While the Eagles-Giants rivalry may not carry the same weight it did in the early 2010s, it’s still a hate infused rivalry and one of the oldest in NFL history.
Since 2010, the Eagles have owned this matchup. They’ve gone 17-5 against New York during that time. Even during the Eli Manning days, this rivalry was still lopsided in the Eagles favor.
This matchup figures to be more of the same. The Eagles are trending upwards, while New York has fallen to the cellar of the NFC East.
Nevertheless, whenever these two meet it’s a fun contest. Here are three key matchups to watch between the Eagles and Giants this Sunday.
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Jonathan Gannon vs. Freddie Kitchens
In a last ditch effort to try and revitalize their offense, New York fired offensive coordinator Jason Garrett earlier this week and promoted former Cleveland head coach Freddie Kitchens to play calling duties.
Kitchens isn’t some well regarded offensive mind around NFL circles, but switching play callers always seems to have an immediate effect. It probably won’t be sustainable for New York, but fresh eyes on the play sheet should help — at least for this game.
Jonathan Gannon has been under a lot of scrutiny this year, but his defense has improved over the last four weeks. He’s thrown more blitzes at opposing quarterbacks, and in turn his defense has been able to cause more turnovers. Since Week 8, Gannon’s crew has forced five turnovers.
The Kitchens and Daniel Jones combo doesn’t strike fear into any opposing defensive coordinator, but Gannon should be prepared for wrinkles and new looks for the Giants offense.
Eagles interior OL vs. Giants interior DL
There aren’t many clear cut strengths on this Giants team, but if you were to pick one, it would have to be their interior defensive line. Occupied by two former first-round picks, Dexter Lawrence and Leonard Williams, both defensive tackles are ranked inside the top-30 at their position, according to Pro Football Focus.
Williams currently leads his team in sacks with 5.5, and Lawrence has posted a respectable pass rushing grade per PFF. His 72.4 pass-rush grade ranks 19th out of 104 qualifying defensive tackles.
It’s no secret that the Eagles are going to try and run the football against this defensive front. And I’m sure they’re confident in their ability to create holes for Miles Sanders and Co. the run through, even despite the Giants two stud interior linemen.
The Eagles interior offensive line has really come together over the past month or so. Rookie Landon Dickerson and second-year lineman Jack Driscoll have settled in nicely at right and left guard respectively. Driscoll was the highest graded player on the Eagles offense last week, posting an overall grade of 85.9. Not to mention Jason Kelce at center, who’s once again playing at an All-Pro level in 2021.
Truth be told, the Eagles proved last week that they can run on anybody. Lawrence and Williams, along with the entire Giants defense, are just the next in line to try and stop this rushing attack. History would tell us that they’ll more than likely fail.
Eagles defense vs. Saquon Barkley
After dealing with an assortment of injuries, Saquon Barkley isn’t the same back he was back in 2018 when he took the league by storm as a rookie. He only played in two games last year before tearing his ACL, and he’s missed time this year as well.
Barkley returned to the field last week for the Giants, but again, he didn’t provide much. He finished the game with six rushes for 25 yards and six receptions for 31 yards. He’s only averaging 3.7 yards per attempt this year, by far the lowest mark of his career.
Nevertheless, Barkley always seems to bring his A-game whenever he faces Philadelphia. In four career games against the Eagles, Barkley has totaled 60 carries for 389 yards (6.48 YPC, 97.25 yards per game) and four touchdowns. Regardless of how far he’s fallen since his outstanding rookie campaign, he’s still New York’s most dynamic offensive weapon.
Ensuring he doesn’t carry the Giants offense is imperative for Gannon this week. The only way the Giants will be able to effectively move the ball is if Barkley is heavily involved.
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