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Eye On: Scouting the Philadelphia Eagles


The Giants take on the division rival Eagles at MetLife Stadium this Sunday. Here's what I've seen on tape:

When the Eagles have the ball…

From Weeks 3-6, the Eagles gained only an average of 90 rushing yards per game. In their last four games, the Eagles have rushed for 870 yards, which is 217.5 yards per game. Last week, they rushed for 242 yards against the Saints, which had the top rushing defense in the league heading into the game. Their rushing attack is multifaceted. Quarterback Jalen Hurts leads the team with 618 yards, which have come on traditional scrambles (365 yards) but also designed read-option plays. Miles Sanders is the team's top running back and averages just under five yards per carry. Downhill RB Jordan Howard injured his knee last week and might not be available.

Their 13 rushes of 20+ is tied for the most in the league (and more than double the league average) and their 52 rushes of 10+ yards ranks second; and 54% of their rushes go for at least four yards, which also ranks second. The Eagles (third, 4.99 rushing avg.) are primarily a zone blocking scheme team behind one of the best offensive lines in football (L to R): Jordan Mailata, Landon Dickerson, Jason Kelce, Jack Driscoll, Lance Johnson.

The Eagles have allowed a 34.5% pressure and sack (6.19%) rates are just about the league average, but no quarterback holds the ball longer than Jalen Hurts (3.27 seconds). Johnson has not allowed a sack and Jordan Mailata has only allowed two sacks and one quarterback hit. Their three starting interior players have only allowed four sacks between them, although Dickerson has allowed a team-high 22 pressures. The Eagles (199.5) are only one of four NFL teams averaging fewer than 200 passing yards per game. Hurts is completing 61.6% of his passes with 13 touchdowns and five interceptions. However, Pro Football Focus indicates he is only 14-of-38 for 485 yards with two touchdowns and four interceptions of throws of 20+ yards, resulting in the second-lowest passer rating on such throws in the NFL.

DeVonta Smith is the Eagles' top wide receiver with 46 catches for 664 yards, using quickness, speed and precise routes. Over 90% of his routes have come lining up outside and 28.2 % of his targets have come more than 20 yards down the field, which ranks 14th in the league, TE Dallas Goedert is a reliable receiver at tight end with 46 catches for 664 yards, while Quez Watkins has 26 catches for 408 yards and a touchdown. Watkins has emerged as the team's deep threat – his 15.7 avg. leads the team – with 32.5% of his targets being 20+ yards downfield (eighth).

Keys for the Giants' defense…

  1. Be disciplined in the team's pass rush lanes to prevent Hurts from leaving the pocket
  2. Stop the read-option and traditional run, even if it means dedicating an extra safety to the box
  3. If Hurts buys extra time, stay plastered to wide receivers to prevent big plays down the field

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

When the Giants have the ball…

The Eagles are roughly in the middle of the pack in most major yardage categories, although they allow 116.5 rushing yards per game (21st) and 4.11 yards per play (ninth). They have brought an eighth man into the box to help in run support the eighth-most times in the league.

The focus on defense is preventing big plays, having allowed only 26 passes of 20+ yards, which is tied for third-fewest (despite not having a bye week yet). In their effort to prevent those big plays, the Eagles have allowed a league-high 72% of passes to be completed against them.

Darius Slay is Philadelphia's top cover cornerback with five passes defended and three interceptions (with one returned for a touchdown). According to PFF, he has only allowed 33 receptions for 280 yards and three touchdowns this year. Veteran Steven Nelson plays on the outside across from him. Slot corner Avonte Maddox has six passes defensed with an interception and ranks fourth on the team with 49 tackles. He also has half of a sack, three quarterback hits, four tackles for loss and two forced fumbles. Veterans Anthony Harris and Rodney McLeod play safety, with McLeod spending more of his time deep, and Harris lining up all over the field. Marcus Epps is their third safety.

Only the Raiders blitz less often than the Eagles (18.2% of the time), who have a league average 33% pressure rate but only a 4.7 sack percentage (third-lowest). When blitzing, the Eagles send five rushers 92.6% of the time and have permitted a 117.0 QB rating (third-word in the NFL).

The Eagles use a rotation of eight defensive linemen and their two best pass rushers are probably their defensive tackles: Fletcher Cox and Javon Hargrave, who is tied for the second-most sacks amongst interior defensive linemen with six. According to PFF's defensive tackle rankings, Hargrave is seventh with 36 pressures and third with a 19.1% pass rush win rate. He leads the Eagles with 11 quarterback hits. Cox has only one sack and six quarterback hits, but is third on the team with 29 pressures despite facing constant double teams. Rookie Milton Williams and Hassan Ridgeway are the backups inside. Josh Sweat and Derek Barnett are the primary defensive ends, with Ryan Kerrigan and Tarron Jackson rotating in off the bench. ­

Keys for the Giants' offense…

  1. Protect against the inside pass rush
  2. Be patient with a short passing game if the Eagles play off-coverage
  3. Take advantage when the Eagles blitz with chunk plays
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