Week nine rolls around with the NFC East sitting as the NFL’s most intriguing division. Both the Philadelphia Eagles and New York Giants post a respectable 4-3 record. This divisional rivalry bubbles up rather abruptly as the Eagles are still recovering from the heartbreaking overtime loss at Dallas and the release of Josh Huff after he was arrested for speeding, possession of marijuana, and carrying a gun in Pennsylvania without a Pennsylvania permit.
Philadelphia Eagles Week Nine Keys to Victory
Wentz Needs to Throw the Ball Down the Field
Attacking the Giants defensive backs is perhaps the Eagles’ biggest key to a win on Sunday. Last week against Dallas, Carson Wentz averaged only 6.3 yards per completion, and his longest completion of the game went for 14 yards to Dorial Green-Beckham. The checkdowns to running backs, screen plays, and other short passes were abundant as the Dallas defensive backs were not challenged very much. The short passes allowed Dallas to play a more compact defense, closer to the line of scrimmage which clogged lots of runs, particularly inside.
If Wentz uncorks a few long passes against the Giants, they will have to respect the deep pass game, spreading out the defense. This, in turn, will create gaps in the defense, allowing Wentz to dissect the defense and open running lanes for Ryan Mathews and Darren Sproles. Balancing the run and pass will keep the Giants defense honest, which will help the Eagles take advantage of certain weaknesses.
Defensive Backs Need to Step Up
Odell Beckham Jr., Sterling Shepard, and Victor Cruz take the field against the Eagles, a wide receiving trio that stacks up to any other trio in the NFL. Eli Manning is sixth in passing with 275 passing yards per game, but rank dead last in rushing, with 70.3 rushing yards per game. Since the Giants running game is non-threatening, the Eagles defense can focus all of their attention on the pass. The Giants only way to score is through the air, and if the Eagles take that away, their offense will be nullified.
The Eagles come into Sunday boasting the NFL’s fifth best passing defense. This statistic is comforting for Eagles fans, giving them confidence that they are capable of slowing the passing attack from the Giants. Last week, the Eagles held Dallas quarterback, Dak Prescott, to 19 of 39 passing, 49 percent completion rate. If the Eagles defensive backs can rise to the challenge and stop the Giants wide receivers, especially Odell Beckham Jr., they will be in a great position to win.
Carson Wentz and the Eagles defensive backs will be the players to watch on Sunday. If they can perform at an elite level and key in on the Giants’ weaknesses, the Eagles will be able to take home a victory this week in the Meadowlands.