It looks like the Eagles could finally be back in business.
After a slow start to their season — due to several slow starts to games this season — the Eagles have battled back to a 2-3 mark. And with the NFC East sluggish as a whole in 2015, a win against the 3-2Giants Monday night will put the Eagles on top in the division.
Though the Eagles are 4.5 point favorites, and simulations on ESPN are predicting the Birds have close to a 70 percent chance to be the victor at Lincoln Financial Field in prime time, division games are almost always a coin toss.
They will certainly need to bring their ‘A game’ and have luck on their side, but first place is finally within reach.
Here is (some of) what the Eagles will need to do Monday to bring home victory No. 3:
Eli Manning can pulverize an NFL defense. Just ask the 49ers, who narrowly were defeated last week by a last-second Giants drive.
The quarterback carved up the Niners for 441 yards and three touchdowns in Week 5, propelling them to the NFC East lead — a lead the Eagles can only snatch from New York if they can keep Manning in check.
“Not only has he only thrown two interceptions [this season],” Chip Kelly said, “he’s only been sacked four times. He’s getting the ball out of his hand quickly. He can recognize how people are defending their team. If coverage is rolled one way, he’s automatically going another way.
“He doesn’t stay on a receiver and say, ‘Hey, I’ve got to throw the ball to this guy, so I’m going to wait for him to get open.’ He’s rapidly going through his progressions and putting themselves in a really good situation offensively, and they are throwing the ball a ton; he had 41 completions last week.”
The Birdsneed to make sure they can keep track of all of New York’s deadly weapons, especially if Odell Beckham Jr. and Reuben Randle to suit up and play.
The Giants are the third best NFL team against the run. They’ve allowed just 403 yards in five games this season and just 3.5 yards per carry.
The reason New York has been effective enough to win three games (and nearly its other two as well) is due in part to their rush defense turning the opposition one-dimentional and relying on the pass game (where they happen to be ranked 30th of 32 teams in pass defense).
The Eagleshave the tools to be successful through the air, as demonstrated by Sam Bradford in recent weeks, but the running game will be key to keep the Giants on their toes defensively.
“I think a lot of people have tried to throw the ball on them a little bit more just because you may be banging your head against the wall, in terms of trying to run the football against that look,” Kelly said, referring to the Giants run defense.”That’s the first thing, and I think a lot of coaches on the defensive side of the ball will tell you that, ‘Hey, we are going stop the run first, establish what we can do and try to make a team one-dimensional,’ and that’s how they have been successful on the defensive side.”
Back in black
The Eagles wore all black for the first time last season during a prime time game against the Giants.
Related to the uniforms or not (or to the fact that the crowd blacked out the stands with dark outfits of their own), the Eagles had a resounding 27-0 victory that was one of the high points of the 10-6, 2014 campaign.
Some more extracurricular activity is happening Monday as well, as the Eagles will honor Brian Westbrook and member of the1960 NFL Champion EaglesMaxie Baughan Monday night as well. Both will enter the team’s Hall of Fame. Perhaps these storied athletes from the past will serve as inspiration to those on the field attempting to mimic their success.