An inside look at Sunday’sat MetLife Stadium:
Eagles QB Jalen Hurts vs. Giants S Xavier McKinney
This is not an every-down battle, of course, but these two former Alabama teammates will see plenty of each other when Hurts pulls the ball down and runs. He does that often. Hurts leads the Eagles in rushing attempts (114), yards (618) and touchdowns (8). When he takes off, McKinney as the last line of defense must detect these intentions and make sure Hurts does not turn a modest gain into something more damaging. McKinney does not have the luxury of working alongside veteran Logan Ryan, who will miss his second consecutive game on the reserve/COVID list.
The Eagles are running through everyone, and the Giants are in danger of getting run over here. A turbulent week, with the firing of offensive coordinator Jason Garrett, means this could be ugly, with Daniel Jones referring to a wristband for the plays for the first time in his career. Talk about your quick fix. How many Eagles fans will be in the building? 10,000? 15,000? Expect a chorus or two of “Fly, Eagles fly’’ to ring out.
Eagles 27, Giants 16
Not enough: Two targets? One catch for 12 yards? What gives? Kenny Golladay was on the field for 44 snaps Monday night at Tampa Bay and was barely noticeable. He was healthier than at any other time this season and yet was a non-factor. The ball needs to come his way.
“I think it’s just finding those opportunities when he is in a matchup we like or running a route that we like, and he’s got to do a good job of getting open and winning in those situations,’’ Daniel Jones said. “I think it’s just finding those opportunities throughout the game and maybe calling some plays where he does have those chances. He’s got to do a good job winning, and I’ve got to do a good job throwing him the ball.’’
Better line building: The Giants cannot get out of their own way when it comes to fixing and building an offensive line. The Eagles are experts at it. Their starting left tackle, Jordan Mailata, was a professional rugby player with no prior football experience. Jason Kelce, their fantastic center, was a sixth-round pick. Right guard Jack Driscoll was taken in the fourth round. Only right tackle Lane Johnson (No. 4 overall in 2011) and rookie left guard Landon Dickerson (second round) were high draft picks. The O-line coach, Jeff Stoutland, is as good as it gets.
“You look at this roster up there, they’ve really assembled a lot of talent on that roster,’’ Joe Judge said. “I wouldn’t expect a team with that much talent to have anything but success.’’
’Bama connection: The Eagles have not had a wide receiver with 1,000 yards in a season in seven years (Jeremy Maclin, 2014). That could change, as
“This guy is what he was advertised as coming out of college,’’ defensive coordinator Patrick Graham said of Smith. “He’s an elite-level player. He’s really, really, good. I remember the knock being his size, but I could see, there’s probably two or three touchdowns where people bounce off of him and he scores. I’ve been very impressed with him and unfortunately, we’re going to have to deal with him for whatever many years on his contract in this division.’’
Bygone days: There was a time when you could walk up to 10-15 Giants players, ask them about facing the Eagles and get a whole bunch of vitriol and raw emotion. It is not like that anymore. Very few of the current Giants can offer perspective on what was once a fierce rivalry. The Eagles won eight straight games in this series before the Giants broke through last November.
“I really respect this rivalry, and I think what’s so awesome about the NFC East is the rivalries between the teams,’’ said Nick Sirianni, the Eagles’ first-year head coach. “It’s the one place in the NFL I’ve really felt like, ‘Man, this is like it’s an old college football rivalry.’ ”
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