By Michael Stewart @TheTruthNYG
The New York Giants advance in the playoffs with an impressive win against the Minnesota Vikings 31-24. The win marks the Giants first playoff win since their last Super Bowl season (2012) and now they set their sights on the Philadelphia Eagles. The last time the Giants won at Philadelphia was back on October 27, 2013 (15-7). That’s not a misprint Giant fans, it’s been nearly ten years since the Giants have beaten the Eagles on their home field. However, all is not lost as the Giants are playing their best football and this current team doesn’t believe in jinx or could care less about the past. Here are my top 5 ways the Giants can win:
- Daniel Jones/Saquan Barkley Must Shine: The Giants need their two best offensive players to have breakout performances and lead by example. It won’t be easy against an Eagles defense ranked 2nd best overall with a league leading 70 sacks. The Eagles ranked 16th against the run and 5th overall against the pass as opposed to the Giants ranking 4th on the ground and 27th through the air. On paper it would appear that we could see a role reversal with Barkley carrying most of the offensive load for the Giants.
- Jalen Hurts Effectiveness: This game could boil down to the health and effectiveness of quarterback Jalen Hurts who hasn’t completed a pass in nearly two weeks. If Hurts is showing any rust or is limited in what he can do physically, the Giants will certainly have an edge. If Hurts is unable to utilize his dual-threat ability, the Giants will have a chance.
- Eagles Pass Rushing Machine: It’s hard to imagine Daniel Jones getting ample time in the pocket against the best pass rushing team in the NFL as the Eagles finished with 70 sacks on the year. To offset this pass rush, OC Mike Kafka must design an offensive attack that will benefit from the Eagles over aggressive defensive attack. Look for shorter drops by Jones with quick slants and also utilizing Barkley in different looks to create mismatches.
- Turnovers: Against the Vikings, the Giants were flawless in the turnover department, which was one of the key factors in their win. The Giants need a repeat performance in this department, and at the same time create a couple of turnovers on the defensive side. This will be no small task, but one that must happen if they want to advance.
- Time of Possession: Once again the Giants must control the clock as they did against the Vikings in order to keep the Eagles offense off the field for as long as possible. Once again, this is easier said than done, but having sustainable long drives and capitalizing on them will be essential for the Giants to break their losing streak on the Eagles home field.
Final Thoughts: The Giants are currently sitting at 7.5 points underdogs, but that could change come game time. I believe the Giants must start out strong against an Eagles team that hasn’t played a meaningful game in nearly two weeks. If the Giants can start strong and somehow establish a lead, then perhaps they’ll have a chance. This is a difficult game to predict as my heart is leaning towards the Giants, but my head has the Eagles advancing. In the end, I see this game going down to the wire as I go with my heart, the Giants magical season continues, and the curse is over. Final Score: Giants-23/Eagles-20