Our expectations were exceeded on Sunday. When we were doing the game preview last week, we were hoping one of two things happened. We were pulling for one of those signature wins in a game they were expected to lose, or a just a respectable loss.
We got the latter, and with the way the rest of the division looks, the Eagles look amazing. The game was actually very close to what we had predicted until the fourth quarter started. We predicted 34-17, but with seven minutes to go in the game, the Eagles were down 30-14 before finally kicking it into gear through the air.
Two late touchdowns were nearly enough for the Eagles to rally, but the missed two-point conversion sealed the loss. In the end, it was admirable, but you have to think had the Eagles been this aggressive from the onset, things may have turned out differently. Elsewhere in the division, the Cowboys were drubbed by the Cardinals, while the Giants squeaked out a win against Washington.
A little optimism this season hasn’t been bad. Sure, the Eagles still don’t look quite right, but look at this train wreck of a division. The Eagles got even more unhealthy this week, losing Zach Ertz and Miles Sanders. Sanders had really come on strong the last few weeks, so this is going to be a major blow to them, even if it is just for a few weeks.
Despite the losses, the Eagles made an admirable comeback against a great AFC opponent. With two games and then the bye still ahead, the Eagles are positioned well to come out of the bye with a straight path to winning the division.
Week 7 Preview
The Giants are still a bit of a mess. Actually, they aren’t as much of a mess as they are just impotent. The Giants finally got a win last week, thanks to the equally impotent Washington Football Team and Riverboat Ron.
The Eagles have to be looking at this as a big opportunity. As bad as the Eagles injury luck has been, the rest of the division has had a combination of bad luck and just bad play. At least the Eagles have looked good in a few games. Even though the division is terrible, the Eagles are still a half-game out of first and need to focus on their divisional foe, the New York Giants.
The Giants do a few things surprisingly well. They are the 16th best pass defense and 8th best run defense, by yardage allowed. The Giants won last week by virtue of a strip-sack, scoop and score. Their major limitations come offensively. With Jason Garrett at the controls, the Giants have severely underutilized Evan Engram, and have turned a promising offense into a bad dream.
Even with the loss of Saquan Barkley, the Giants have never looked so bad with Daniel Jones at quarterback. The protection schemes aren’t great and neither is the run blocking.
We are all aware the Eagles struggle in the secondary. The good news for this game is, the Giants couldn’t throw the ball on Dallas or Washington (averaged 167 passing yards against both). The Giants’ inability to take advantage of bad secondaries may prove to be the most valuable aspect of this matchup.
The key to beating the Giants is discipline and execution. There’s no way the Eagles are going to get out-schemed on defense by Jason Garrett, so a sound gameplan centered around keeping pressure on Daniel Jones will be key to forcing turnovers and propping up the secondary. Daniel Jones isn’t a great quarterback, but even mediocre to sub-par quarterbacks can shred a secondary if they get enough protection.
Offensively, the Eagles will be without Zach Ertz and Miles Sanders. At this point, the next-man-up mentality has become commonplace in Philadelphia, so the key this week is to keep the train rolling with guys like Boston Scott and Travis Fulgham. Scott proved himself as a very capable backup while filling in late last season for Sanders, while Fulgham has clearly demonstrated he wasn’t just some one-week wonder.
Week 7 Prediction
Last week, the Eagles did a good job limiting the Ravens to just 30 points. It may sound sad and optimistic, but this is key in Eagles fandom. Lamar Jackson wasn’t able to shred the secondary, so he just did most of the damage on the ground instead.
This week, I expect a decent amount of “show me” blitzes from the Eagles. I expect them to show blitz a lot here, dropping into zone frequently to better prep them for short routes and screens. Devonta Freeman may not be the player he was three years ago, but he’s been solid for the Giants, all things considered. If the Eagles can mix their coverages and blitzes well enough, Daniel Jones and the Giants offense is going to have a hard time getting the offense settled.
I expect the Eagles will be a little more aggressive through the air early, considering the matchup. I think Carson Wentz will have a pretty solid game and the Eagles will use an early lead to pressure the Giants to take to the air more as the game progresses.
I expect the Eagles defense to increase the blitzing as the game goes on and put the game away early in the fourth. I think the Giants will close it to within a score late, but the Eagles will run the clock out.