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Eagle Eye: Eagles-Giants predictions
Eagles (1-3) at Giants (0-4)
1 p.m., FOX
Giants by 1
Three losses in a row and a 1-3 record, and yet the Eagles could still find themselves in first place with a win Sunday (see story) and a little help from the Broncos.
Following a 52-20 drubbing at the hands of Denver, the Birds should welcome a matchup against the winless Giants.
Here are five things you'll want to know before kickoff Sunday afternoon:
1. Where do they rank?
Offense: 459 yards per game (2nd), 261 passing (11th), 198 rushing (1st)
Defense: 447 yards per game (32nd), 325 passing (31st), 122 rushing (26th)
Turnovers: 5 takeaways (T-23rd), 7 giveaways (T-14th), minus-2 differential (T-21st)
Offense: 326 yards per game (23rd), 268 passing (10th), 58 rushing (30th)
Defense: 384 yards per game (21st), 262 passing (19th), 123 rushing (28th)
Turnovers: 7 takeaways (T-13th), 16 giveaways (32nd), minus-9 differential (30th)
The Eagles might move the ball more than any other team in football — with the exception of the Broncos — but they've got a finishing problem, ranking just 12th in the league in points per game. In a dozen red-zone trips, the Birds have just five touchdowns and five field goals. Their 42 percent touchdown rate is tied for 27th in the league.
The Giants are 0-4 for a reason. They haven't been able to move the ball on the ground, and when they've gone to the air, they've coughed it up. David Wilson has just 130 yards on 38 carries and has fumbled twice. Eli Manning has nine picks, one more than Geno Smith, and a 56 percent completion rating.
2. What the doctor ordered?
The Eagles' defense is historically bad. How bad? It's on pace to allow 7,152 yards, which would pass the mark the Saints set last year (7,042) for the most in NFL history. Even worse -- yes, it gets worse -- it's set to shatter the passing yards record, on pace to give up 5,200 yards and fly past the 2011 Packers (4,796).
All that, and earlier this week Billy Davis asked for critics to just trust him (see story).
The Birds are banged up too, and safety Patrick Chung's status for Sunday is in jeopardy. If he sits again, rookie fifth-round pick Earl Wolff will get the nod for a second straight game.
But if there's any team this defense needs to face, it's the Giants.
They've moved the ball adequately while passing (other than the picks) -- Manning's 287 yards per game ranks 11th -- but their running game has been non-existent. Their offensive line has been a revolving door, allowing 14 sacks (T-28th) and the G-men are putting up just 15.3 points per game (30th), with just seven points combined in the last two weeks.
3. Meadowlands dominance
The Eagles have owned the Giants in North Jersey -- with the exception of last year's season finale -- having won five of the last six in the Meadowlands since 2008, including the postseason.
Before last season's 42-7 embarrassment, the Eagles had won five in a row by a 143-104 scoring margin, with four of their wins coming by one possession.
Michael Vick is 4-3 in his career against the Giants and 2-1 on the road. Manning is 8-10 against the Eagles and just 3-7 all-time against the Birds at home.
4. It's not how you start ... or is it?
Only six teams have made the playoffs after starting the season 1-4 since the NFL adopted its current 12-team postseason format in 1990: the '92 Chargers, '93 Oilers, '02 Titans, '02 Jets, '04 Packers and '11 Broncos.
The Eagles' odds increase dramatically with a win, especially in a division in which 8-8 or even 7-9 might capture the crown. The Giants, of course, would like to take their chances at 1-4.
No team has dropped their first five and still went on to the postseason. The '92 Chargers were the only one to start 0-4 and still make it. The 1970 Bengals are the lone team to have ever fallen five games under .500 (1-6) and move on.
5. This and that
• The last time these two teams met, the Giants capped off the Andy Reid era with a 42-7 win over the Eagles, New York's first against the Birds at MetLife Stadium. Manning tossed five TDs, and the game was over at halftime.
• Last week, the Chiefs racked up 21 second-half points to deal the Giants their fourth loss in a 31-7 rout at Arrowhead. Alex Smith threw three TDs, and Manning completed just 49 percent of his passes.
• The Eagles have won 8 of their last 10 against the Giants.
• Not since 1987 have the Giants started a season 0-5. They finished that year 6-9 (and beat the Eagles twice).
• The NFL's two worst scoring defenses will be on display on this one. The Eagles have given up 34.5 points per game (31st), while the Giants have allowed 36.5 (32nd).
• Injury Report: For the Eagles, S Patrick Chung (shoulder) is questionable and CB Brandon Boykin (shoulder) and DE Fletcher Cox (quad) are both probable. The Giants' list is more extensive: C David Baas (neck), CB Jayron Hosley (hamstring), DT Linval Joseph (ankle/knee), TE Adrien Robinson (foot), CB Aaron Ross (back) and G Chris Snee (hip) are all out; CB Corey Webster (groin) is doubtful; DT Cullen Jenkins (knee/achilles) and WR Louis Murphy (ankle) are questionable; LB Mark Herzlich (toe), DT Shaun Rogers (back) and CB Terrell Thomas (knee) are probable.
• Recommended reading:
Mosher's Film Review: Fundamentals eluding Mychal Kendricks
Eagles need more turnovers — and they know it
Kelly, Coughlin could've shared sidelines together
Like the Eagles, Giants' defense in disarray
Cullen Jenkins on release: 'It's a funny story'