Philadelphia Eagles: Five Stats that Could Benefit the Giants
The New York Giants (2-10) will take to the road for their first matchup with the rival Philadelphia Eagles (5-7) on Monday Night Football.
Eli Manning is expected to start at quarterback for the first time since Week 2, likely keen on snapping New York’s current eight-game losing streak. However, stealing a win in hostile territory won’t be an easy task for Eli and company.
After the Dallas Cowboys’ (6-7) loss to the Chicago Bears (7-6) on Thursday night, the Eagles will likely come into Monday night extremely motivated to win due to the unique position they now find themselves in.
With a win over New York, Philadelphia would earn a virtual share of first place in the NFC East with three games to go.
The Giants are very much in the middle of a lost season, but hindering their hated rival’s playoff odds would be especially satisfying for fanbase in desperate need of something to be proud of at this point.
With that in mind, here are a few things that Giants fans should keep in mind when heading into the team’s Week 14 showdown with Philly.
1. Ball security has been a major issue.
The Eagles are a good team that, based on the amount of talent they have on both sides of the ball, should be in the NFC East driver's seat at this point in the year. However, a major reason why they sit at 5-7 instead of atop the division is their inability to hold onto the ball.
Committing costly turnovers has been a consistent issue for Philly throughout the year, having turned the ball over 21 times (T-No. 26 in the NFL) across the 12 games it’s played - including a whopping 13 lost fumbles (T-No. 30 in the NFL).
A lot of the Eagles’ key playmakers have been guilty of the occasional fumble or two, but the main culprit has been the team’s quarterback.
Interceptions (seven) haven’t been a big of an issue for Carson Wentz this year, but he’s had a hard time holding onto the ball when he’s taken down in the pocket.
The 27-year-old signal-caller has put the ball on the ground nine times this year, having lost five of those fumbles.
Add it all up and the former North Dakota State star has been responsible for more than half (12) of Philly’s giveaways this year.
2. The Eagles are hard to stop on third down.
Maintaining possession is key for an effective offense and while the Eagles have had a hard time holding onto the ball, they’re still one of the best in the business at keeping their offense on the field when faced with a possible three-and-out.
Heading into Week 14, Philly has converted 45.40 percent of its third-down conversion attempts this season (No. 6 in the NFL), which has somewhat mitigated the damage its turnover problems have done.
That elite execution when it matters most could spell doom for New York. The Giants currently sit in the bottom third of the league at forcing opponents to punt this year, allowing a 5.2 third-down conversions per game (T-No. 21 in the NFL). If they want even the slightest chance at an upset, the Giants will need to buckle down and put the Eagles in tough-to-convert third-and-long situations.
3. Controlling the clock is Philly’s forte.
As you may have gathered, the Eagles’ inability to hold onto the ball has occasionally hindered their ability to stay in games. Yet, they’ve surprisingly dominated the time-of-possession battle this year despite their tendency to turn the ball over.
Philadelphia is averaging an impressive 31:50 in time-of-possession per game this year (No. 5 in the NFL).
Clearly, that could pose a problem for the Giants on Sunday, but what should be most concerning is that Philly’s time-of-possession average is near the top of the league due to its clock dominance at home.
In their six games played at Lincoln Financial Field this season, the Eagles are averaging a dominant 33:34 in time of possession per contest (No. 3 in the NFL). The Giants have averaged just 26:57 in time of possession in their six games played outside of MetLife (No. 30 in the NFL) this year and will need to find ways to sustain drives in order to keep the Eagles in check.
4. The Eagles are prone to allowing fast starts.
Philadelphia’s defense has had its fair share of struggles this season, but allowing its opponents to jump out to early leads has been the one consistent issue that, no matter what, this team has been unable to fix.
The Eagles have found themselves on the back foot early in games this season and it’s been a key factor in some of their losses so far. Through 13 games, the Eagles are allowing an average of 13.4 points per first-half (No. 26 in the NFL).
If this trend holds true on Monday, the Giants might have a pretty good chance of escaping Lincoln Financial with a win. However, Big Blue will need to build a significant lead in order to make a win a reality.
Without a doubt, Philly is one of the league’s best at making halftime adjustments this season - especially when they’re playing in front of a home crowd. The Eagles defense has made a habit of buckling down in the second half, averaging a dominant 8.2 second-half points allowed across six home games played (No. 5 in the NFL).
5. Running on Philly will be a struggle.
Saquon Barkley had a solid bounce-back game against the Green Bay Packers’ (9-3) shoddy run defense last week, but expecting a similar performance out of him against the Eagles may be wishful thinking, to put it lightly.
If there’s one thing that Philly’s defense has consistently accomplished this year, it's been keeping their opponent’s ground game in check.
The Eagles have straight-up dominated opposing running backs this year, allowing 91.0 yards rushing (No. 4 in the NFL). And their run defense has been even more imposing at home, limiting opponents to just 81.8 yards per game as hosts (No. 3 in the NFL).
Unless Barkley puts together a career performance on Monday night, leaning on the ground game will be a tough task for the Giants.
As discouraging as it may sound, relying on Eli Manning may be a better strategy, as the Eagles have fared much worse against the passing game.
Through Week 13, Philly’s stop unit has allowed 241.7 yards passing per game (No. 18 in the NFL) and 22 passing touchdowns (T-No. 23 in the NFL).