Giants D-Line Poses Major Threat to Banged-Up Eagles Offense
Eagles head coach Doug Pederson knows what the Giants' strength is, and he knows it doesn't line up well with his team's current injury situation.
The Giants defensive line, spearheaded by Leonard Williams, Dexter Lawrence, and Dalvin Tomlinson, has allowed a league-low 79 rushing yards per game and has already recorded four sacks so far in 2020 after just tallying 6.5 in all of 2019.
According to Pro Football Focus, the three have also combined for 32 total pressures and 41 total stops, as they each rank in the top 40 of their position.
"They got the guys up front, those three dudes in the middle are big and powerful, and that's where they can put pressure with that push in the middle, being able to stop the run," Pederson said. "And it allows the secondary to play a little more man coverage at times.
"Especially for us on a short week it's something we really need to be prepared for."
The Eagles, meanwhile, are missing six of their top seven offensive linemen to injury heading into Thursday night's matchup against the Giants at Lincoln Financial Field.
The trenches' battle between the Giants defense and Eagles offense figures to be a lopsided one on paper.
The Eagles will be trekking out a starting offensive line rotation that projects to feature Jordan Mailata and Brett Toth at the tackle spots and Jamon Brown and Nate Herbig at guard, none of which were projected starters going into the season.
Pederson will at least be able to count on his veteran center Jason Kelce to help coordinate blocking against the Giants' fearsome front. But it will still be tough sledding and the Eagles offense will have to get creative to prevent the Giants' defensive line from wrecking the game.
"You talk about Dalvin Tomlinson, he's a load for our center Kelce," Pederson said. "Then you got Dexter and Leonard Williams, and these guys are just big and powerful. You're asking young players to block guys that they aren't used to blocking.
"It's different if we had our starters who are familiar with these guys and have blocked them in the past in games and stuff like that but that's just not the case."
In two meetings against the Eagles last year, Williams, Tomlinson, and Lawrence combined for just 21 tackles and 0.5 sacks.
The Eagles offense was also able to run the ball for a combined 239 rushing yards in the two meetings as Philadelphia's offensive line seemingly won the battle in the trenches.
Thursday will be an opportunity for the Giants' defensive line to flip that outcome on its head and cement itself as a unit that can help spearhead the Giants' defense to a winning effort in a critical divisional matchup.
The circumstances of the Eagles' current injury situation doesn't represent a matchup that will pit the Giants' defensive line against the Eagles at full strength.
Still, the Giants defensive line has already made strides in 2020 under defensive coordinator Patrick Graham toward proving it's on a different level from year's past.
While the matchup against the banged-up Eagles offensive line might come off as an easier matchup than usual, it's nonetheless an opportunity for the defensive line to eat on Thursday night.