The Eagles have the chance to win a second division game in three weeks, and will get the opportunity to kick the rival Giants while they are down this Sunday, a 1 p.m. kickoff on FOX.
The 0-2 Giants have looked positively dreadful, and are on the verge of falling well behind in the race for the NFL East. The 1-1 Eagles on the other hand, are feeling confident despite losing last week in Kansas City after a strong showing that showcased their defense and their up-and-coming quarterback Carson Wentz.
Here are three storylines to be mindful of in Week 3:
Pass rush potential
The Giant’s offensive line has been, by all accounts, positively awful. Anyone who has watched New York lose its first to games can’t ignore the fact that Eli Manning was given almost no time to throw against the Cowboys and Lions. Philly arguably has a better pass rush than both of them, led by Fletcher Cox and Brandon Graham. If the Eagles make New York’s life miserable at the line of scrimmage they can really help their cause.
“Yeah, it’s going to be a good match-up,” Eagles head coach Doug Pederson said. “I think, on both sides, our defensive line, our offensive line. … Our defensive line prides themselves getting off the ball, as you know, and getting pressure with four guys. I would think that that would be the same type of mentality going into this game.”
Ready to run?
If you live near Philadelphia or are an Eagles fan you know about the Eagles’ running game. Just 13 called runs last week in Kansas City and 20.5 runs per game overall. In Doug Pederson’s 18 games as head coach, the Eagles are 1-6 when they run the ball less than 25 times and are 6-1 when they run it more than 30. Clearly each game is different, but there is no reason why the Birds can’t give the ball to Darren Sproles, LeGarrette Blount and Wendell Smallwood a few more times each game.
“We’ve got to focus on the run game and we’ve got to get the run game fixed,” Pederson said. “We’ve got to have a great plan going forward and commit to that and it just takes pressure off your quarterback as well.”
The Eagles’ secondary will be tested Sunday, as it will be missing cornerback Ronald Darby and safties Corey Graham and Rodney McLeod. Without three of their best defenders, Patrick Robinson, Jalen Mills, Malcolm Jenkins and a few younger players will be tasked with stopping Odell Bechkam Jr. and the rest of the Giants potent pass attack.
“He’s very explosive with the ball in his hands, and he’s a dangerous receiver,” Pederson said. “We’ve got to account for him. We’ve got to know where he’s at. But yeah, his role will definitely increase if he’s healthy.”