Consider the bye week a success. In a season that has been nothing short of appalling, the Eagles finally had a productive week. Multiple crucial pieces are finally healthy, including Miles Sanders, Cre’von LeBlanc, and the mythical Alshon Jeffery. Not only that, but the rest of the NFC East struggled in week 9, leaving each of the three with only two wins passed the halfway point of the season. The Eagles stand alone as the only three-win team in the division. However, the Giants may be the most likely team to challenge the Eagles for the division crown this year, making their week ten matchup a must-win for both squads.
The Eagles and Giants, now facing off for the second time in 2020, are the two hottest teams (if you can call any team in this division “hot”) in the NFC East. Their first matchup in week 7 was an exciting one, highlighted by some Wentz heroics to cap off a 22-21 comeback win for Philadelphia. However, expect the Giants to come back hungry. This matchup could very well be for the division crown–don’t expect an easy Eagles’ victory. Now lets look at three key matchups to focus on for this Sunday afternoon showdown.
Eagles have to Put the Pressure on Danny Dimes
In Daniel Jones’ short career, we haven’t yet seen him develop into a capable passer. When he uses his legs, he’s reliable, but when teams force Jones to pass, he’s been shown to struggle. This can be accomplished by, as it usually goes, keeping Jones in the pocket and getting significant pressure.
In the first matchup, the Eagles didn’t do a particularly bad job at this. Racking up three sacks and forcing two interceptions, the Eagles pass rush made its presence felt in week 7. The Eagles defensive line has been one of the few consistent parts of this Eagles’ team throughout the season. However, they now must continue that coming out of the bye week. Although forcing Danny Dimes into mistakes isn’t too difficult. The pass rush has to produce if the Eagles are going to win this game.
Rushing Attack versus Rushing Attack
On the other side of the coin, the Giants rushing attack was incredibly useful during the week seven matchup. An Eagles defense, which is usually incredibly stout against the run, got shredded, allowing 160 yards and a touchdown on the ground. Sure, half of those yards came on one play, but it doesn’t take away from the fact that the Eagles allowed New York’s ground game to control a large chunk of the contest. For the Giants to be successful, they must replicate this rushing performance in week 10.
Luckily for Philly, 26 is back in the lineup. Miles Sanders, who has quickly become a bell cow for the Eagles, returns to give Philly a spark in their ground attack. We saw Boston Scott (aka the Giant Slayer) have a productive night against the Giants three weeks ago. Now we’ll get to see an even more talented back take his shot at the G-Men. In a game that will likely come down to a few yards, ground games will be important. This makes Miles Sanders the X-factor for this game.
Which Wentz Will We See?
Throughout the 2020 season, we’ve seen two different versions of Carson Wentz. One looks like the guy who garnered so much respect from Eagles’ fans. The other looks more like Jameis Winston. We’ve seen time and time again that the Eagles success depends on Wentz performing at a high level, but unfortunately, we haven’t seen that happen consistently. Before the bye, we got slapped in the face with a forgettable Wentz outing against Dallas. Luckily the Eagles were able to win against the Cowboys’ much-depleted roster, but against a stronger opponent in New York, that kind of performance won’t win the ball game.
This performance will determine a lot. After this week, the Eagles’ schedule ramps up significantly. The Eagles get the Browns, Seahawks, Packers, Saints, and Cardinals in concession, all playoff-caliber teams, three of whom are fighting for the top seed in the NFC. This is more than just a must-win game. This is a game that Wentz must get hot. Wentz has to take some momentum into this ridiculous five-game stretch because the season, in all likelihood, depends on it. While the rest of the division’s schedules lighten up significantly, the Eagles’ first-place schedule does the opposite. This game probably decides the outcome of the Eagles’ season, and as it usually goes, it all depends on which Wentz we get.