, the New York Giants are back to football. Today’s matchup against the Philadelphia Eagles might be the most important game since the Giants played the Cowboys in the opening week of the season.
Like the first week, this week we could learn a lot about the 2016 Giants. Can they break a losing streak? Can they come in ready to play against a division rival after not playing football? Do they have the fortitude to gut it out and play through the final whistle? In week one, all those questions were answered with an affirmative.
We’ll have to see how the Giants answer those questions — and others like “Can they adjust mid-season? But for now a few predictions that may or may not come true.
The Giant will rush for 100 yards
The Giants went in to their bye week knowing that they need to get their running game going if they want to have any hope of igniting their sputtering offense. Part of that is knowing that they can’t keep making drive-killing mistakes or turning the ball over, handing away possessions.
But also, while the Eagles are impressively talented on the defensive line, their defensive scheme makes it difficult to defend the rush. The Wide 9 front creates huge gaps in the defensive line and favorable angles for offensive linemen. And for all their talent up front, the Eagles are only 20th in defending the run. Also of note, defensive tackle Bennie Logan has been ruled out of today’s game.
If the Giants can successfully execute and bring some new wrinkles to the running game, they could find success on the ground.
The Giants Will Get To Carson Wentz ...
... At least once.
The Giants’ pass rush has thus far been unproductive. They have regularly gotten pressure, but rarely gotten to opposing quarterbacks. However, with Lane Johnson suspended 10 games for his second PED violation, the Eagles’ offensive line is weakened. That could lead to opportunities for Giants’ rushers on the left side of the defense. Also, the Giants face a favorable matchup in the defensive secondary. The Eagles’ receivers haven’t been impressive this season, while the Giants have managed to get healthier over their bye week. With UDFA rookie Andrew Adams earning more trust from the defensive coaches, the Giants have been expanding their blitz packages in recent weeks, which could be trouble for the rookie quarterback.
Finally, Carson Wentz’s average pass distance has declined tremendously over the last couple weeks. The last three weeks it has declined from over 8 yards per attempt to less than 5 (4.9 and 4.7 yards per attempt respectively). The Eagles could be looking to stretch the field some, which would also keep the ball in the quarterback’s hand longer, giving the rushers more time to get home.
Victor Cruz will get his revenge
Much of the talk over the last two weeks has been about the Giants needing to try something different to spark a lethargic offense that is seriously under-performing. However, this might not be the week for a radical change-up. The Eagles’ secondary has been hit by injury and was already the weakness of their defense, so it makes sense to attack it.
We all remember that terrible night in Philadelphia when the Lincoln Financial Field went quiet after Victor Cruz went up for a jump ball and never got up off the ground. That was two years ago. In his first game against the Eagles since tearing his patellar tendon, Cruz will finish that play.
What better occasion for a second helping of salsa than at home against a hated division rival?