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Fact or Fiction: Predictions for Sunday

Daniel Jones is about to finish the best rookie season in franchise history.

John Schmeelk - Fiction: We only have to look back one year for a rookie season better than Daniel Jones: Saqoun Barkley, 2018. Obviously, the quarterback position is more valuable to the overall success of the football team, but Barkley might have been the best running in football last season. If you go back to Odell Beckham Jr.'s rookie season, despite being injured, he was one of the top wide receivers in the league. As encouraging as Jones' rookie season has been, he is not in that conversation at quarterback. For example, he only ranks 22nd in yards per attempt, 17th in completion percentage, and 16th in quarterback rating. Those numbers are impressive for a rookie, but it doesn't put him into the upper echelon of rookie performances in Giants history. If the statement had been specific to quarterbacks, this answer would probably be different.

Lance Medow - Fiction: If the statement read: "best season for a rookie quarterback in franchise history," this is an easy fact. That's because Daniel Jones has already broken Charlie Conerly's rookie records for completions, pass attempts, passing yards and passing touchdowns that were set in 1948, plus Jones is still within striking distance of the NFL rookie record for touchdowns through the air. With all that being said, when you look at what other Giants, such as Lawrence Taylor, Odell Beckham and Saquon Barkley, have done in their rookie seasons, it's hard to put Jones ahead of any of those three. Taylor won NFL Defensive Player of the Year as a rookie. That's all you need to know, and Beckham and Barkley had record setting first seasons, not just in terms of franchise history but league history.

Saquon Barkley will run for 100 yards for the third consecutive game.

John Schmeelk - Fiction: The Eagles' number one priority all season has been to stop the run, and it will be no different when they face the Giants on Sunday. They are the third-ranked run defense, allowing only 88 rushing yards per game. There is always a chance that Barkley breaks a long run to put him over 100, but I will bet against that. The weaker part of the Eagles defense is their secondary, and I expect the Giants to attack them through the air. 

Lance Medow - Fiction: The Eagles are very strong in defending the run, as they're only allowing 88 rushing yards per game (3rd NFL). Just two opposing running backs have collected at least 100 rushing yards against Philadelphia this season: Dallas' Ezekiel Elliott in Week 7 and Rashaad Penny of the Seahawks in Week 12. In Week 14, Philly contained Barkley, holding him to 66 yards on 17 carries. Although Barkley has had a great deal of success on the ground in each of the last two games, there's a distinct difference between the Dolphins and Redskins' rushing defenses and the Eagles. Miami and Washington both entered their respective games against the Giants ranked 28th or lower in defending the run. The Eagles are on the complete opposite end of the spectrum.

Sunday will be a higher-scoring game than the first leg of the season series earlier this month

John Schmeelk - Fact: The improved weather conditions alone should help the offenses be more effective in this game. It was raining for the entire game on Monday night, December 9, in Philadelphia. With a forecast of a high of 45 degrees and rain that is supposed to hold off until the evening hours, the teams will have a better opportunity to be more explosive offensively. The absence of Eagles weapons (Alshon Jeffery and possibly Zach Ertz) will make it difficult on them, but they have figured out a way to score the past couple of weeks. It will be Daniel Jones' first chance against an Eagles defense that relies on pressure up front to affect opposing quarterbacks. I look forward to seeing how he handles it. 

Lance Medow - Fiction: When the teams met in Week 14, they combined to score 40 points, but that was also an overtime game. The Giants have scored at least 36 points in each of their last two contests, but, again, the Philadelphia defense is much different from Miami and Washington when it comes to efficiency. Despite that, the Eagles' defense has been far more effective at home than on the road; each of their last two road opponents scored at least 27 points. I actually think the score will be very similar to the first matchup, if not slightly lower. There's a high probability for rain during the game and with wet conditions comes sloppy play.

Philadelphia's defense poses a bigger challenge than its offense.

John Schmeelk - Fact: Given all the injuries the Eagles have on offense, it is hard to give any other answer. They could be without their top four weapons in the passing game: Zach Ertz, Alshon Jeffery, Nelson Agholor and DeSean Jackson. They will probably be missing their right tackle, Lane Johnson. They are patching together an offensive attack with screens and other passes to tight ends and running backs. While their pass defense is still susceptible to plays down the field, the Eagles front and playmakers like Fletcher Cox, Brandon Graham and Malcolm Jenkins are dangerous and can all make game-changing plays. 

Lance Medow - Fiction: For the second straight week, I'm going with the fiction sweep. The Eagles could be without their top three wide receivers, top tight end and starting right tackle when they play the Giants. Based on that breakdown, it's easy to say the defense poses a bigger challenge, but I think the unknown surrounding the Philadelphia offense is what makes that unit much more dangerous. Due to injuries, the Eagles have been working several new faces into the lineup over the last few weeks. Despite that, Carson Wentz is putting together one of the best stretches of his young career. He has thrown for six touchdowns with no interceptions in the last three games combined and completed nearly 78 percent of his passes against the Cowboys last Sunday. Miles Sanders and Boston Scott are versatile running backs who are taking on bigger roles as receivers. Tight end Dallas Goedert is capable of filling in for Zach Ertz, and without a primary vertical threat, head coach Doug Pederson has been more creative in how he uses personnel. On top of that, let's not forget the Giants' defense surrendered 35 points to the Redskins last Sunday.


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