By Matt Szczypiorski, Sports Talk Philly Contributing Writer
Every time I think that the season might be over, the Cowboys just lose again and keep the Eagles life support plugged in.
After an absolutely humiliating loss to the lowly Miami Dolphins last Sunday, the Eagles return home for a Monday night match-up with the rival New York Giants.
The Giants are not good. I’d say that the Eagles should beat this team, but the Eagles are also not good.
I’m done with the excuses. I don’t want to hear it. I’m done with the “They would have a better record if the receivers could catch.” I’m so over it. At this point in the season, you are what your record says you are. The Eagles are 5-7. At this point in time, they are a bad football team.
Also, what self-respecting head coach has the nerve to say that a 2-9 Dolphin team made more plays because they “wanted it more.” Really? A two win team wanted it more than a team fighting for a playoff spot? If that’s really the case, then that lack of effort is on you, Dougie P. I’m so sick of it. Figure it out.
Doug Pederson says there were certain plays in the Dolphins game where Miami wanted it more.— Brandon Lee Gowton (@BrandonGowton) December 2, 2019
As a whole, Doug Pederson says the Eagles showed effort and played tough.
Eagles Offense vs. Giants Defense
For the first time since week eight against Buffalo, the Eagles offense showed up. After being less active than a dormant volcano against New England and Seattle, the Eagles exploded for 31 points against Miami. I’m still not satisfied with their performance.
After scoring a touchdown on their first drive of the second half, the Eagles were up 28-14. They didn’t score another point until there was less than two minutes remaining in the game, at which point they kicked a field goal to cut the deficit to six. In between those two scores, the Eagles offense was anemic, making mistakes left and right.
Also after their 28th point, the Eagles ran the ball five times out of 25 plays. I’m no genius, but running the ball 20% of the time in a game against a team with the 30th ranked rush defense seems like a missed opportunity.
The Eagles need to establish the run this week and actually stay with it. Dominate the line of scrimmage, you have some of the best linemen in the league at your disposal. It worked against Buffalo and they have one of the best defenses in the league!
Since then, it’s like the running backs have been spitting in Pederson’s food or something, because he just outright refuses to give them the ball. Pederson’s play-calling has been confusing, infuriating, and dare I say Andy Reid-esque this season. Reid was and is a great coach, but he was run out of town for a reason. It was for reasons like this.
Meanwhile, Carson Wentz’s play has regressed significantly. I know that his stats look good and even say he’s played well, but I’m going off the eye test. The Carson Wentz I’ve seen the last three weeks has not been the Wentz I saw earlier in the season.
He’s missing throws that should be easy for an NFL quarterback to complete. He’s even making some bone-headed decisions that a quarterback who is in his fourth season in the league should not be making
Here’s an example from last week that is sure to make your blood boil, broken down by Brian Baldinger.
.@Eagles v @MiamiDolphins the #Birds just have to be better. There is no reason why the ball shouldn’t go to #Agholor. It shouldn’t be difficult . #birds could have scored 50. Too many plays; too many points left on the field #BaldysBreakdowns pic.twitter.com/CjT6hYN7Ik— Brian Baldinger (@BaldyNFL) December 2, 2019
Is Carson Wentz the biggest problem the 2019 Eagles have? Sweet merciful heavens, no. That being said, he has not been a solution to their problems over the last few weeks. I’m as big of a Wentz fan as there is, and I will defend him against the "Dak is better" and "Should have kept Foles" crowds until I'm blue in the face.
But, he deserves the criticism I’m dishing out here. He’d be the first to acknowledge that he needs to play better if this team wants to be playing in January.
As for the Giants, they’re defense is once again terrible. They’re giving up 373 yards per game, bad enough for seventh worst in the league. They also give up 28.25 points per game, which is fourth worst in the league. I’d say the Eagles offense should see some success this week, but at this point who the heck knows.
The defensive line is the de facto best part of the defense, mostly because every other part stinks out loud. They have some young studs with potential in Leonard Williams and Dexter Lawrence.
The secondary has been awful for years and the Giants front office has tried to fix it with duct tape and spit. Janoris Jenkins may legitimately be one of the worst cornerbacks in the league, as he has regressed significantly since his Pro Bowl season in 2016. Jabrill Peppers, their best player in their secondary, has not practiced this week and seems unlikely to play on Monday night.
Editor's Note: Peppers has since been placed on injured reserve.
Expect the Eagles to attempt to hit some big plays against the Giants secondary. They’ll probably fall incomplete, but they’ll at least attempt some. Also, hopefully the Eagles try to establish the run early in the game with Miles Sanders (Jordan Howard is STILL not cleared for contact) and keep feeding him the ball. He’s averaging 4.4 yards per carry, well above the league’s average. Run the dang ball.
Injury Report: Giants at Eagles
Eagles Defense vs. Giants Offense
Where do I even begin?
I’ll start with the player that infuriates me more than any Eagles player I’ve ever watched. Jalen Mills, please stop talking. You talk entirely too much smack for someone who is average at best, and was cooked by DeVante Parker on multiple occasions. Do your job, then talk, how about that?
Where is the leadership coming from on this defense? Malcolm Jenkins? Fletcher Cox? Brandon Graham? Nigel Bradham? JIM SCHWARTZ? Somebody, anybody employed by the Eagles, please rip these players a new one.
I’ve been waiting all year for anyone to hold someone accountable on this defense, maybe see some yelling on the sidelines. Something, anything. I’ve seen nothing. Someone tell them that the Super Bowl was two years ago and to stop riding those coattails. It’s 2019, you’re sitting at 5-7. If it wasn't for Dallas' ineptitude you wouldn't even be sniffing the postseason. Stop acting like you’re better than you really are.
This defense is cocky for no particular reason. They were ripped to shreds for the first seven weeks of the season, kind of got it figured out, then waltzed into Miami and thought they’d just show up and dominate. I don’t care how bad a team is by NFL standards, it’s still an NFL team. Those aren’t some Joe Shmo’s off the street, they are still some of the best athletes in the world.
If anything came from that loss last week, I hope it showed them that they need to have the same intensity every week, not just against the good teams. Don’t take any opponents for granted. Hopefully they get it figured out soon, because the rest of their schedule consists of woeful teams in the division that all have losing records. They can’t afford to take anyone else for granted.
The Giants have either sent the Eagles a gift from the heavens or put the final nail in their coffin. Rookie quarterback Daniel Jones suffered an ankle injury last week against Green Bay, and is unlikely to play on Monday night. You know what that means?
Mentally preparing myself for the Eagles to give up 337 yards and 3 touchdowns to this man pic.twitter.com/7fbmWt1vS0— Ski (@matt_ski15) December 7, 2019
That face has provided me with many laughs over the years.
For better or for worse, the world likely gets to see Eli Manning play quarterback at least one more time. If history means anything, this is good for the Eagles. Manning is just 10-22 in his career against the Birds, losing nine of his last ten. That being said, he’ll throw for 300 yards and three touchdowns on Monday night, probably.
As for the rest of the Giants offense, there is certainly some talent. Unfortunately for them, they have to play with their atrocious offensive line. The Giants offensive line might as well be turnstiles. They’ve allowed 35 sacks this season, right in the middle of the pack, but they actually grade as the 26th ranked offensive line in the league. That is not good.
If there’s anything I know about Eli Manning after watching him for the past 15 years, it’s that the man loves taking sacks. You will see him fall to the ground in the pocket, a split second before anyone touches him. It looks hilarious every time, and I personally guarantee you will see it at least once on Monday night. Bet the mortgage on it.
Running back Saquon Barkley is a generational talent. Skill wise, there may not be a better back in the league. Unfortunately for Barkley, he is stuck on the Giants and with their incompetence as an organization. I have a feeling that his career could end up shaping out like Barry Sanders: a once-in-a-lifetime player stuck on horrible teams.
While he hasn’t had the best season, due to his offensive line, he has the capability to change a game whenever the football is in his hands. We all saw it last season in both games between the Giants and Eagles.
The Giants receivers are solid. Sterling Shepard, rookie Darius Slayton, and former friend of the program Golden Tate make up a decent receiving core. None of them are top-tier receivers, but they are all good at running after the catch. With Manning at quarterback, expect a lot of short routes and check-downs.
Honestly, who even knows anymore? Whatever I predict will likely be wrong anyway. This Eagles team has been so unpredictable this season that I wouldn’t be surprised if the Eagles beat the Giants by 30 or lost to the Giants by 30.
I actually think this game will be close. The Eagles are incapable of playing games that are stress-free. The Giants won’t do anything special, but the Eagles will do everything in their power to keep the Giants around. Manning will look like his brother in his prime, and the Eagles will probably fumble three times inside the Giants 30 yard line or something stupid like that.
Wentz plays better this week but is let down by his receivers again. Sanders has a big game with Howard still sidelined with the worst stinger known to man, going for over 100 all-purpose yards and a touchdown. He’ll have like four carries in the second half.
Jalen Mills celebrates an incomplete pass that he had absolutely no effect on, and inexplicably talks trash to the Giants sideline about it. It’s like clockwork.
The rest of the Eagles defense doesn’t do anything spectacular, and they allow the G-men to tie the game late in the fourth quarter. The Boo-birds will be out in full force. However, Wentz leads the offense down the field and Jake Elliot kicks a game-winning field goal at home against the Giants for the third year in a row. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Eagles win, 23-20.
Also, prepare yourselves for an awful broadcast. You’ll all be sick of Booger McFarland by about the third play of the game.
Time: 8:15 p.m.
Radio: 94.1 FM WIP
Online: NFL Gamepass