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Eagles defense vs. Giants offense preview: Key matchups to watch

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By: Jonny Page

Photo by Elsa/Getty Images

With no game review this week, I thought I would combine the stats preview with some film from both times the Eagles played the Giants this year to give you a detailed preview of what to expect and some specific matchups to watch out for. This article will preview the Eagles’ defense vs. the Giants’ offense. All data via Sports Info Solutions as always!

Let’s begin by looking at the Giants’ tendencies from the past 6 weeks.

Tendencies – the past 6 weeks

Giants Offense

Not much to see here. Like most NFL offenses, the Giants pretty much live in 11 personnel.

The Giants love play-action and RPOs. More on this later…

At the start of the season, the Giants would run into stacked boxes to try and get SaQuon Barkley going. This is not the same offense. If you stack the box, the Giants will throw it and will not force it to Barkley unnecessarily anymore.

Statistical Matchup

This Giants’ offense is playing pretty well right now and the Eagles’ defense will not have an easy game. The rushing yards have been strong all year but the passing game has improved. The Giants rank top 12 in every metric in terms of EPA which highlights that this is a good offense. The huge stat in the Eagles’ favor is the sack rate. The Eagles need their defensive line to get after Daniel Jones.

Key Matchups

The Eagles’ defensive ends

The Giants’ two offensive tackles are pretty good overall. Evan Neal is a a decent tackle and Andrew Thomas is a really good tackle. Regardless, the biggest reason the Eagles’ defense looked good in week 14 against the Giants was the play of Haason Reddick and Josh Sweat. They won over and over against the Giants’ two tackles. The Giants like to leave their tackles on an island, especially Andrew Thomas, and if Reddick and Sweat can consistently win again the Eagles should feel really good about this matchup.

MOFC Defense

The Giants just took the Vikings’ two-high defense apart. I have seen some comparisons between the Vikings’ defense and the Eagles, which I find sort of hilarious. Yes, both teams favor split-safety coverages, but the Eagles’ defense is way better. Nevertheless, the Giants seemed to have a lot of answers for the Vikings’ defense and the last time the Eagles and the Giants met, the Eagles started to play a lot more MOFC single-high coverage than they had previously. This could have been to throw the Giants and force them to prepare for this, but I wonder if the Eagles will feel they have the cornerbacks to shut down the GIants’ receivers and matchup man-to-man in this game. The benefit of MOFC defense is you can have a safety or a linebacker as a ‘hole’ defender who can also keep his eyes on Daniel Jones and try and prevent him from scrambling.

Outside runs

The Giants love to get SaQuon Barkley in space and we have seen the Eagles’ cornerbacks struggle in run defense this season. I expect the Giants to run away from the Eagles’ interior (when playing a 5-man front) and try to get the Eagles’ cornerbacks to step up and play run defense. One way the Giants can do this is by putting 3 wide receivers on one side of the formation and running to the opposite side. We have seen multiple teams do this against the Eagles this year, just like this…

However, the Giants can also get Daniel Jones on the edge against the Eagles’ cornerbacks as we saw in week 14.

Daniel Jones rushing

Daniel Jones is not Eli Manning. He is one of the most athletic quarterbacks and makes plays each week in the run game. If you play man coverage against this Giants’ offense, he is not afraid to take off and scramble. This year, he has 708 rushing yards on 120 carries (5.9 YPC) as well as 7 rushing touchdowns. He had 17 (!) carries against the Vikings this past week.

You can see from the above video that a lot of his runs come straight up the middle of the defense or when he drifts to the right. The Eagles’ edge rushers normally get upfield quickly (and I expect them to do so in this game) but they should probably have an eye on Daniel Jones escaping too.

The last time the Eagles played the Giants, the Giants motioned into an empty set and caught the Eagles out. Davis Webb ended up scoring a touchdown on the play. I would not be at all surprised to see this exact play again. Funnily enough, they may have gotten the idea from the Eagles…

Daniel Jones outside the pocket

Daniel Jones outside the pocket this year is completing 62% of his passes and has 7 touchdowns and 0 interceptions. That feels… good. The Giants will get Jones on the move via designed rollouts but he will also escape from the pocket if he feels pressure. The Eagles need to ensure they are prepared for this.

I am confident the Eagles’ offense will have a lot of success against the Giants’ defense. I am less confident about this matchup. The Eagles’ defense is very good, but the Giants’ offense is extremely well-coached and they have looked good the past few weeks. I expect this to be a tough matchup overall. Nothing is easy in the NFL…

Originally posted on Bleeding Green Nation