American Football

Eagles writer gives 3 reasons why the Giants will win the Divisional Round playoff game


NFC Wild Card Playoffs - New York Giants v Minnesota Vikings
Photo by David Berding/Getty Images

Yes, there are things Eagles fans are worried about

Brandon Lee Gowton of Bleeding Green Nation, the SB Nation Philadelphia Eagles web site gives us three reasons he thinks the New York Giants could win on Saturday night. BBV’s Nick Falato gave BGN three reasons the Eagles could win.

1 – Two of the Eagles’ best players might be hampered.

Jalen Hurts was not listed on the injury report this week. So, he’s totally healthy, right? Well, I don’t know. It’s hard to believe that he’s at 100% when it was just last week that Nick Sirianni talked about him being in so much pain after the Week 18 game. Is it possible that the Eagles were trying to embellish Hurts’ injury? You can’t rule it out. Sirianni is openly very big on the idea of “competitive advantage.” He’s also not typically very forthcoming about injuries.Regardless, Hurts certainly did not look to be operating at full capacity in the regular season finale. The Eagles need a much better version of him to show up in order to beat the Giants. And it’s possible the MVP candidate from earlier this year will show up on Saturday night.But it also seems possible that Hurts might deal with more inaccuracy issues than normal. And just how often the Eagles plan to use him as a designed runner remains to be seen. How will his shoulder hold up through the game?Hurts’ health and performance could be directly impacted by what happens at right tackle. Lane Johnson is set to start despite suffering a groin injury that will require surgery after the season is over. Johnson is pretty tough so it’s difficult to be against him … but he just might not be able to last through the entire game. He might give it a go and realize that he just can’t hold up out there. If that’s the case, the Eagles will be forced to play Jack Driscoll. Driscoll hasn’t been a total disaster when he’s played but there’s a huge drop-off from Johnson to his replacement. The Giants’ pass rush might be able to take advantage of the backup right tackle.

2 – Saquon Barkley has the potential to go off.

Barkley was banged up entering the Week 14 matchup between these two teams and then obviously did not play in Week 18.Resting seemed to pay off considering he looked effective in the Wild Card round with nine carries for 53 yards (5.9 average) and two rushing touchdowns to go with five receptions for 56 yards.Barkley could have success against an Eagles unit that ranks 21st in run defense DVOA and 24th in opponent yards per rush attempt (4.6). Giants backup running back Gary Brightwell recently just gave the Eagles’ run defense some issues. His 11 attempts went for 60 yards (5.5 average) earlier this month. Being able to run the ball effectively could help the Giants sustain long drives to keep the Eagles’ offense off the field.

3 – The Eagles are 0-2 in meaningful rematches this season.

The Eagles beat Washington fairly easily in Week 3 before the Commanders eventually came to Philly to break the undefeated streak. In the first half of that rematch, Taylor Heinicke did a good job of continually getting the offense to third-and-short and converting in those situations. Washington shortened the game by controlling the clock. They also took the juice out of the crowd. Fans might not have the same level of juice for the drive’s fourth third-and-short situation that they’d have for the first couple. The Giants would do well to go with a similar approach. They cannot expect to get into a shootout with the Eagles. They cannot allow the crowd to jump on them because it can be a flat out demoralizing experience. The Eagles beat the Cooper Rush Cowboys in Week 6 before losing to Dak Prescott in Dallas on Christmas Eve. That game was close to a point where Philly had a chance to win at the end. But the Birds were once again done in by four turnovers. Jonathan Gannon also lacked great answers to slow down Dak as the Cowboys quarterback went something like 24/24 against Philly’s zone coverage.So, in two of the Eagles’ three losses this season, they really beat themselves. The Giants, by contrast, don’t typically do that under Brian Daboll. New York is probably going to find a way to hang around.

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