Posted: 8:15 a.m. Sunday, Oct. 6, 2013
By Mike E. Kaye
The NFC East will be on display in a Week 5 matchup featuring the Giants and the Eagles. New York will host Philadelphia and will look to get its first win of the season after starting 0-4. On the sideline, the Eagles will try get back to their winning ways and end their three-game losing streak that has caused them to slide to 1-3. Despite their records, both teams are still in the middle of the NFC East title race and cannot afford to lose, what may be, a must-win matchup for both teams.
The Giants have fallen from grace this season due to a horrific defense, several turnovers and a non-existent running game. New York has given up the most points in the league at this point in the season (146) and are allowing an average of 36.5 points per game. That scoring allowance is even worse when you considered the offense is only producing 15.2 points per game, which is the third-worst average in the NFL through four games. Quarterback Eli Manning leads the league in interceptions (9) and the Giants' running backs have combined for just 231 yards, which ranks 30th out of 32 units.
Philadelphia's defense is not much better than the Giants when it comes to allowing points. The Eagles are just behind the Giants in points allowed per game (34.5). Philadelphia has also been torched in the passing game, allowing the 31st most passing yards in the league. However, the Eagles have a pretty stellar offense with the league's leading rusher in LeSean McCoy, who has 468 yards on the ground so far this season. McCoy has rushed for more yards than 17 NFL teams in the first four games of the season.
Sam Spiegelman of Big Blue View believes that losing in the trenches has costed the Giants wins:
The Giants' offensive line has allowed Manning to be sacked 14 times (tied for fifth most) and hit 29 times (tied for seventh most). Only four teams have generated a lower rushing average per attempt than New York at 3.3 . And along with seven other teams, the Giants have mustered one rushing touchdown.
This past week against the Kansas City Chiefs, left tackle Will Beatty earned a -2.4 grade against Tamba Hali. Yes, the same man who earned a boatload of money this offseason. to protect Manning's blindside. According to Pro Football Focus, the whole offense has sputtered because of the line failing to win its battles.
The Giants' D-line was once the heart and sole of the defense, providing a pass rush that set the tone for rest of the unit. Now, the Giants are tied with the Pittsburgh Steelers for a league-worst sack total (4). Pierre-Paul, Spencer Paysinger and Mathias Kiwanuka, who was supposed to re-energize the pass rush by returning to the end spot, each have recorded one sack so far.
Mark Saltveit of Bleeding Green Nation believes that the Eagles could be coming into a trap game against the lowly Giants:
Like many sportswriters, I've been cautioning readers not to get too discouraged about the the Eagles' slow start, because the schedule is about to get much easier. San Diego and Kansas City are much better so far than anyone expected, and the three teams that beat Philadelphia now have a combined record of 10-2.
However, I'm starting to be concerned that Sunday's game against the Giants is a potential trap game. The mood leading up to it is reminiscent of the days before the ill-fated Chargers game, where everyone -- riding high after the great upset of Washington -- thought Philadelphia would cruise against the Bolts. (In retrospect, the Redskins are much worse this year than anyone expected -- another reason to be cautious about predictions.) I think the team got a bit cocky against San Diego, and it could easily happen against a squad underachieving as dramatically as New Jersey York.
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BGN Exclusive: Chuck Bednarik Interview http://t.co/IBDObdeX8M— BleedingGreenNation (@BleedingGreen) October 3, 2013
The Giants' lack of success could be a curse for the Eagles http://t.co/sEQxWj5m8b— Mike Kaye (@mike_e_kaye) September 30, 2013
Ryan Van Bibber of SB Nation predicts the outcome in his Week 5 picks:
Good lesson in scheduling here. Nobody knew in the spring just how bad the Giants and Eagles would be. If they did, this would have been the perfect Thursday Night Football game, terrible defense, turnovers, bankable superstars in decline ... it's got it all.
The Pick: Eagles
The Giants are now considered a one-point home favorite over the Eagles, according to Odds Shark.