Game Overview ::
By hilow >>
- Eagles ruled out nickel corner Avonte Maddox, which should filter additional pass game usage towards the slot (albeit with a significant caveat that the field is likely not going to realize regarding the macro game environment).
- This game is one of the more nuanced games on the slate for the behind-the-scenes chess match that will likely occur between the offensive and defensive coordinators from each side (more below).
- Giants wide receiver Isaiah Hodgins will play after being limited in all three practices with a gnarly-looking ankle injury (low).
- The Eagles should move the ball well but will need to buck their recent trend of poor red zone touchdown rates (40% over their previous three games – yes, Gardner Minshew started two of those games, but the Eagles scored just one touchdown on five red zone trips the last time these two teams met, and Jalen Hurts played that game).
How new york Will Try To Win ::
There is a whole hell of a lot going on here regarding how we expect the Giants to try and win this one. On one hand, they completely threw everything we’ve come to know about the Giants squarely in our collective faces last week, running a game plan that consisted of a massive 16% pass rate over expectation value (PROE). For comparison, the Chiefs led the league this season at just under 11% and the Giants had just three games all season with a positive PROE value. Massive shift in game planning, to say the least. On the other hand, the Giants allowed the fifth most sacks this season and the Eagles narrowly missed the single season sack record, handily leading the league with 70 on the season. Furthermore, the Eagles rank first in both DVOA against the pass and yards allowed per pass attempt, while ranking a modest 19th in DVOA against the run and allowing the ninth most yards per carry this season. I’m not saying this is a given by any stretch, but if I were in Brian Daboll and Mike Kafka’s shoes here, I would 100% be looking to shorten this game through elevated rush rates, targeted and schemed passing on early downs designed to simultaneously reduce predictability and increase drive success rate, and a disruptive spy defense with unique blitz packages on defense. Again, that’s “Hilow’s game plan,” but is what makes the most sense for the Giants if they are to steal a victory away from the NFC’s top seed.
That game plan should theoretically involve heavy rates of Saquon Barkley involvement on offense, with additional opportunities schemed up for the All-World running back to get the ball through the air out of the backfield. Again, wide range of outcomes alert because we actually saw some dynamism from the Giants offense for the first time in the playoffs, but that’s what I would be drawing up here. Either way, most roads point to a return to a more run-balanced offense based around their elite running back, which should afford Barkley the opportunity to see elite volume in a non-prohibitive matchup. The pure rushing matchup yields an average 4.39 net-adjusted line yards metric, but the true test will be forcing increased rates of man coverage from a Philadelphia defense expected to run Cover-3 and Cover-4 base, which would serve to limit the rushing upside of both Saquon Barkley and quarterback Daniel Jones. In order to do just that, the Giants will need to stay out of long down and distance-to-go situations which points directly back to my assertion that New York will need to generate more dynamic play calling through early down schemed passing and pre-snap misdirection. Otherwise, consider the ceiling capped on both Saquon Barkley and Daniel Jones. Matt Breida should continue in the pure change of pace role for an offense that typically runs minimal 21-personnel.
The fantasy expectations (and potential viability) for the four primary pass-catchers from the Giants vary greatly depending on what game environment they find themselves in, likely to be influenced heavily by what coverage schemes the Eagles show them (which, as we’ve explored in both this write-up and in the Jaguars/Chiefs write-up, can be influenced by the Giants as well). Should the Giants find early success in avoiding predictability on the ground (which would lead to increased rush efficiency), we’re likely to see increased rates of Cover-1 man from the Eagles based on their year-to-date tendencies – this would be a significant boost to Richie James in the slot, particularly considering nickel cornerback Avonte Maddox was ruled out. If the Eagles are able to settle into increased rates of Cover-3 and Cover-4, Isaiah Hodgins would be the likeliest to succeed as the far-and-away top option against zone coverage this season, per PFF. From a macro perspective, expect the Giants personnel groupings to be at first dictated by their game plan and then affected by the game environment, which should mean we see elevated 12-personnel rates to start. Slayton has a difficult task at hand regardless of where the game environment takes this offense, performing poorly against both zone and man coverage this season as New York’s primary downfield option. Finally, rookie tight end Daniel Bellinger has seen a maximum of five targets this season and should be considered a touchdown-dependent dart throw regardless of the game environment.