Giants.com gives three keys for the Giants to come away with a win on Sunday
The outcome of the last meeting between the Giants and Eagles set the NFC East rivals on two very different paths.
Philadelphia, 1-1 heading into the Week 3 matchup, won on a 61-yard field goal as time expired at Lincoln Financial Field, marking the beginning of a nine-game winning streak that led to the current best record in the NFC. Big Blue, on the other hand, finds itself with two wins with three games to play.
The teams meet again this Sunday at MetLife Stadium as the Eagles have to replace their MVP candidate Carson Wentz under center. Here are three keys to victory for the Giants:
The Eagles, who are in the driver's seat for the No. 1 seed in the NFC playoffs, will play the rest of the season without Wentz, who suffered a torn left ACL last week against the Rams. The NFL leader in passing touchdowns is known as Houdini around the Giants' facility, but Nick Foles, Philadelphia's starting quarterback the rest of the way, is capable of making his own magic.
Foles takes over an offense that currently ranks first in several categories, including scoring (31.1 points per game), red-zone touchdown efficiency (67.4 percent), plays of 10+ yards (204), time of possession (33:35) and scoring differential (+154).
Foles, who is in his second stint with the Eagles, boasts a 94.1 passer rating with Philadelphia, which ranks first all-time in franchise history (minimum 500 attempts). Foles is 20-16 overall as a starter in the regular season, including 1-0 against the Giants. In his Pro Bowl year of 2013, Foles threw 27 touchdowns to just two interceptions. He is 14-5 as a starter in games he does not throw an interception, and 6-11 in games when he has at least one.
A look at the key playmakers on the Eagles roster heading into Week 15
STOP THE RUN
The best way to limit the Eagles through the air is to get them on the ground. Philadelphia is second in the NFL in both average rushing yards (143.0) and carries (31.3) per game. Four players on the team have at least 290 yards on the ground (Wentz is one of them), and the group is led by touchdown machine LeGarrette Blount. The Eagles also acquired Jay Ajayi on Halloween, a year after the former Dolphin became the fourth player in NFL history to rush for 200 yards three times in the same season. To make a long story short, the game plan doesn't change much with a new quarterback handing off the ball.
"The system that [Eagles head coach] Doug [Pederson] runs down there is taxing on you defensively from a standpoint of you have to stop the run so everybody gets heavy on their toes," interim head coach/defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo said. "And yet they got a really good play action pass game."
He added: "They operate offensively like clockwork. I mean, they've got weapons on the outside. The tight ends are, you know, they got enough of them to worry about obviously and add in another running back to a group of running backs that are really good and it's running back by committee. You got to be aware of which running back is in the game."
CHIP AWAY ON 3RD DOWN
There is a strong correlation between third down and winning in the NFL. The top 10 teams third down teams offensively are all above .500. It's no surprise then that the Eagles, who are tied for the best record in the league, are third in that department with a 45.3 conversion percentage. Defensively, they are just as strong, ranking third with opponents converting just 30.2 percent of the time.