Eagles ready to face NFC East foe Giants

by Marc Narducci | Jan 16, 2023
Eagles ready to face NFC East foe Giants
Let’s face it, Eagles fans have gotten what they wanted – the chance to meet the New York Giants in their opening playoff game this weekend. The Giants advanced by winning at Minnesota, 31-24.

Yes, the Eagles beat the Giants twice this season, but the second game had a disclaimer – for both teams. The Eagles were returning quarterback Jalen Hurts from a two-game absence due to his right shoulder injury. The Eagles needed to win the game to clinch the top seed and the only first-round bye. So Hurts played, the offense stayed rather conservative and the Eagles won 22-16.

The Giants on the other hand couldn’t move up or down from the No. 6 seed so coach Brian Daboll rested many of his key players, which obviously paid off in the win over Minnesota.

Not only did Daboll rest first-string quarterback Daniel Jones, but he didn’t even play second-team QB Tyrod Taylor. So many other regulars rested and yet the Giants were competitive.

There probably isn’t a lot that we can take out of the first game between the two – the Eagle's 48-21 rout of the Giants at MetLife Stadium on Dec. 11. The Giants, even though it’s a little more than a month later, are a much better team.

New York looked very impressive in its playoff win at Minnesota. Not to take anything away from the Giants’ offense, but they were facing arguably the worst defense among playoff teams this season.

Minnesota went 13-4 in the regular season and yet the Vikings allowed 427 points, three more than they scored (424).

In short, the Giants will be facing a much tougher defense when they meet the Eagles.

Still, Jones has shown great improvement this season under the guidance of Daboll. Against the Vikings, he completed 24 of 35 for 301 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions for a 114.1 passer rating He also ran 17 times for 78 yards (4.6 avg.)

Jones will be a key and the Eagles must be especially careful about stopping him when he runs the ball.

He may not be Hurts-like dangerous, but he is among the better running quarterbacks in the NFL.

The Giant's defense did a good job against a pretty explosive Minnesota offense, but there was one glaring weakness – defending the tight end. Vikings tight end T.J. Hockenson had 10 receptions for 129 yards. Fellow tight end Irv Smith Jr. only had one reception for three yards but it went for a TD.

So Eagles tight end Dallas Goedert should have a field day.

Two key questions for the Eagles (1) Will Hurts be close to 100 percent? He has had two weeks off. After that regular-season finale against the Giants, coach Nick Sirianni said his quarterback was sore afterward. Was that just gamesmanship, because the Eagles rarely give more than the basics when talking about injury.

The second question is about the status of Lane Johnson. He has missed the last two regular-season games with a groin injury that will need an operation after the season. He returned to practice on Friday.

This year Johnson earned first-team All-Pro honors. He is acknowledged as the best right tackle in the NFL. According to status, the Eagles are 13-22 without Johnson.

While Johnson may not be 100 percent for the game, even at 80 percent is better than most linemen.

If Hurts and Johnson play according to form, then the Eagles should advance to the NFC championship game.

 

Photo Creds: Courtesy of Philadelphia Eagles

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Author: Marc Narducci

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