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Fact or Fiction: Matchups to watch vs. Eagles


The staff debates Big Blue topics as the Giants get set to face the Eagles in Philadelphia:

JOHN SCHMEELK: Fiction - I'm not sure how much Collins will get lined up with Ertz one-on-one given how much the Eagles use two tight ends. The Giants also prefer to put Collins in the position to run to the ball, rather than get him stuck in man-to-man coverage down the field. The most important matchup on the field, in my opinion, is how whoever the Giants guards are going to be vs. Fletcher Cox. He is a game changer at defensive tackle, and with the potential of Justin Pugh having to play right tackle again, he might be going against a backup player.

DAN SALOMONE: Fiction - I'm just going to say it's the closest defender vs. Carson Wentz. The former second overall draft pick grew eyes in the back of his head in his second season and looks comfortable under pressure. "At times, he looks like Aaron Rodgers out there running around," defensive tackle Damon Harrison said this week. The Giants know all about what problems are created when a quarterback can extend plays.

LANCE MEDOW: Fiction -This Giants-Eagles matchup comes down to one facet of football: play in the trenches.  Every other battle on the field will be dependent on how both offensive lines and defensive lines perform, given the teams' similar issues.  The Giants and Eagles have both surrendered eight sacks in two games.  New York allowed five in Monday's loss to the Lions; Philadelphia six in last Sunday's loss at Kansas City.  Based on those numbers, it's fair to say whichever team is more effective in pass protection will have a significant edge.  On the flip side, the Eagles have sacked opposing quarterbacks eight times in two games: Kirk Cousins four times in Week 1 and Alex Smith four times, as well, in Week 2.  In comparison, the Giants have collected half that total, four, in two contests.

Darren Sproles is the most dangerous player on the Eagles.

JOHN SCHMEELK: Fiction - Aside from the aforementioned Fletcher Cox and his pass rushing mate Brandon Graham, I have to go with Alshon Jeffery. With his size, he is one of those players that can make plays all over the field even when he is covered tightly. The Giants play a lot of man-to-man coverage, and he will likely be Carson Wentz's go-to player for big plays when he needs one. He can also be a chain mover on slants.

DAN SALOMONE: Fact -The 5-foot-6, 190-pounder has given headaches to the Giants for years. The 13-year veteran is 8-2 in games he's played against the Giants, ranging from his time with the Chargers to the Saints and now the Eagles. He averages 6.3 yards per carry and 11.8 yards per punt return in his career against the Giants. His size makes him hard to locate and bring down. He's the ultimate X-factor.

LANCE MEDOW: Fiction -I think Darren Sproles is one of the most dangerous players on the Eagles but his touches vary from game to game as is well documented just two games into this season.  In Week 1, he had ten carries only to see that workload fall to two in Week 2.  He's also effective as a receiver and special teamer but those opportunities fluctuate, as well, and are dependent on a number of factors.  The one player, on offense, the Giants need to focus on is tight end Zach Ertz, who has become Carson Wentz's go to target this season as he leads the team in receptions and receiving yards.  The Giants have also had trouble with opposing tight ends as Dallas' Jason Witten and the Lions' Eric Ebron have combined to catch 12 of their 14 targets for 101 yards and each scored touchdowns against New York.  Unlike Witten and Ebron, Ertz is just as dangerous as a vertical threat as he is in the middle of the field.

Eli Manning will have more passing attempts than Carson Wentz.

JOHN SCHMEELK: Fiction - Neither team has run the ball well this season, with the Eagles averaging just 83 yards per game and the Giants at 49. The answer to this question will be determined by which team has more consistent and longer offensive drives, which will give them more snaps. Based on what we have seen so far this season, the Giants have had issues sustaining long drives. The Eagles' rush defense has also been better than the Giants, allowing 45 fewer yards per game. If the Giants are going to win this game, it is going to be through the air.

DAN SALOMONE: Fact -Considering he set the franchise record with 63 attempts in his last trip to Lincoln Financial Field, I'll say fact. The Giants have the lowest rush percentage through two weeks at 27.8 percent. I expect this to turn into an aerial show, and Odell Beckham Jr. will need to have a big day with Manning if the Giants are to win this one.

LANCE MEDOW: Fact -Eli Manning attempted one less pass (38) than Dak Prescott (39) in Week 1 and 11 more (32-21) than Matthew Stafford in Week 2 and like, Manning, Carson Wentz has also split his first two games.  The number of passing attempts is tied solely to the success of the run game.  While the Eagles have been up and down with their ground attack, the Giants are dead last in the NFL in rushing yards per game, averaging just 49 yards per game, and Philadelphia is surrendering 88 per contest.  You also can't overlook Wentz's ability to aid the run game as he scrambled for 55 yards on four runs last Sunday in Kansas City.  Based on those stats, I think it's likely the Giants will once again be relying on Manning's arm.

The Giants will have more than three sacks in Philadelphia.  

JOHN SCHMEELK: Fiction - Eli Manning and Carson Wentz have both been sacked eight times this year. Wentz has excellent mobility and will hold the ball in an attempt to make a big play down the field, which can lead to sacks. It should give the Giants the chance to get home against him over the course of the game. His urge to try to keep plays alive and hunt a big gain could also lead to Giants takeaways. That being said, four sacks is a big ask for any team in any game. Two or three? Sure. Four? Sorry, not when the Eagles starting tackles, Jason Peters, and Lane Johnson are both very good players. I have to go for the fiction slam.

DAN SALOMONE: Fiction -As I talked about before, Wentz is just a slippery guy to bring down to begin with. Oh, and he has a nine-time Pro Bowler protecting his blind side. The Giants' defensive front can contain him without bringing him down, but the damage will need to come in the form of interceptions from the secondary.

LANCE MEDOW: Fiction -Through the first two games of the season, the Giants have collected four total sacks including three against the Lions.  Although the Eagles have had pass protection issues, it looks as if they're making a change at left guard this week and having veteran Chance Warmack replace second-year player Isaac Seumalo, who had a rough performance last Sunday in Kansas City, a game in which the Eagles allowed six sacks.  It's certainly possible the Giants could reach half that total but, given the personnel change on the Philadelphia line, I think more than three could be a challenge.

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