Week 15 Tale Of The Tape: Philadelphia Eagles At New York Giants
- QuarterbackThe Eagles have clinched the NFC East title and currently have the No. 1 seed in the conference, but there is plenty of angst in Philadelphia despite the brilliant season. Carson Wentz suffered a knee injury in Week 14 and Nick Foles inherits the position. Foles has a strong track record and he is an accurate passer who can read defenses.The Giants are nearing the tail end of a miserable season, and it has clearly been a tumultuous year for Eli Manning. After he was replaced for one week by former head coach Ben McAdoo, he was welcomed back to the position by interim coach Steve Spagnuolo. Manning does not have the kind of quickness or strength to get away from the rush, but he remains one of the top passers when gets decent protection.
- OffenseThe Eagles have had tremendous success on the offensive side of the ball this year, and the Wentz injury will likely have a galvanizing effect on the offense in the near-term. Running back LeGarrette Blount and wide receiver Alshon Jeffery have been productive this year and will serve as the leaders along with tight end Zach Ertz (concussion) from this point forward.The Giants were put in a big hole early in the season with the injuries to superstar wideout Odell Beckham and veteran Brandon Marshall. Instead of figuring out a different way to attack, the Giants have done little to survive these problems. Running back Orleans Darkwa works hard, but he is not a big playmaker, while tight end Evan Engram and wideout Sterling Shepard are both fine wideouts.
- DefenseThe Eagles immediately became one of the Super Bowl favorites this season because both their offense and defense have taken a huge step up the ladder at the same time. Outside linebacker Nigel Bradham has had an outstanding season and leads the team with 69 tackles and six passes defensed. Defensive end Brandon Graham has 8.5 sacks and is a game-changing pass rusher.When the Giants hire a new general manager, the rebuilding of the defense must become a top priority. The Giants rank dead last in yardage allowed, and while they had a solid season in 2016, they were awful the two seasons before that. While strong safety Landon Collins (leg/ankle) has had a strong year and clearly can contribute in the future, the rest of the defense needs a complete reconstruction.
- Special TeamsThe Eagles have been one of the strongest teams in this area for years, but protection broke down in Week 14 and the Rams were able to block a Donnie Jones punt and turn it into a touchdown. Jake Elliott has connected on 5-of-6 field goals of 50 yards or more.The Giants have had a series of problems on special teams and those issues have driven the team down this season. They have been outgained on both punt and kickoff returns, while rookie PK Aldrick Rosas (15-of-20 FG attempts) is unproven at this point.
The Eagles have to deal with the Wentz injury and that will not be easy. However, the issues will most likely come to the forefront in the last two weeks of the regular season and the playoffs.