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The Hit, The Miracles, Black Sunday – how many memorable moments have come from the Eagles-Giants rivalry? Or perhaps the better question – what will happen next?
The Eagles swept the Giants in 2014 behind a pair of impressive victories. Up first was Black Sunday, as the Eagles debuted their all-black uniforms for the first time in team history. Behind the new threads and a raucous crowd, the Eagles dominated the Giants, pitching the team's first shutout since 1996. The 27-0 drubbing featured a relentless pass rush on Eli Manning and a balanced offensive attack. This time around, the Eagles will once again look for that balance and that full-throttle defensive effort to send the Giants back up the New Jersey Turnpike unhappy.
Like the Eagles, the Giants got off to a sluggish 0-2 start, blowing double-digit leads to Dallas and Atlanta. Since then, they've won three games in a row, and the play of quarterback Eli Manning has been the engine that makes the Big Blue machine go. With 10 touchdowns and just two interceptions on the season, Manning has been playing at perhaps the highest level of his illustrious career. With Odell Beckham Jr. and Rueben Randle on the outside (both of whom are dealing with injuries this week) and versatile backs like Rashad Jennings and Shane Vereen coming out of the backfield, Manning has been given a talented cast of targets and the offense has thrived under coordinator Ben McAdoo. It's obvious, but if Beckham's hamstring injury keeps him sidelined, that will provide a big boost to the Eagles' secondary.
Meanwhile, the Eagles are looking to put together their first winning streak of the season and climb back toward the top of the NFC East. The running game got back on track last week against New Orleans, as DeMarco Murray had his biggest game on the ground as an Eagle. The Giants have been one of the best teams in the league when it comes to stopping the run, but the Eagles should look to get the ground game going early to allow Bradford to air it out later in the game.
The Eagles will be back in black on Monday night. Will they also be back to .500? Here's the preview ...
- Alex Smith
Last Time They Met*
Eagles 34, Giants 26
*December 28, 2014 - MetLife Stadium
In Week 17 of the 2014 season, the Eagles went on the road to take on a 6-9 Giants team. Philadelphia came away with a 34-26 victory, sweeping their season series with their division rivals to finish the season 10-6.
Quarterback Mark Sanchez completed 23 of his 36 passes for 292 yards, two touchdowns and an interception. LeSean McCoy, Chris Polk and Darren Sproles combined for 142 yards on 25 combined carries (5.7 yards per carry). Rookie wideout Jordan Matthews caught eight of the 10 passes thrown his way for a total of 105 yards and a touchdown on a 44-yard catch-and-run.
For the Giants, Eli Manning completed 28-of-53 passes for 429 yards, a touchdown and an interception. Receivers Odell Beckham Jr. and Rueben Randle combined for 343 yards on 18 catches and a touchdown, while running backs Andre Williams and Rashad Jennings combined for 76 yards on 25 carries (3.0 yards per carry).
When The Eagles Have The Ball**
For the first four weeks of the season, Eagles fans waited anxiously to see the explosive Chip Kelly offense they expected the team would have when the year began. Through that point, Philadelphia still hadn't broken 400 yards of total offense in a game, a plateau they'd reached in 22 of the first 32 games (68.8 percent) of Kelly's reign as head coach beginning in 2013. But in Week 5, the Eagles broke out in a huge way.
The team amassed 519 yards of total offense in a 39-17 rout of the New Orleans Saints on Sunday, earning 333 of their yards through the air and 286 on the ground. It marked just the second time since the NFL-AFL merger that the team hit those two marks in the same game, with the last instance coming in 1981.
Quarterback Sam Bradford completed 32 of the 45 passes he attempted, good for a 71.1 percent completion rate, and, as has been a consistent theme all year, his best football came in the second half. On Sunday, Bradford completed 13 of the 15 passes he attempted (86.7 percent) in the second half, and on the season he's completing 70.2 percent of his second-half attempts versus just 56.3 percent in the opening 30 minutes of games. Against the Giants, who've allowed the third-most passing yards in the league so far this season, Bradford will look to get out to a fast start.
New York has trended positively each week in regard to pass defense, surrendering just 256 yards through the air in Sunday's 30-27 win over the San Francisco 49ers, after giving up 258, 305, 346 and 356 yards passing, respectively, in the four weeks prior. But entering Week 6, the Giants will be without arguably their most talented cornerback, Prince Amukamara, who is dealing with a pectoral injury that could sideline him for the next 2-4 weeks. In his place, Jayron Hosley is expected to get the starting nod.
On the ground, the Eagles are hoping their 286-yard day last Sunday will carry over against the Giants, who allowed the 49ers to go for 124 yards after holding their first four opponents below the century mark. Coming off his best game as an Eagle, one in which he went for 83 yards on 20 rushes, DeMarco Murray will look to go over the century mark for the first time this season. The 2014 rushing champion broke 100 yards on the ground in 10 of his 16 games last season with the Cowboys, doing so in each of Dallas' first eight games.
- Max Rappaport
When The Giants Have The Ball**
The Giants have relied heavily on their passing game this season, ranking seventh among all teams with an average of 282.4 yards passing per game. This area has truly been their strength, seeing as New York is 26th in the league with an average of only 91.2 rushing yards each week.
A big part of the passing success has been due to the play of quarterback Eli Manning. Through five games, he has 1,417 yards, fifth most in the league, 10 touchdowns and a rating of 100.2. He will be entering Monday's game after a stellar comeback performance against the 49ers that earned him NFC Offensive Player of the Week honors. He led the team on a winning touchdown drive with less than two minutes remaining. Manning completed 41-of-54 passes for 441 yards and three touchdowns. Those 41 completions and the 102nd win of his career both set new franchise records for New York. In other words, the Eagles will be facing a very confident Manning come Monday night.
Additionally, the quarterback has thrown just two interceptions and has only been sacked four times. However, Manning and his team will be facing off against the NFC Defensive Player of the Week, Fletcher Cox, which could help change some of those stats.
Last week, Cox had three sacks, two forced fumbles and a fumble recovery. If he and the Eagles' defense can put up a similar performance, it could put hold off a strong Giants offense. Philadelphia has also accumulated six interceptions in 2015, three of them coming from former-Giant Walter Thurmond. The six picks tie the team for sixth in the league. Philadelphia's eight forced fumbles are tied for the most in the league and their seven fumble recoveries are the most of any NFL team. If Philadelphia can create turnovers against the Giants, it could be a determining factor in the outcome of the game.
Manning's most frequent target this season has been none other than Odell Beckham Jr. The wide receiver leads the team 31 catches for 428 yards and three touchdowns. However, when taking on the Eagles, it is clear Beckham will not be operating at 100 percent. He sustained a hamstring injury last Sunday and did not practice with the team on Thursday or Friday. If playing injured, which the Eagles are expecting, it may slow him down and allow Philadelphia to have the upper hand. Additionally, the team's second-leading receiver Rueben Randel has also been dealing with a hamstring injury.
It's safe to say this means the Giants could possibly utilize Shane Vereen even more than they already have this season. The running back also has a knack for catching passes, grabbing 20 for 208 yards in the opening five games. Even though their run game has struggled, Vereen has become a weapon for the team and they will turn to him on Monday night.
Even with a thriving quarterback in Manning and a running back like Vereen, injuries to the team's best receivers are sure to affect the passing game. The Eagles may be catching the Giants at exactly the right time.
- Julie Bacanskas
Eagles Secondary vs. WR Odell Beckham Jr.
With Beckham in the lineup, the Eagles' secondary will certainly have a challenge on its hand. Beckham has been one of the most productive receivers in the league to open the season, and his good hands, speed and ability to run after the catch make him difficult to defend. However, the hamstring injury he's working through may limit him in the game on Monday.
The Eagles' secondary is preparing for Beckham's best, but after last week's performance with regard to X-plays, it will need to make adjustments. The Eagles gave up seven plays of 20 yards or more to the New Orleans Saints. To keep Beckham's abilities at bay, those big gains need to be minimized.
DE Fletcher Cox vs. T Ereck Flowers
Coming off a career performance, Cox will be looking to pick up exactly where he left off. He is hungry to keep the sacks coming and the dominate play rolling. Cox will be going head to head with the Giants' left tackle Ereck Flowers, who was the ninth overall pick in this past year's NFL Draft.
Although Flowers and the offensive line have allowed minimal sacks on Manning, it could be due to the fact the quarterback has one of the fastest releases in the NFL. Going up against a rookie in Andrus Peat last week against the Saints, Cox will aim to get the best of Flowers quickly and add to his four sacks on the season.
S Malcolm Jenkins vs. RB Shane Vereen
With Beckham and Randle both playing through injuries, the Giants may rely even more heavily on running back Vereen. He has been a major positive for the team's passing game and has the third most receiving yards of all players on New York's roster.
Due to his passing threat, Jenkins and the other members of the Eagles' secondary will have to ensure they are prepared for not only the Giants' receivers but also its running back if they want to keep the team from marching down the field on Monday.
- Julie Bacanskas
Trends To Watch**
Giant Running Lanes
The Eagles averaged 183.5 yards per game on the ground against the Giants in 2014. The Giants' second-ranked run defense will be put to the test at Lincoln Financial Field.
The Book On Eli
Eli Manning has been sacked just four times all season long, the least amount of any NFC quarterback who has played in every one of his team's games. The offensive line has been sound and Manning gets the ball out quick, but the Eagles will still look to replicate last October's eight-sack performance.
Chip The Giant Slayer
Since Chip Kelly's arrival in 2013, the Eagles have gone 3-1 against the Giants, including a two-game sweep in 2014. The Eagles have averaged 26 points per game against the Giants during the last two seasons.
- Alex Smith