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Scouting Report

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Scouting Report: Jason Kelce vs. Dexter Lawrence among key matchups

SCOUTING-REPORT-EAGLES

The Giants play one more regular season game to close out the 2023 season as they host their NFC East rival, the Philadelphia Eagles. The Eagles have won 17 of the last 20 games against the Giants, but the Giants did beat the Eagles twice at MetLife Stadium in recent years (2020, 2021). Here are two matchups that could determine the winner on Sunday afternoon.

Jason Kelce vs. Dexter Lawrence

This game will feature two players that are arguably the best at their position in the NFL - nose tackle Dexter Lawrence and center Jason Kelce. When the two teams met in Week 16, Lawrence managed just one pressure on 25 pass rushing snaps against Kelce, according to Pro Football Focus (PFF). The analytics site did track him beating Kelce twice, though it did not impact the quarterback since Jalen Hurts got rid of the ball quickly.

This season, Dexter Lawrence is sixth among interior defensive linemen with 61 pressures, though he is the only nose tackle rated in the top ten. He has the second-highest pressure rate amongst all defensive tackles, behind only Chris Jones, at 16%.

According to PFF's tracking, the Giants blitzed the Eagles (sending at least 5 rushers) 36 of 43 times. The 84% blitz rate was 20% higher than any other team in Week 16. Despite all of those blitzes, the Giants managed pressure on just 28% of their snaps. Jalen Hurts finished the game with more than 300 passing yards. It remains to be seen if Wink Martindale will employ a similar strategy this week.

In the last matchup, the Eagles ran for 170 yards on 35 carries (4.9 yards per carry), including 92 yards from D'Andre Swift, 41 from Kenneth Gainwell, and 34 from Hurts. The Giants have allowed at least 4.5 yards per carry in six of their last seven games, and at least 100 yards in seven of their last eight.

Saquon Barkley vs. Eagles Run Defense

I was going to select Shaquille Leonard as an individual matchup here, but the success of the run game, or inability to stop the run in the Eagles' case, is a team effort. The Eagles have allowed at least 100 yards on the ground and at least four yards per carry in seven straight games. In five of those seven games, the Eagles surrendered at least 135 rushing yards.

The Giants rushed for 106 yards on 4.1 yards per carry in Week 16, with Saquon Barkley leading the way with 80 rushing yards. The Eagles have had a bit of a carousel at inside linebacker for most of the season, with Leonard and Nicholas Morrow starting last week.

Leonard did not arrive in Philadelphia until Week 14. Since then, he has 18 tackles, a sack, quarterback hit, and two tackles for loss. Milton Williams, Fletcher Cox, Jordan Davis and Jalen Carter split the snaps at defensive tackle, with Haason Reddick, Josh Sweat, Brandon Graham, and Nolan Smith taking snaps on the edge.

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

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