The Eagles’ hopes of clinching a division title in the NFC East are not too far out of reach. This Sunday, the Philadelphia Eagles (4-6) will host their division rivals, the New York Giants (3-7), who are last in the NFC East with a chance to get within one game of the Dallas Cowboys and Washington Redskins.
Despite struggling over the past few weeks, the NFC East is still a close race, and the Eagles still have time to catch up. The Cowboys and Redskins are tied atop the division at 6-5 after their Thanksgiving Day matchup. The Eagles were only two games back from the lead entering this week, and this week’s matchup against the Giants could put them in the middle of the division race heading down the stretch.
The Giants started the season 1-7 with one of those losses being a 34-13 blowout at the hands of the Eagles in Week 6. But in the last two weeks, the Giants have looked much improved, beating the San Francisco 49ers and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Both games came down to the wire and were decided by four points or less.
Eagles head coach Doug Pederson is excited for his team to get back to their high-level of football against a quality opponent on Sunday.
“I think Carson, some of his strengths [are] obviously the play action, move the pocket, do the things that were effective in [the first Eagles-Giants game this season],” Pederson said. “We’re going against a great opponent. We know that. They’re playing well right now and as you [the reporter] said, we have to get back to that kind of action.”
The Giants rank 22nd in the NFL in yards-per-game through the air (256.1), but have only allowed 14 passing touchdowns all season (T-3rd). They have been playing better the last two weeks, but Zach and the rest of the Eagles offense will look to replicate the success they found in their Week 6 matchup, when Carson Wentz was able to spread the ball around to all of his playmakers, including Ertz, Alshon Jeffery and Nelson Agholor.
Back in Week 6, Wentz had his way with the Giants defense, completing 26-of-36 passes for 278 yards and three touchdowns with no interceptions.
Wentz targeted Jeffery 12 times, and they connected on eight of them for 74 yards and two touchdowns. No. 86 pulled in 7-of-9 targets for 43 yards and one score in Week 6, and Agholor chipped in 91 yards on just three catches.
For the Eagles to win the NFC East, offensive playmakers like Ertz, Jeffery, Wentz, and the newly acquired Golden Tate will have to attack and put points on the board early in the game. Slow starts have plagued the Eagles in many of their losses, and a fast start will be key to their success the rest of the year.
“Obviously the season’s not exactly where we expected it to be, but at the same time everything’s still in front of us,” Ertz said. “We have three straight division games; it’s going to be a great opportunity for us.”
The Eagles have reached a critical portion of their schedule. If they can take care of business with their division games over the next few weeks, then they will likely have a shot to defend the Lombardi Trophy during the playoffs.
Kickoff is set for Sunday at 1:00 p.m. E.T. and will be aired on Fox.