They've seen each other enough this season to have a feel for tendencies and schemes. They know each other from years past to understand what an NFC East game means in Week 6 of the regular season.
Giants at Eagles is the first truly big game of the NFC East schedule, and the national television audience and the #BlackSunday crowd at Lincoln Financial Field will truly add to the level of drama.
It's going to be wonderful theater tonight, and it's going to be a very competitive game. New York has won three straight games to reach 3-2, and the Eagles have gutted out four wins in five weeks to share the division lead with Dallas (which plays Seattle in a late-afternoon battle).
How do the Eagles win this game? Here are Five Ways To Beat The Giants and head into the bye week with a 5-1 record ...
1. Disrupt The Timing Of The Offense
The Giants are running the Green Bay offense, that version of the West Coast scheme. They use a lot of thee-wide receiver, one tight end and one back sets. The idea is to get the ball out of quarterback Eli Manning's hands, move the chains, and control the clock. Rookie running back Andre Williams is likely to attack to the interior of the Eagles defense, rather than run to the edges.
To counter, the Eagles must pressure the line of scrimmage in the run game and prepare for Williams and his power. Tackling is at a premium tonight. The defense must limit Williams before he builds up his speed and gets into the second level.
Philadelphia's secondary is going to be challenged by an excellent group of receivers, including tight end Larry Donnell. You might see more press coverage by the cornerbacks. Bill Davis is going to change the looks. Anything the Eagles can to force Manning to hold onto the football for an additional beat or two is critical on the backside. It wouldn't be a shocker to see the Eagles blitz just a little bit more to force the issue with Manning.
What you won't see is the Eagles backing off and allowing New York free releases at the line of scrimmage. A short passing game with free releases equals a lot of easy completions underneath, and that's exactly what the Eagles don't want.
2. Convert In The Red Zone
It's been a challenge all season for the Eagles inside their opponents' 20-yard line: They've scored 6 touchdowns in 16 trips, and that 37.5 percent touchdown percentage is among the worst in the league. It has to improve. Tonight is a great place to start.
How do the Eagles put the ball in the end zone? They would do well to continue the steps forward they took last week in the running game, particularly to the perimeter of the line of scrimmage, and quarterback Nick Foles has to be sharp in that short area.
There is probably no single solution here. It's a group thing. The Eagles have missed in the red zone because they've not executed well enough in every phase of the offense there. They've dropped passes, missed open receivers, missed blocking assignments, etc. It's a team thing.
And as a team, they need to buckle down in the red zone. Games like this are decided by field goals or touchdowns in the red zone.
3. Create Favorable Matchups For Ertz, Sproles
The Eagles need to get both tight end Zach Ertz and running back Darren Sproles into the big-play mode tonight, and they can do that by getting the football to them in space. It sounds a lot easier said than done, of course. Defenses are well aware of how dangerous both are in the passing game.
So who do you attack on the New York defense? The linebackers are probably the area to look to first. Can Jameel McLain or weakside linebacker Jacquian Williams cover in the open field? Is safety Quintin Demps someone to target vertically? If the Giant double team Sproles when he is running pass routes, who else comes free?
Certainly the Eagles want to get the running game going and, yes, LeSean McCoy is going to be featured in many ways tonight. He's still what makes this offense go. But if the Giants are going to sell out and load the box to limit the running game, the Eagles must make them pay down the field.
4. Win The Turnover Battle
It's a rule of the NFL that the teams that win the turnover battle each week win roughly 80 percent of the games. Yet the Eagles are defying that statistic, compiling a 4-1 record with a minus-4 ratio on turnovers. It won't last forever.
Ball security is a huge priority for both teams tonight. It always is, let's be honest. An Eagles team that turned the ball over just 19 times last season and compiled a plus-12 ratio has already lost 7 fumbles and thrown 5 interceptions. It's far, far too high for head coach Chip Kelly and his staff to tolerate.
In this pressure-packed environment, the Eagles must hold onto the football and demonstrate excellent decision making.
5. Beat New York Between The Ears
It's been a fun week of back and forth with New York, as it always is before these rivals meet. The Eagles cannot allow the moment to overwhelm them. That means they have to be disciplined and they must be focused and they need to execute the fundamentals of the game better than the Giants.
Philadelphia hasn't played its best game yet. It's been a season of spurts. On this national stage, with mid-season positioning in the division at stake and with a home crowd partying and howling from 2 p.m. through midnight, the air will be thick with excitement and crackling with energy.
Watch for it early from both teams. Which teams plays more physical football? Which team is attending to details more than the other? Which team jumps offsides on third and 3?
This is a big, big moment and nobody is denying that. The Eagles are looking to put it all together and deliver a complete game heading into the bye week at 5-1 and sitting pretty in a revived NFC East division.