Philadelphia Eagles (2-3) @ New York Giants (1-4)
Both teams come into a Thursday night football game in week six after suffering heartbreaking losses in week 5. The Eagles couldn’t complete the comeback against the Vikings and the Giants lost on a 63 yard field goal to Carolina.
Eagles notes for week 6:
Options at running back after the Jay Ajayi injury:
Jay Ajayi is out for the season after tearing his ACL on Sunday. Here are some options for the Eagles to help their backfield:
Lesean McCoy, Buffalo Bills: Drafted by the Eagles back in 2009, McCoy was the star of the Eagles offense for 6 seasons until Chip Kelly traded him to Buffalo for Kiko Alonso. (While the trade looks bad on paper now, the Eagles later traded Alonso to Miami for a draft pick and used that pick to trade up and get Carson Wentz.) McCoy won the rushing title for Philly back in 2013 and was widely considered a fan-favorite. There have been reports that the Eagles were trying to acquire him again back in the 2017 offseason but no deal was made. The Eagles have reportedly reached out to the Bills again to ask for McCoy, but no agreement has been reached yet. While it may get the fans more excited about this team after a slow start, shady seems to be slowing down. This season he has just 45 carries for 170 yards, and a mediocre 3.8 YPC.
Kenyan Drake, Miami Dolphins: Drake is only 24 and is a cheaper option with high upside for the Eagles. After taking over when Ajayi was traded to the Eagles last season, Drake was supposed to be the lead back for the Dolphins going into the season. However, he been out-snapped in almost every game this season by veteran Frank Gore. Drake is a good pass catcher and his style is very similar to Corey Clement but arguably better. In the final five games of last season, Drake averaged a solid 88 rushing yards per game and 4.9 YPC. He has high upside and it’s worth noting that it would be the second time he’s filled in for Jay Ajayi. Drake would not cost the Eagles too much and he’s the player I’d be most inclined for the Eagles to go after.
Don’t Trade for anyone and rely on the running back they already have: In all honesty, Corey Clement is not a horrible option for the Eagles at running back. Clement had 27 carries for 112 yards and a touchdown through week three but has been inactive the last two weeks with a quad injury. Another surprise for Philly is that Wendell Smallwood has looked good to start the season. After barely making the team coming out of the preseason, Smallwood is averaging 6.0 YPC on 25 carries to start this season. The Eagles also have long-time veteran Darren Sproles, who has been out since week one with a nagging hamstring, and Josh Adams at running back on the roster. While Clement has a lot of upside as a runner and pass catcher, I don’t think he is a reliable option for a team in need of playmakers.
Giants notes for week 6:
Saquon Barkley is the real deal: Through week five, it’s very clear that the G-men made the right pick taking Saquon Barkley out of Penn State with the 4th pick in the 2018 draft. The Giants ranked 26th in the NFL last season in rushing yards and had just six rushing touchdowns between Wayne Gallman and Orleans Darkwa. Barkley immediately took over the role as a three down back and has outcarried other Giants running backs 71-16 so far. He has a habit of making the first tackler miss and is a big play candidate every time he gets the ball as he already has 5 rushes of 20 or more yards. He will be a huge factor in Thursday’s game.
There’s something about the Giants and losing on long field goals:
Sorry Giants fans, but I have to point out the fact that this is now two straight seasons where the Giants have lost on a 60+ yard field goal early in the season. Week 3 of last season, the Eagles and Giants faced off in Philly. After jumping out to a quick 14-0 lead, the Giants answered Philly by going up 21-14. The Eagles rallied back and set themselves up for a 61 yard game-winning field goal or overtime. Jake Elliot, playing in just his second NFL game, nailed the field goal, giving the Eagles momentum in the division and triggering a nine-game win-streak. On Sunday the Giants made another comeback after being down early, only to have their hearts broken by Graham Gano, who hit an NFL-record 63 yard game-winning field goal. Safe to say, luck hasn’t always been on the Giants’ side.
Who will win this week five matchup:
The Eagles secondary has looked bad all season and I was not a huge fan of Doug Pederson’s play-calling in week 5. Jay Ajayi’s injury means someone has to step up; the Eagles have struggled to produce big plays all season and losing him doesn’t help. That being said, the Eagles have dominated the Giants over the past decade: since the start of the 2008 season, the Eagles are 16-4 against the Giants. The Giants’ defense hasn’t been great and it’s a favorable matchup for Carson Wentz. Therefore, the Eagles will win in New York and improve to 3-3 on the season.
Final Score Eagles, 31, Giants 20