You may not find very many people who truly believe that the New York Giants can walk into Lincoln Financial Field and upset the number one seed, NFC East Champion Philadelphia Eagles. Likewise you may not have found very many people who truly believed that the New York Giants, one season into a massive rebuild, would be one of the last eight teams standing tall for a shot at Super Bowl LVI.
Yet here we are a few days away from a 3rd meeting between the Giants and Eagles with a spot in the NFC Championship game at stake.
What are the keys to a Giants victory?
After a week 11 shellacking to the tune of a 48-22 loss to the Ealges. A game where FOX decided to cut the game feed. The improvement shown since the week 11 loss saw the Giants backups play a solid game in a loss to the Eagles in week 18.
It has become feasible to say that while the Giants are underdogs there is a glimmer of hope in a Giants upset. The Eagles are currently a 7.5 point favorite in the contest.
So, now for this weeks keys to a Giants victory…
1. Score 30 Plus Points in Back to Back Games
While this sounds simple, note that the the last time the New York Giants put up 30 points in back to back games was week 15 and week 16 of the 2019 NFL season.
The Philadelphia Eagles are the top passing defense in the NFL and the 17th ranked run stopping defense in the NFL. The Giants offense is 26th in passing yards and 4th in rushing yards. The Eagles are tied for 4th in the NFL in takeaways. The Giants are 2nd in the NFL in least amount of turnovers.
Considering the breakdown above, it would seem obvious what the Giants need to do. Barkley and Jones need to mimic the divisional round success they had last week where they combined for 131 yards and 2 touchdowns. However the Eagles average 28.1 points per game and 2 rushing touchdowns will simply not lead to a Giants upset victory.
Brian Daboll and Mike Kafka will need to scheme Daniel Jones around the Cornerback tandem of Darius Slay and James Bradberry. Slay has allowed a 58.2% pass completion percentage when targeted this year and Bradberry has allowed a 45.3% pass completion percentage when targeted this year. Jones will need to do more through the air than the 169 yards and 1 touchdown he threw in the embarrassing week 11 loss.
2. Deal with the Boston Scott Sized Elephant in the Room.
Scott has been in the NFL since 2018. He has 16 total touchdowns during his career and a staggering 9 of them have come against the New York Giants. Since Scott became an Eagle, he has played the Giants a total of 8 times and has been responsible for 54 points on his 9 touchdowns. The Eagles have outscored the Giants by a total of 64 points in those 8 games combined. Wink Martindale needs to find a way to completely shut down the guy dubbed the Giant Slayer.
3. Find Some Points Outside of the Offense
When the New York Giants clinched a wildcard playoff berth, Landon Collins brought back memories of his first stint in New York. He stepped in front of a Nick Foles pass and took it 52 yards for a touchdown. Kayvon Thibodeaux returned a fumble for a touchdown in week 15 to secure a win against the Washington Redskins. We need to find a way to put points on the board on defense and special teams.
The likelihood of a Giants special teams touchdown is pretty slim. The last kickoff return or punt return touchdown was a 100 yard kickoff return by Dwayne Harris in 2015. What better time to break this streak than this divisional round playoff game against the 21st ranked kick coverage team in the NFL?
Whether it is by the defense or the unlikely scenario of a punt or kick return touchdown, the Giants will need to put as many points on the board from as many sources as they can if they expect to walk away with an upset win over the Eagles in the divisional round of the playoffs.