Eagles vs Giants

Eagles vs Giants: Thursday Night Football 2018 Live Stream, two of those four teams will battle it out to see if they can at least salvage the early part of their season.

Watch Eagles vs Giants Live

The defending champion Philadelphia Eagles are just 2-3 heading into their showdown with the New York Giants, and they’re only 1-2 since getting star quarterback Carson Wentz back on the field. The team’s defense has fallen off significantly from a year ago, and the offense has been dealing with a spate of injuries. New York’s defense has been even worse than Philly’s and while the offense has not dealt with a ton of injuries, it has not exactly experienced much in the way of success, either.

Can the Eagles right the ship and propel themselves back into the playoff picture? Can the Giants save their season from falling over the edge? We’ll find out Thursday night. Here’s what to look out for.

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When the Giants have the ball

This offseason, the Giants made a big, bold move to improve their offense. Picking No. 2 overall in the NFL Draft, the Giants chose to pass on a quarterback who could become the successor to Eli Manning and instead selected Penn State running back Saquon Barkley, reasoning that Barkley’s spectacular talent would be enough to lift the play of everyone around him. General manager Dave Gettleman mocked analytics and those who believe that running backs are not valuable enough players to be picked at No. 2 overall, and the Giants exuded confidence that Barkley would transform their team.

To Barkley’s credit, he has been every bit as good as the Giants envisioned. Through five games, Barkley has racked up 308 yards on the ground and 274 through the air. That makes him one of just four players in the league with at least 300 rushing yards and at least 200 receiving yards this season. He’s also the first player in NFL history to reach those marks within the first five games of his career. Much of Barkley’s production, though, has come via big plays as opposed to consistent gains. In other words, Barkley has been gobbled up near the line of scrimmage fairly often, but he’s boosted his overall numbers with explosive gains.

Indeed, Barkley has six runs of 15 yards or more already this season, including a 68-yard touchdown on opening day. But he’s also gained two or fewer yards on 43 of his 71 carries. As such, his success rate of 38 percent ranks 31st among the 38 players with at least 40 rushes this season, per Football Outsiders. Additionally, because Barkley’s 274 receiving yards have come on 31 catches, he has not been quite as valuable a receiving back as one might initially believe. That 8.84 yards per reception figure ranks 12th among players with at least 10 catches so far this season, for example.

But even if Barkley has not been quite as extraordinary as he might appear on first glance, he has still been quite good. More concerning for the Giants is that he appears to have had little or no effect on the overall quality of the team’s offense. The Giants clearly expected him to be a rising tide that lifted all boats, and that simply has not happened. The New York offense is nearly as inept this year as it has been for the last two. The Giants rank 25th in yards per game this season and 23rd in points per game. They have 10 offensive touchdowns in five games — a figure that exceeds only five teams, one of which has played only four games.

Odell Beckham is averaging 7.8 catches per game, the highest mark of his career … but he’s also averaging a career-low 11.8 yards per reception and he’s found the end zone just once in five games. Sterling Shepard’s 10.9 yards per reception figure represents a steep drop from last year’s mark of 12.4 per reception as well. Eli Manning’s overall passing figures are up a bit, though largely because his 2017 season was so terrible. (Manning is averaging an adjusted yards per attempt figure of 6.18, which is worse than the figures he posted in 2014, 2015, and 2016 but better than his dreadful 2017 campaign.) Manning’s also been sacked on 7.9 percent of his drop backs, and the offensive line appears to still be a disaster even after the offseason signing of left tackle Nate Solder and the jettisoning of former first-round pick Ereck Flowers, who was released earlier this week.

The Giants may have a pretty decent chance to get their offense going Thursday night, however, because Philadelphia’s pass defense has been much more friendly to the opposition than it was a year ago. Eagles opponents are averaging 7.4 yards per attempt and have a passer rating of 96.5. The Eagles have been destroyed by No. 2 receivers in particular, with Football Outsiders ranking them 31st in DVOA against No. 2’s. Cornerback Jalen Mills has struggled badly, yielding a 128.0 passer rating on throws in his direction, according to Sports Info Solutions. Of the five Eagles defenders who have been targeted at least 10 times in coverage, three of them are allowing a passer rating of 100 or higher.

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