Three keys to victory for the Giants in an important NFC East matchup with the Eagles on Sunday:
1. Win up front, especially in the middle. The Eagles have had the Giants' number for the last decade, and if you look at the games that got out of hand, the reason can be found at the line of scrimmage. The Giants need another strong showing from their offensive line, which has played its best two games in the team's back-to-back wins. The defense that led Philadelphia to a Super Bowl victory and ranked No. 4 in both yards and scoring last year has fallen to the middle of the pack through 11 weeks of its encore. It has dealt with injuries in the secondary, but the defensive front has the ability to make up for those. It all starts with three-time Pro Bowl defensive tackle Fletcher Cox, who is 10-2 against the Giants.
"Because of the way they play defense and really the thing that stirs the drink for them is their front," coach Pat Shurmur said, "there are times where they can take a little pressure off their corners by the way their front and safeties play, so they've been doing a little bit of that. The players that they have in there are good players, and it's going to be important that we do a good job first off blocking them, and then when we choose to throw the ball outside, being really good about what we try to do."
2. Positive turnover differential. The basics never change and have only been emphasized the past two weeks. The Giants recorded six interceptions from five different players in their wins over the 49ers and Buccaneers, and more importantly, the offense never turned it over. The Giants are plus-8 in their three victories this season and minus-6 in the seven losses. Eli Manning threw an interception in Giants territory on the first drive of their October game against the Eagles, who quickly turned the pick into a touchdown and had Big Blue on its heels for the rest of the night.
3. Stay in coverage. The Eagles have struggled to find a rhythm this season, but coach Doug Pederson's offense is always hard to defend because it attacks the width of the field. That includes Carson Wentz's ability to move while keeping his eyes down the field, meaning defensive backs have to hold their coverage longer.
"They have the bubble screen game, they have the flat path runs that attack the perimeter, so they'll do the things to stretch the width of the field," Shurmur said. "But then they'll attack down the field with [tight end Zach] Ertz and some of the concepts they have. Wentz does a really good job not only of executing in rhythm, but if he can slide it out of the pocket -- I call them 60-yard check downs -- he does a really good job. He remains a passer all the way until he crosses the line of scrimmage, so it's super important that we stay in coverage because guys running free downfield, he'll see them all the way until the last moment before he starts to run. That's really what makes their offense tick. Their offensive linemen, they're healthy and together, they've blocked as well as any group in the league. For whatever reason, teams have things happen to them, but this is an outstanding offense."
View the Eagles projected starters for this Sunday's game