Fresh off a bye week, the (4-3) New York Giants host the (4-3) Philadelphia Eagles Sunday in a game with huge divisional implications.
When GM Jerry Reese addressed the media Monday on the state of the Giants, he said his main concern heading into the second half of the season is to get the offense going.
“Offensively, we definitely need to pick up the pace in a lot of categories,” Reese said, according to Giants.com on October 31, 2016. “I believe we did some things over the break and self-scouted a little bit to look into what is going on with our offense. Obviously, we need to run the ball better. We need to do better down in the red zone and score some points.”
Picking up the pace against the Philadelphia Eagles’ defense will be a challenge.
Will the Giants finally be able to run the ball?
The Eagles’ defense ranks 20th in opponent rushing average, giving up 114.7 yards a game. That is good news for a Giants ground attack that currently sits dead last in both total rushing yards (493) and rushing yards per game (70.3).
To keep Philadelphia’s defense honest, the Giants must find success on the ground. The offense constantly finds itself in third-and-long situations, which has resulted in just a 34.9 percent third-down conversion rate and made them predictable in the passing game.
Rashad Jennings and company have to make third-downs more manageable for Eli Manning.
Can the passing game rekindle its momentum?
The Giants’ passing game seemed to be trending upward after Eli Manning and Odell Beckham Jr. shredded the Baltimore Ravens’ secondary in week six. In week seven against St. Louis, however, the passing game looked lackluster.
So can the Giants’ offense recapture its success through the air? It might be tough.
Philadelphia’s defense ranks top five in opposing quarterback’s completion percentage (57.3), passing yards a game (214), and sacks (22).
The offensive line has allowed just one sack in its last two games, creating optimism that the front unit can get it done after a shaky start to the season. Protecting Eli Manning is going to be crucial if the team wants to have success through the air against a stingy Philadelphia defense.
How will the Giants fare against a ball-hawking defense?
Entering Week 9, the Giants have given the ball away 14 times, the fourth most in the NFL. The Eagles, on the other hand, are tied for the sixth most takeaways with 13.
The Giants have yet to play a game without committing a turnover. In the previous two games, the offense has turned the ball over on its opening possession.
Against a great Philadelphia defense, the Giants will need to limit their mistakes and play the field position game.