The Giants vs. the Eagles.
What more else needs to be said, really? This is a rivalry deep rooted in hate with no bounds. Simply put, this is war.
With the Giants right back in the mix of the NFC East race, and the Eagles currently holding down first place, this game has the early makings of an all-out bloodbath. Considering all the trash talk being exchanged (seriously, it’s getting out of hand!), the winner will have ultimate bragging rights and at least a share of the lead in the NFC East if the Cowboys lose to the Seahawks.
Suffice to say, this will be a great game. Here then are five things to watch.
How well will Andre Williams play with full rushing load?
Williams has shown in relief of Rashad Jennings that he can be effective running the ball.
In the last two games against Washington and Atlanta, Williams has rushed for 131 yards and two touchdowns. Now that Jennings will likely be out a few games with a sprained knee, Williams will have the bulls-eye on his back as the lead back. Will he be up for it?
Well, for this week, he should continue to impress, as he’ll be up against a vulnerable Eagles’ rush defense. The Eagles are allowing 132 rushing yards per game (28th in the NFL) and are certainly susceptible to being beat on the ground.
With the way Williams is barreling over tacklers and looking strong in the process, the Giants figure to give him a bulk of carries in this affair. Look for him to rise to the occasion.
Will LeSean McCoy continue to struggle?
As one of the preeminent running backs in the league, McCoy hasn’t enjoyed a fast start this year and has, quite frankly, underwhelmed for the majority of the season.
McCoy has rushed for just 273 yards (2.9 YPC) to go along with only one touchdown in five games this year. Mind you this is after he led the league in rushing (1,607) last year. This year he ranks just 17th in the NFL.
With the Giants doing better against the run (giving up 99 rushing yards per game-11th in the NFL) and perhaps getting Jon Beason back for Sunday’s game, New York looks like they’ll be able to prolong McCoy’s struggles.
Can the Giants create pressure on Nick Foles?
After a breakout 2013 campaign, Foles, too, hasn’t been all that this year. He has already thrown five interceptions this year after just throwing two last season. Teams are adjusting to Foles and if you can create some havoc up front, you can rattle him.
Now, he is not chopped liver and if you give him time, he’ll certainly connect with his receivers (Jeremy Maclin, Riley Cooper and rookie Jordan Matthews). This matchup could conceivably lead to a shootout with the way Eli Manning is playing.
However, the Giants will not likely want to engage in that type of war. So look for Jason Pierre-Paul and crew to cause some mayhem in the trenches and for the battle to be won there.
What can we expect from Odell Beckham Jr. going forward?
After waiting what seemed like forever, Beckham Jr. finally made his debut last week and shined, recording four receptions (on five targets) for 44 yards and a touchdown against the Falcons.
With him getting more up to speed in this offense, expect Manning to target him a bunch in the coming weeks. Beckham Jr. has the wheels and play-making abilities to shine in Ben McAdoo’s offense.
Considering the Eagles are giving up good chunks of yardage through the air (they allow 291.6 receiving yards per game, which ranks 28th in the NFL), this could be a game where Beckham Jr. continues to dazzle.
Will trash talk be distraction?
From Bradley Cooper to License Plate Guy, every one seemingly wants to chip in their two cents on this intense rivalry.
As Tom Coughlin often likes to say, “Talk is cheap, play the game.” I couldn’t agree more.
While it may be easy to fall into the trap of the war of words, games are never decided by who can talk the best. Walk the walk and let actions speak for themselves.
Simply put, the team that better executes its game plan will walk away victorious.
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