Game Overview ::
By hilow >>
- Dallas Goedert remains on injured reserve and will miss Week 14 but appears likely to return when first eligible next week. Quez Watkins reportedly endured an AC joint sprain in Week 13 but was listed as limited on the team’s estimated practice report Wednesday and he appears likely to play against the Giants.
- The Giants continue to be banged up in the secondary, with Week 14 likely to mark the third different combination of starting corners in the last three weeks.
- Wink Martindale continues to employ elevated blitz rates (highest in the league at over 40%) and increased usage of man coverage schemes (the highest rate at over 50%) – not ideal against a mobile quarterback and pass-catchers that excel against man.
- The likeliest scenario for the game environment and flow has a tighter range of outcomes than most other spots on the slate (and what we’ve seen around the league this season).
How Philadelphia Will Try To Win ::
Nick Sirianni proved last week that this team can win in many different ways on offense, jumping from a neutral pass rate over expectation to the second highest rate of the week (behind only the Dolphins) against an opponent clearly presenting a pass-funnel matchup (Titans). Philadelphia has played at the fastest pace of play with the score within six points and the third fastest pace of play in the first half, but have also played at the third slowest pace of play in the second half of games this season, indicating a willingness to take their foot off the proverbial gas and slow things down when in control of the game environment. The majority of their offensive snaps have come from 11-personnel in the absence of tight end Dallas Goedert, which has primarily meant an increased snap rate for wide receiver Quez Watkins, who failed to finish the contest in Week 13 after coming down with an AC joint sprain. The Eagles only held a walkthrough on Wednesday, but it appears the injury concerns were short-lived as he was listed as a limited participant on the team’s estimated injury report. The Giants present an interesting matchup defensively as the typical run-funnel nature of their defense has become equally poor against the pass due to recent injuries to their secondary, which should allow the Eagles to remain run-balanced here.
The Philadelphia backfield has reverted to a three-headed timeshare since the team’s Week 7 bye, with lead back Miles Sanders playing no more than 65% of the offensive snaps in any game over that time. Change of pace and obvious passing down back Kenneth Gainwell has maintained a steady involvement during that span, typically held between 25% and 35% of the offensive snaps, meaning any dip in snap rate seen from Sanders has directly correlated to increased run for rotational back Boston Scott, who has typically seen his work increase in blowouts. Basically, consider Sanders the lead back but one that would likely see a hard cap in volume due to game environment, with Gainwell and Scott on hand to handle any change of pace or environment-driven volume in games the Eagles are able to control. That has kept Sanders to 17 running back opportunities or fewer in all but one game since the team’s Week 7 bye (the shootout with the Packers in Week 12 was the only exception, where he saw 24 opportunities). Furthermore, quarterback Jalen Hurts has seen double-digit carries in half of the team’s games this season (six of 12) and has scored nine rushing touchdowns through 12 games. The matchup on the ground yields a well above average 4.69 net-adjusted line yards metric against a Giants defense allowing a robust 5.11 yards per carry to opposing backfields. Finally, the aggressive blitz tendencies found in a Wink Martindale defense could force additional scrambles from Jalen Hurts in addition to opening up a susceptibility to yards after the catch whilst in man coverages.
As mentioned above, the Giants are contending with multiple injuries amongst their primary contributors in the secondary, which is likely to force the unit into a third consecutive game with different starting personnel on the back end. Their aggressive blitz tendencies have also made their defense susceptible to yards after the catch and a heightened defensive aDOT (third deepest at 8.8). Both of those data points are a boost to the primary possession pass-catcher on the Eagles offense in DeVonta Smith, who has seen his role change the most in the absence of tight end Dallas Goedert. Expect a slight uptick to his volume in this matchup. Quez Watkins has also seen a slight change in role without Goedert, whose primary downfield role has added some work around the line of scrimmage as the team attempts to get the ball into his hands in space. Expect an offense based from 11-personnel, with added ball-out-quick principles against the aggressive blitz tendencies from the Giants. Finally, the Giants lead the league in man coverage rate, running man above 50% of the time in every game since Week 3. A.J. Brown has absolutely demolished man coverages throughout his career, most notably receiving PFF’s fifth highest grade against man coverages this season (of qualified pass-catchers) and scoring the most touchdowns against the alignment.