Week 6 – Eagles vs Giants Pre-Game Q&A

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In the midst of all the trash talking and hatred flying between New York and Pennsylvania this week, Cody Royle and Scott Langford put down the gloves and engaged in something a little more civilized before the key Sunday Night clash between Cody’s Giants and Scott’s Eagles.

CR: First of all, the Eagles have worn all white uniforms for every game this season, including at home. You’re not the Dallas Cowboys so what’s up with that?

SL: You can blame Nike for that. The Eagles this year changed to the new jersey design/fabric that every other team adopted last season, and as a result Nike have only been able to make our white and our black alternate jerseys for us. Midnight Green, our normal home colour that we will have after the bye week, is considered a “specialty colour” or something of that manner, so it has taken Nike ages to finally produce our green set.

Fear not if you hate seeing us in white, because on the weekend we will be wearing black. All black everything! Jerseys, pants, the lot.

CR: All black everything, except for helmets. But I guess that’s not as catchy because it’s not a Jay-Z lyric. It will be an aesthetically pleasing game to watch, the Giants away unis are the best in the league if you ask me. I wasn’t aware of the colour issues at Nike; I thought it was a conscious decision to wear the white unis, something Chip came up with to help motivate the team.

SL: I wouldn’t put anything past Chip in the strange motivation category.

 

CR: Philly didn’t score a single offensive point against the 49ers in Week 4 and the offense looked underwhelming last week against the Rams, what has changed from the dynamic first three weeks of the season?

SL: It really is hard to pinpoint, other than the fact Nick Foles just hasn’t been his normal self all year. Injuries to our offensive line have hurt us badly and that may be the biggest reason why. We lost Evan Mathis in Week 1 and Jason Kelce in Week 3 with long-term injuries. Lane Johnson was also out the first four games. If you watch the 49ers and Rams games, Foles was making a lot of back foot throws and really didn’t look like he had much chance to make the plays he’d normally like to. San Fran and St Louis also did a great job on defense, and deserve plenty of credit for being able to stop the Eagles.

Teams know that the Eagles love to get large chunks of yardage in a rapid manner rather than sustain long drives by moving the ball methodically, and when you take that ability away from them, it obviously causes a few headaches. They just need to get better at taking what defenses give them. I don’t think anyway would care if we went a game without a play of over 25 yards if it meant we got in the end zone frequently.

I think the high tempo, explosive Eagles will re-emerge before too long and for your sake you would pray it’s not this week.

CR: The “large chunk” methodology is another thing that concerns me, as big plays against us have been an Achilles heal all season, even with our new “good on paper” secondary. If Foles can find the seams, he could pick us apart.

SL: IF being the key word there. The crazy thing about watching this team is that even when they’re failing, you know they’re one play away from busting everything open.

 

CR: The Giants have been burned in recent times by the Eagles’ gamebreakers (Jackson, McCoy, Vick etc.), who should we watch out for on Sunday Night?

SL: As much as I’d love to name any of the guys on offence, I might be most concerned with Malcolm Jenkins if I were Eli and the Giants. He currently leads the league with three interceptions, one of which he has taken back for a score. And he has looked to be one of the best additions any team has made this season. His awareness is what makes him deadly, kind of what Asante Samuel was like in his prime. But he’s not someone who gets sucked in easily like Samuel would and he’s strong in the open field, so you can’t target him. He’s also capable of creating havoc in

Eli averages an INT per game against the Eagles, sometimes more. So I’d keep an eye out for him, as he’s made some big plays recently.

CR: That’s a concern as Eli is still churning out an interception per game this season, though some have been tipped rather than bad throws. I’ve been a fan of Malcolm Jenkins for a long time and watched quite a bit of him in college. With the new short passing game it’s unlikely Eli will be throwing near him, but that’s not to say he can’t/won’t be impactful.

SL: I’m sure we can convince Brandon Boykin or Cary Williams to pick up any slack. Or someone on the D-Line. Everyone loves a fat guy running with the football!

 

Philly also has a habit of being burned by previously unseen/unknown Giants receivers (think Cruz 2011). This is our first of many chances to see Odell Beckham. What should Eagles fans expect to see from him, and how concerned should we be about him?

CR: Beckham was very impressive on debut last week and his introduction into the game brought an immediate impact. The biggest concern for the Eagles’ defense will be Beckham’s speed, which was clearly troublesome for the Falcons, with his sheer presence rattling Atlanta’s secondary. On top of his speed, he is a precise route runner so you can expect to see some precise patters from him on Sunday night.

The Eagles should also watch for the unknown Preston Parker who pops up with big plays every now and then, and has a 15.2 yard average on his 10 catches this season. He’s the big play threat and may be the next in line to burn the Eagles.

SL: Watching him coming out of LSU, this explosiveness did seem to be what everyone fell in love with. I can’t admit to seeing much of him last week, but reviews seem to be favorable. This Eagles secondary is no stranger to explosive speed; they train against it every day!

 

CR: The Eagles are currently ranked 23rd in the NFL in rushing after being 1st overall last season, is Chip Kelly evolving this offense to try to stay ahead of the curve or is the run game struggling?

SL: I’d blame that on the O-Line problem again. It’s the reason DeMarco Murray is unstoppable in Dallas, and it’s the reason McCoy is struggling in Philly. Remove some Pro Bowlers from the group that helps create holes and block for a man, and anyone would struggle. Case in point, the leading rusher in football keeps getting eaten up. It’s really only the past three weeks he’s struggled. His lack of production also has something to do with Sproles breaking off some of the big plays that Shady normally would.

Chip will never abandon one of his weapons unless he absolutely needs to, so McCoy will get his chance to explode eventually. The offense is basically set up so that anyone can get the ball, regardless of superstardom. We will hit you in 10 different ways which is why we can be so explosive sometimes because defending 10 things at once isn’t easy. While we may play the hot hand, don’t count out Shady. It’ll only take a long run or a crazy TD score to get his mojo back.

CR: The Sproles point is a good one as he does take away opportunities, not just because he’ll get carries but because he is generally involved in big plays that eat up a lot of yards. He’d be a good bet in Fantasy this week as the Giants aren’t good against big play threats.

SL: I wouldn’t sleep on Sproles at all.

 

CR: The Eagles defense leads the league in Penalty Yards Against with 418 and the offense leads the league in Fumbles Lost, which is more of a concern going into the game against the vastly improved Giants?

SL: These are obviously two things you can control and I would prefer that neither of them happen. But if I have to choose the lesser of two evils, then the turnovers are what kill you most. Either way, Eli gets the ball. But at least with penalty yards, we have the chance to atone for that straight away. The D is fit enough to spend as long as they need on the field. Sure we’d like to get them off the field but it’s not the end of the world if they have to stay out there a little longer. But it’s hard to stomach gifting the ball to the other team in a careless way. Not to create excuses, but a good portion of the penalties we draw have been pretty touchy. There haven’t been too many idiotic penalties than make you throw things at the TV.

The offensive fumbling issues will most likely to fixed. Foles and Shady know to be more protective of the football, and better protection up front should hopefully equate to less chances for defenses to create those fumbles.

CR: The Giants have a +4 turnover differential and the Eagles are -3, so you’d anticipate the turnover battle to be a distinguishing factor, as it is in most every game. The Giants have capitalized on penalties in most games this year, including drawing Patrick Peterson into a couple of defensive pass interference calls in the game against Arizona; if they can do the same with the oft-penalized Eagles, they might be able to go toe-to-toe on offense, which would be fun to watch.

SL: I get the feeling you may be able to do the same to Cary Williams this week.

 

So what has been the common thread in the Giants game during their three-game win streak that wasn’t there in Weeks 1 and 2?

CR: Eli’s timing has been the biggest factor. As we know the West Coast offense is a timing based, short throwing system and Eli has also drastically altered his footwork. The calamity that was the first two weeks was largely to do with the timing of Eli’s throws being off, mixed with a bunch of noticeably confused receivers. It was almost as if they hadn’t practiced the new offense with defensive pressure.

In recent weeks it’s been apparent that the both Eli and his receivers have found their groove. You can expect to see lots of short throws and crossing routes from this iteration of the Giants offense.

SL: That makes a lot of sense. Obviously the main storyline this year was the implementation of Ben McAdoo’s system. I actually don’t mind teams trying to beat us in the short game. I think that’s where our D has the best chance of making stops. If this is the case, expect a fair share of balls batted down by Connor Barwin.

 

If the Giants could take any Eagles player to fill a hole you currently have, who would it be and why?

CR: Trent Cole.

Cole is a disruptive outside linebacker that could cause all sorts of trouble in the Giants defense. It’s been some time since the G-Men have had a stud outside ‘backer and have mainly run with hybrid ends that can attack from the crouch or standing up.

Now imagine Cole coming around the corner from behind Jason Pierre-Paul. Scary stuff.

SL: Cole is one of those players on our team who seemingly flies under the radar a lot. Early last season he fell away a little when we switched to a 3-4 D, but the last half of 2013 and his season so far as been huge. Not sure how I’d feel having to face him. Are you sure you don’t want our punter or long snapper? They’re both great guys.

 

What is New York’s biggest strength right now and how capable is it of being negated/stopped?

CR: New York’s biggest strength over the last month has been its unpredictability. One week it has been Rashad Jennings pounding it on the ground, the next it’s been Larry Donnell having a breakout game, then it’s Victor Cruz. In a game of smoke and mirrors, being legitimately unpredictable is dangerous.

The Eagles can negate all of this by getting a good push on the Giants’ offensive line and ultimately get pressure on Manning. Particularly in a timing based system, if you can get disruption and unbalance the timing of the throws, it will reap benefits. Manning still makes some questionable decisions when facing pressure, so that will be the key for the Eagles to negate the Giants.

SL: You’re playing against Chip Kelly and you want to play a game of “unpredictable?” That’s like daring Peyton Manning to beat you with his arm and not his legs.

I think that’s always been your sneaky plan though. Like I said earlier, there is always someone random who stands up and beats us. Henry Hynoski has his only career TD against us (I would know, I was there).

Our front 7 has been solid so far this season, and our pass pressure a little better than people thought it would be. No doubt we’ll have much of the same in store since we know well how to annoy Eli.

 

As a Giants fan, what concerns you most about the Eagles against your team, and how confident are you in the Giants ability to stop it?

CR: I think most people would answer with the Eagles high powered passing game however I am going to say the stingy run defense is my biggest concern. Despite all the huff-and-puff about the Giants new offense, it is still anchored in the running game. Rashad Jennings is the NFL’s fourth leading rusher and rookie Andre Williams has stood out in his support role. If the Giants are unable to lay a foundation with the run, it is going to be tough for them to solely rely on the pass game to move the ball.

New York’s offensive line has improved greatly over the season and the guards are doing top work to open up good holes for Jennings and Williams. If the line can continue to open up good gaps, the Giants north-south runners may be able to get on top and allow the offense to chip away at the Eagles.

SL: Jennings will be out so that obviously hurts your run game a little, but Andre Williams is certainly not to be overlooked. Peyton Hillis on the other hand probably doesn’t scare me. Though they sound like famous last words.

 

Any final thoughts on the game? How do you think this one plays out?

 

CR: 30-27 Giants

 

SL: Not shockingly I disagree. The scoreline looks about right, this will certainly see plenty of scoring I think. But let’s face it I’m not picking the Giants.

I’ll add an extra TD score and say the Eagles by a score of 34-30.

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