It sort of feels like last year.The Eagles are slated to host a division rival under the lights on Sunday night football (like they did so often down the stretch in 2013).
In an NFC East that was supposed to be weak, the Giants (3-2) have fired off three straight victories and along with a 4-1 Cowboys squad, the East is once again looking like one of the toughest divisions in the NFL.
“This is a divisional game,” New York coach Tom Coughlin said. “Obviously Philadelphia is playing very, very well. It is a game within the division for us, so we are just excited for that opportunity.”
If the Eagles drop this game, they could be in a tie for second heading into the bye week. It’s as close to a must-win as there is in Week 6 for a first-place team.
The Eagles have the potential to be almost as good as their historic 2013 offense. But they aren’t getting it done with the ball. Each and every week (except for their loss to the 49ers), the Birds walk off the field with mixed feelings. A win in the NFL is a win, but Philadelphia is continually inept at leaving it all out on the field.
“I look at us as an offense and we need to get [consistency] first,” offensive coordinate Pat Shurmur said, “first down and get rolling, because I think … you can see when we can get it rolling, we get in a little groove.”
The Eagles have also struggled in the red zone. Whether or not they get into a groove further down the field, the team has scored a touchdown in the red zone just 37.5 percent of the time, putting them 29th in the NFL.
The Eagles have the most giveaways in the NFL (Nick Foles has half of them) with 12. The Giants lead the NFL in interceptions with eight so far. If the Birds want to get to 5-1, they’ll have to contend with a surprisingly potent New York secondary, headlined by former Eagle Domonic Rogers-Cromartie.
The Giants also have solid pass rush, and with a (relatively) healthy defense, the battle win the trenches and in the secondary will surely be interesting to watch.
“It looks like [Jason] Pierre-Paul is a little bit more healthy than he was last year,” Kelly said. “They’ve added a couple guys in the secondary a little bit. But it seems like they were banged up a lot of last year, guys in and out of the lineup.”
Eli Manning has been tangoing with the Eagles for years now, and the battles between the NFC East foes has always been tight. The teams split the last three series. This year, Manning seems to be working out of a career-worst funk last season as the New York offense has taken on a completely new look.
“I think everything’s different,” Kelly said. “They’re running an entirely different thing. They’re doing a lot more one‑back looks than they have been in the past. It’s similar to what [Giants offensive coordinator] Ben [McAdoo] was doing when he was in Green Bay. They seem like they’ve picked it up over the last couple weeks too. “