The FOX Sports angle on this upcoming game with the Giants is predictable: “Two teams heading in opposite directions…”. Really?
More like two teams drifting sideways if you ask me…
I mean, it’s kinda silly to describe the Giants as rising with a bullet on the charts after a two-game win streak against average-at-best opponents gets them to 3-7. This is still the same team that fell to 1-7 at the halfway point this season after finishing 3-13 in 2017. Yes, their playcalling on offense has improved, but this is still the same old Giants from September who have a tendency to quit when they fall behind early. I’m not saying they consciously tank, I’m just saying they fall into a bad habit of playing with the “what else can go wrong?” mentality and get tight-muscled. Playing nervous is also a reflection of the Giants’ coaching staff. Pat Shurmur has been coaching nervous. A lot of jobs on the hot-seat in the Big Apple, and the media heat is even hotter there than in Philly.
As for the Eagles, at 4-6 they’ve lost two in a row to above-average opponents (yes, Dallas with Zeke, Amari Cooper, and that Van Der Esch guy is above average, haters!) and somehow that is portrayed by FOX as a downhill slalom to certain oblivion.
In fact, the Eagles are drifting along with a roster which looked like the most talented overall in the NFC East in September, but which now looks like grandmother’s knit afghan with all the decorative patches.
I mean you expect a few injuries to knock out some talent along the way, but the Eagles have lost an entire position group at cornerback. That is rare to lose an entire position group. Thus the patchwork: cornerback Ronald Darby and safety Rodney McLeod are out for the season and cornerback Jalen Mills has a foot injury. Cornerbacks Sidney Jones and Avonte Maddox are also sidelined and Rasul Douglas is questionable. The Eagles will have to count on three guys who have limited experience: Cre’Von LeBlanc, De’Vante Bausby and Chandon Sullivan.
That’s a recipe for continued drifting. It doesn’t necessarily guarantee a big day for Sterling Shepard, OBJ or Saquon Barkley as receivers, but you can definitely feel the hint of a rip tide in the water.
FOX should be focused more on the fact that the Eagles offense is the unit that can either propel the team beyond the drift or keep it locked within FOX’s narrow caricature of a “sinking team”.
Score 14+ points early on the Giants and they will fold like a cheap suit. OBJ will implode, Eli will pout. Giants on defense will start making “business decisions” on tackling angles.
Coach Doug and his quarterback have got to get off to a fast start to shake off most of the disadvantage this team has felt lately. It’s up to the offense to take charge and send a message to the rest of the team, as in “Let’s Go!” Stop the chronic leakage of momentum. Wentz, in particular, has got to get his shit together. Lately he has tried to do it all with an anemic Eagles’ rushing attack. Against a team like the Saints, being a one-trick pony exposed him to some ugly interceptions.
Coach Doug has got to call a better incremental game on offense. Build stuff, stick with it if it’s working, change building plans if it’s not. Zach Ertz needs to return as a weapon this week for Wentz to get his groove back. Ertz was held to just two catches and 15 yards last week one week after a career-best 14-catch, 145-yard performance against the Cowboys. New acquisition Golden Tate was up to 71 percent of snaps last week, and his integration into the offense has got to help. Use him, Doug!
Stop the drifting!
NEW YORK GIANTS (3-7) at PHILADELPHIA (4-6)
Sunday, 1 p.m. ET, Fox
OPENING LINE — Eagles by 5 1/2
RECORD VS. SPREAD — Giants 5-5, Eagles 3-7
SERIES RECORD — Giants lead 85-84-2
LAST MEETING — Eagles beat Giants, 34-13, Oct. 11
LAST WEEK — Giants beat Buccaneers 38-35; Eagles lost to Saints 48-7.
AP PRO32 RANKING — Eagles No. 21; Giants No. 26
GIANTS OFFENSE — OVERALL (23), RUSH (30), PASS (13)
GIANTS DEFENSE — OVERALL (25), RUSH (25), PASS (22)
EAGLES OFFENSE — OVERALL (19), RUSH (25), PASS (14)
EAGLES DEFENSE — OVERALL (23), RUSH (12), PASS (26)