Paul Domowitch's Eagles-Giants scouting report:
WHEN THE EAGLES RUN THE BALL
LeSean McCoy has had an up-and-down year. He’s rushed for 80 or more yards in just eight of the Eagles’ 15 games and is averaging 4.12 yards per carry, which is his lowest average since his rookie year (4.10). McCoy and Darren Sproles combined for 112 yards on 26 carries in last week’s loss to Washington, but had only 23 yards on 10 carries in the second half. McCoy is averaging 4.45 yards per carry on first down and 3.54 on second down. Last year, he averaged 4.97 on first down and 5.68 on second. He’s had just 31 double-digit-yard runs this year. He had 47 last year. McCoy rushed for 149 yards in the first Giants game and Sproles added 31. The Giants played nickel almost the entire game against the Eagles’ 3-WR sets, which allowed the offensive line to create running lanes and get to the second level. One hundred fifteen of McCoy’s and Sproles’ 188 rushing yards came in 3-WR sets. The Giants have struggled against the run all season. They have allowed a league-worst 4.9 yards per carry, and 5.5 in their last 7 games.
WHEN THE EAGLES THROW THE BALL
Turnovers have killed the Eagles this season and their quarterbacks have been the major culprits. Mark Sanchez and Nick Foles have accounted for 26 of the Eagles’ league-high 35 giveaways. They have the fourth highest interception percentage in the league. Sanchez’s late-fourth quarter interception Saturday killed the Eagles’ victory hopes. Sanchez threw 50 passes, but just 11 of them were longer than 10 yards, as the Eagles spent the entire game dinking and dunking against Washington’s soft zone coverage. Since replacing the injured Foles in Week 9, just 12.1 percent of Sanchez’s throws have been 20 yards or more, compared to 23.4% of Foles’. Sanchez is 22nd in the league in third-down passing. He has 5 interceptions and been sacked 6 times on 92 third-down pass plays. Slot receiver Jordan Matthews has disappeared. Has 5 catches for 81 yards in the last 3 games. Had 24 for 408 yards and 5 TDs in Sanchez’s first 5 games. The Giants have 43 sacks and 16 interceptions, but have the fourth highest yards-per-attempt-allowed average in the league (8.0).
WHEN THE GIANTS RUN THE BALL
The Giants are averaging just 3.6 yards per carry this season, which is the fourth lowest per-carry average in the league. But they have remained committed to it, averaging 28.3 rushing attempts per game, which has helped the effectiveness of their play-action game. Rookie Andre Williams has rushed for 100-plus yards in two of the last three games, including 110 yards on 26 carries in last week’s win over the Rams. He’s a punishing north-south runner who can get yards after contact. Williams was held to 59 yards on 17 carries in the first Eagles game. While the Eagles’ pass defense has leaked oil all season, their run defense has been solid. They have given up 90-plus yards to just one running back all season. That was the 49ers’ Frank Gore in Week 4 (119). They are sixth in the league in yards allowed per carry (3.8). Over the last five games, they have held opponents to 3.4 yards yards per carry. They held NFL rushing leader DeMarco Murray to 3.1 yards per carry in two games, held Marshawn Lynch to 3.7 yards per carry and held Arian Foster to 3.1.
WHEN THE GIANTS THROW THE BALL
Eli Manning had a rough time of it in the first meeting with the Eagles, throwing for just 151 yards and no touchdowns and getting sacked 6 times. But a lot has changed since then, starting with the emergence of rookie wide receiver Odell Beckham. Beckham was playing in just his second NFL game when the teams met in Week 6, and had just 2 catches for 28. Now, he has 79 catches, the most ever by a player in his first 11 NFL games, and holds the Giants rookie record catches, yards (1,120) and receiving TDs (11). Beckham’s emergence has helped offset the loss of Victor Cruz. Manning has posted a 100-plus rating in 4 of the Giants’ last 5 games, including a 148.8 rating in last week’s win over the Rams, when he completed 78 percent of his passes and threw for 391 yards and 3 TDs. The Eagles’ pass defense has been the biggest reason for their late-season collapse. Cornerback Bradley Fletcher gave up 3 TD passes to Dez Bryant in their loss to the Cowboys and gave up 2 long passes to the Redskins’ DeSean Jackson Saturday that set up TDs. The Eagles have given up 26 pass plays of 30 yards or more.
After converting 29 of his first 31 field goal attempts this season, Cody Parkey had 34- and 46-yard wide-right misses Saturday v. Redskins. Parkey is 20th in touchback percentage on kickoffs (47.3), but has just nine touchbacks in his last 37 kickoffs. Darren Sproles leads the league in punt return average (13.3). He’s the only PR with 2 TD returns. He has had just 4 return opportunities in the last 3 games for a total of 11 yards. The Eagles are 11th in kickoff coverage and 12th in punt coverage. They have given up five KRs of 30-plus yards in the last 5 games after giving up just 3 in the first 10. P Donnie Jones is 23rd in net average (38.6), but has had just 29 of his 69 attempts returned (42.0%), and only 17 of his last 49 (34.7%). Giants PK Josh Brown is 20-for-22 on FG attempts. He has a 57.7 touchback percentage. The Giants are second in kickoff coverage (18.2), but 27th in punt coverage (10.7). P Steve Weatherford has had nearly 50 percent of his attempts returned. Sproles had a 43-yard return in the first meeting. Beckham doubles as the Giants’ punt returner. He is averaging 8.1 yards per return.
The Eagles have lost 3 in a row and watched their slim playoff hopes die last week in Washington with their 27-24 loss to the Redskins. The Giants have won 3 in a row and would appear to be much more motivated to play well Sunday than the Eagles, who aren’t used to this whole playing-for-pride business.
Domo’s prediction: Giants 31, Eagles 21
-- Eagles CBs v. Giants WR Odell Beckham Jr.: The Giants rookie has 79 catches and 11 TDs. The Eagles have given up the second most pass plays of 30 yards or more. Advantage: Giants
-- Eagles LT Jason Peters v. Giants RDE Jason Pierre-Paul. Pierre-Paul is once again playing at a Pro Bowl level. He leads the Giants in sacks with 10 ½. Peters still is one of the league’s best LTs, but has been up and down this season. Advantage: Even
-- Eagles RB LeSean McCoy v. Giants MLB Jameel McClain. McCoy rushed for 149 yards in the first meeting with the Giants. McClain anchors a defense that is giving up a league-worst 4.9 yards per carry. Advantage: Eagles
HOT AND NOT
Eagles: TE Zach Ertz. Had a franchise-record 15 receptions and played a season-high 72 snaps in the Eagles’ loss to Washington.
Giants: QB Eli Manning. Had a career-best 148.8 passer rating in Giants’ win over Rams, throwing for 391 yards and 3 TDs.
Eagles: CB Bradley Fletcher. Gave up two damaging 50-plus yard receptions to DeSean Jackson a week after giving up 3 TDs to Cowboys’ Dez Bryant.
Giants: TE Larry Donnell. Has just 8 catches for 81 yards in the last 3 games.