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Scouting Report: Key matchups, numbers to know vs. Eagles

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The Giants host the Philadelphia Eagles, who have the best record in football and the numbers to back it up, on Sunday. This will be the toughest game to date for the Giants.

When the Eagles have the ball…

Numbers to know

388.3: Average yards gained by the Eagles per game – third in the NFL

The Eagles are a balanced rush/pass team ranking fifth in rushing yards per game and third in pass yards per play (7.77). Their 42% rush rate in the first halves of games ranks in the middle of the league (15th). They will pound the football and make teams pay with the deep ball for crowding the line of scrimmage. Their 28.2 points per game ranks second.

55: 20+ yard plays – third in the NFL

The Eagles have completed 42 passes of 20+ yards (tied for fifth in the league) and challenge down the field often. The team's quarterback rating of 119 on such attempts ranks third. The Eagles have also rushed for 20 or more yards 12 times, which is tied for sixth and they have 179 plays of 10+ yards (third).

45.8%: third-down conversion rate - fourth in the NFL

If there's one weakness for the Eagles' offense it is their ability to convert on third-and-long, ranking 19th on third-down conversion rate on attempts of 7+ yards (23.1%). But they also rank seventh in first-down offense, averaging 5.97 yards per play.

73.8%: red zone touchdown rate – second in the NFL

The Eagles' red zone attack ranks second, scoring touchdowns just under 74% of the time they get inside the 20 and they have 93 points from outside the red zone (sixth).

+13: Turnover Ratio – first in the NFL

The Eagles lead the league in turnover ratio, and takeaways (23 – 15 interceptions, 8 fumble recoveries).

Players to watch

Jalen Hurts: Hurts is a dual threat, averaging 245 passing yards and 50.8 rushing yards per game. He has scored 29 touchdowns (20 passing, nine rushing) and has only turned over the ball five times (three interceptions and two fumbles). According to PFF, his turnover worthy play rate is just 1.8%, which is the third-lowest in the NFL. He does that despite having an 8.6 yard average depth of target, which is 17th among quarterbacks with at least 100 dropbacks. His 68.1% completion rate ranks fifth.

If Hurts has one weakness, it is his willingness to hold the ball to make a play. His 2.95-second average time to throw is the eighth-longest in the NFL. It has led to a 8.31% sack rate (10th-highest). Of Hurts' 132 rush attempts, 99 have been designed runs, according to Pro Football Focus. He has 300 rushing yards on those plays, which is just under half of his total (609 yards). His longest run of the year is 42.

Hurts is a worthy MVP candidate.

AJ Brown: Brown has 61 catches for 950 yards and nine touchdowns. His 15.6-yard average ranks seventh. At 6'1 and 226 pounds with 4.49 speed, Brown has the size and speed to get behind the defense, make contested catches, and strength to overcome physical play from opposing cornerbacks to get open and break tackles after the catch. Fellow receiver Devonta Smith (61-711-4) is an excellent route runner with great speed.

Miles Sanders: Sanders ranks sixth in rushing (924 yards) and averages 4.94 yards per carry (ninth among RBs). He has nine rushing touchdowns. He has 28 runs of 10+ yards this season, which ranks third among RBs. He has also caught 17 passes for 74 yards.

Lane Johnson: According to PFF, Johnson has not allowed a sack or quarterback hit all season in 437 pass blocking snaps. As a whole, the Eagles offensive line has allowed a 29% pressure rate (sixth).

Key Matchup: Dexter Lawrence vs. Jason Kelce

Kelce is one of the best centers in the NFL and a potential future Hall of Fame candidate, but he has had periodic issues with bigger nose tackles who line up over him. Kelce is very athletic and technically sound but he is not the biggest guy at 6'3 and 282 pounds.

Keys for the Giants' offense

*Make Jalen Hurts execute a short conservative pass game

*Stop the Eagles' attack on early downs to force them into third-and-long

*Speed up Hurts' process and don't let him use his legs to extend plays or run for first downs

View rare photos of the historic rivalry between the New York Giants and Philadelphia Eagles.

When the Giants have the ball…

Numbers to know

5.32: average yards allowed per pass play – best in the NFL

The Eagles' defense is dominant because of their pass defense. No team allows fewer yards per play or per game (178.5). The impact on the Eagles overall defense (2nd in yards allowed per game with 296.4, and 2nd in yards allowed per play – 4.74) is obvious to see.

28: Completions of 20+ yards allowed – third in the NFL

The Eagles do not allow big plays through the air. Opponent passer rating on passes that travel at least 20 yads in the air is just 64.2 (ninth).

42: sacks by the Eagles defense - second in the NFL

The Eagles have a number of dangerous pass rushers, with five players having five sacks or more. Their 10.42% sack rate second, behind only the Cowboys. The Eagles' 39% pressure rate is third and their 24.3% blitz rate ranks 19th, according to PFF.

4.75: average yards allowed on first down – third in the NFL

The Eagles' first-down defense is what helps their third-down effectiveness (tied for 10th). They are dominant on third-and-6+ yards, allowing only a 16.2% conversion rate. They are vulnerable in third-and-short and medium situations, allowing a 44.7% conversion rate on third downs between 4-6 yards (17th) and a 65.2% conversion rate on third downs of fewer than 4 yards (26th).

50%: Opponent red zone touchdown rate – sixth in the NFL

4.64: average yards allowed per rush play – 24th in the NFL

If the defense has a weakness, it is against the run. They went through a stretch of five straight games in October-November when they allowed 124+ rushing yards, including 152 to Washington in their lone loss of the season. They have defended the rush better in their last three games, allowing 99, 106, and 87 yards in consecutive weeks to the Colts, Packers, and Titans. Those three teams feature some of the best running backs in the league (Jonathan Taylor, Aaron Jones, Derrick Henry). During the recent stretch the Eagles added veteran defensive tackles Linval Joseph and Ndamukong Suh. Also, rookie Jordan Davis returned from injury.

Players to know

DT Javon Hargrave: He has eight sacks this year, and leads the Eagles with 48 pressures, according to Pro Football Focus. He also has 11 quarterback hits. He will line up over the opposing team's left guard on most plays.

EDGE Josh Sweat: Sweat will line up across from Andrew Thomas for most of the game. He has 6.5 sacks, which is the third on the team. He also leads them with 17 quarterback hits. Veteran Brandon Graham will rotate in as the third edge rusher.

CB James Bradberry: The former Giants cornerback leads the Eagles with 14 passes defended. He is also tied with fellow cornerback Darius Slay with three interceptions, one of which he returned for a touchdown. Bradberry plays about 70% of his snaps on the right side of the defense, with Darius Slay playing the other side as one of the best corner duos in the league.

S Reed Blankenship: After Chauncey Gardner-Johsnon was placed on IR with a lacerated kidney, Blankenship, a 2022 undrafted free agent, moved into the starting line up at free safety. He already has an interception. He did not play his first defensive snap this season until Week 11.

Key Matchup: EDGE Haason Reddick vs. RT Evan Neal: An off-season addition, Reddick leads the Eagles with nine sacks and is second on the team with 16 quarterback hits. According to PFF, his 41 pressures ranks second on the team. He lines up almost exclusively over the opponent's right tackle, so Evan Neal will be tested by him for the majority of the game.

Keys for the Giants' offense:

*Be efficient on first down to stay out of third-and-long

*Run the ball well, whether it is with Saquon Barkley or Daniel Jones

*Do not let this turn into a game where Daniel Jones has to pass it 40 times

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