Giants, Eagles look different since first meeting
The Philadelphia Eagles dominated the New York Giants 34-13 on the Giants' home field on Oct. 11. The teams meet again on Sunday at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, and a lot has changed since that game just five weeks ago.
The Eagles (4-6) have lost two in a row, including a humbling 48-7 loss to the New Orleans Saints on Sunday. The Eagles' secondary has been decimated by injuries, and quarterback Carson Wentz, who had the look of an MVP candidate last year before getting injured, threw three interceptions without a touchdown pass against the Saints.
Meanwhile, the Giants (3-7) seemed to be in free fall after that loss to the Eagles, but they have recovered and come into Sunday's game riding a two-game winning streak.
"Yes, we're a much different team in a lot of ways. We found a way to have two good team victories the last two weeks, so we're doing some things as a team better, not near good enough yet, but we are different," head coach Pat Shurmur said. "We have some new faces in there certainly, so yeah we are different."
Since the earlier game against Philadelphia, the Giants have traded away two defensive starters, cornerback Eli Apple and defensive tackle Damon Harrison. They've also revamped their offensive line, sending former starting right guard Patrick Omameh packing and center John Greco to the bench in favor of newcomer Jamon Brown and Spencer Pulley at right guard and center, respectively.
"Obviously, we're playing better football right now," said Giants quarterback Eli Manning. "I think we're running the ball better than we did."
Giants rookie running back Saquon Barkley shredded the Eagles with 130 yards on the ground and 99 yards receiving in the first meeting.
Barkley was named the NFC Offensive Player of the Week for his 142-yard, 27-carry performance last week in a 38-35 win over the Buccaneers.
"Since we played them last they had a bye and they've come back with a couple wins," said Eagles defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz. "They're leaning more -- and we probably opened this box -- but leaning more on Barkley not only catching the ball, which he was early on in the season, but running the ball and really pounding it on inside runs. So I think that's probably the biggest difference."
Manning had his best game of the season on Sunday, completing 17 of 18 passes for 231 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions. Wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. is just 68 yards shy of his fourth 1,000-yard season.
They could have success against an injury-plagued Eagles secondary that allowed 373 passing yards and four touchdown passes to the Saints' Drew Brees.
The Eagles gave up 546 total yards to New Orleans, and veteran Philadelphia safety Malcolm Jenkins suggested the team may have quit against the Saints.
"I didn't feel like as a team that we had a lot of fight," he said. "I think that when a team jumps on you like the Saints did, and things get rolling, you find out a lot about yourself. You're going to get blown out regardless. You either get blown out swinging or blown out laying down. And I think you had a little bit of both.
"Not to say that there aren't guys playing hard, or that they aren't giving it what they've got. It's just that we need every drop of that at this point, and we're going to demand that from the top of the roster all the way to the bottom."
The Eagles began the weekend just two games out of first place in the NFL East, but the defending Super Bowl champs need to get it going soon.
One thing going for Philadelphia is that the Giants haven't won a game on the road against the Eagles since 2013.
"We just have to catch a rhythm early in a game," said Philadelphia tight end Zach Ertz. "I feel if we do that, we'll be able to execute the rest of the game at high level. We have to catch a spark early on offense. We have to score points in the first quarter. That is the bottom line. That is the big thing from this entire season I take so far. We have to score points in the first quarter. I've been saying it for 10 weeks now and hopefully it comes true this week."
Updated November 21, 2018