Match-Up Focus: Eagles vs Giants

PREVIOUS GAME RESULTS

2016 WEEK 9 EAGLES 23 GIANTS 28

2015 WEEK 17 EAGLES 35 GIANTS 30

2015 WEEK 6 GIANTS 7 EAGLES 27

Player to Watch – Carson Wentz

I mentioned last week the remaining part of the schedule is all about Carson Wentz and his development and mechanics.  This will be a nice test because this will be the second time he will be playing the Giants.  I want to see what adjustments he has made.  Last time out vs the Giants he threw 2 awful 1st Q interceptions.  If he can avoid the first Q TO’s which he hasn’t done all year this game can be competitive.  I really liked the run heavy game plan last week.  I really hope Doug Stays with it.  I have my doubts.  The final drive of last week had to feel great for Wentz.  Although the Eagles are 0-6 in close games that was the drive we have been wanting to see for sometime now.  The 2pt try was unsuccessful but I was very impressed.  Will that drive springboard Wentz into the final 2 games and offseason?  Hopefully that’s the case.

Player to Watch – Lane Johnson

Lane Johnson returns just in time.  Just in time to save the season.  Just kidding, his stupidity all but crippled this team at arguably one of the most important positions.  It’s not a coincidence the Eagles season just happened to nose dive as he was starting his 10 game suspension.  I’ve said my peace.  The suspension is over with and now it’s time to move forward.  Lane will help solidify the OL and particularly the RT spot where due to injuries has been a bit of a revolving door.  His addition will no doubt help the run game that has struggled since his absence.  Look for Seumalo to move back to his LG spot.  He filled in very nicely last week at RT.  The Eagles got a good one in the rookie 3rd rounder.  He’s proven his versatility.  If you recall, back in college at one time or another he played every spot on the OL.  He’s close to doing that in Eagles green.  The future is bright for him and I think it’s at center.

Player to Watch – Brandon Graham

You could argue Graham has been the most consistent player on the Eagles defense for the entire season outside of Jordan Hicks or possibly Malcolm Jenkins. Graham has been a guy Jim Schwartz can count on for the majority of a season where the rest of the defensive line has underperformed to say the least. He only has registered 5.5 sacks on the season, but he’s been able to consistently generate pressure on opposing quarterbacks while others have not. Graham received the third highest grade on the Eagles defense against the Ravens according to Pro Football Focus. He recorded five pressures against Ricky Wagner along with a sack of Joe Flacco. PFF has Graham graded as the third best edge defender in the league, and he also ranks fourth in terms of total pressures for edge defenders. Graham seemed to be the forgotten man heading into 2016 as Fletcher Cox and Vinny Curry both received hefty contract extensions. However, Graham has been the player who’s brought each and every week despite the defensive struggles since the early portion of the schedule. This game on Thursday night will be about making it through another three hours to get closer to the offseason. In the meantime, keep an eye on a player who will be a building block of the Eagles defense for the coming years in Brandon Graham.

Player to Watch – Sterling Shepard

The rookie wide receiver for the Giants caught one of two touchdown passes thrown by Eli Manning in a Week 15 win at home against the Lions. On the afternoon Shepard caught four passes totaling 56 yards including his score. For the season, the rookie wideout from Oklahoma has 55 receptions for 592 yards and seven touchdowns. Pro Football Focus has Shepard graded as the 53rd wide receiver in the league. He’ll only continue to improve so long as Odell Beckham drawing double coverage for the majority of games. The Eagles secondary, specifically the corner position, is a mess as we’re all too aware. Shepard recorded three catches for 50 yards in the earlier matchup this season including a touchdown on a corner route. Jalen Mills was questioning play calls by Jim Schwartz this week, and predictably Schwartz fired back through the media. I’ll be interested to see if Mills draws the assignment on Shepard or if the Eagles decided to use Malcolm Jenkins in the slot once again to shadow the rookie. As usual the pass rush will be key to how effective the secondary is especially since the Giants offense is predicated on timing and quick passing.

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The pain and suffering is almost over.  2 more games left!

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