The Philadelphia Eagles swept the New York Giants for the second straight year, a rare bright spot for what has been a difficult season.
The defending champions know that every game moving forward could potentially decide the fate of their crown. This one may not have been pretty but they got the job done and that’s what matters. So what is there to take away from the game for both teams? Plenty. Here are some of the most notable things to keep an eye on as the year winds down.
Saquon Barkley was worth the price
Dave Gettleman got a lot of flak for not drafting a quarterback at #2 overall, but he felt he was getting a potential superstar when he secured Penn State running back Saquon Barkley. Time is proving that a wise decision. The sensation rookie now has 12 touchdowns on the season, tying a franchise record. He racked up over 150 total yards against the Eagles defense including over 100 on the ground. Something that was unthinkable a year ago.
Pat Shurmur made a strategic blunder
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The Giants head coach deserves lots of criticism for his teams’ collapse in the second half and a big part of it was his baffling decision to get away from running the ball. Between Barkley and Wayne Gallman, the Giants rushed for 126 yards on just 18 carries. That’s seven yards per rush. Philadelphia had no answers for it. Yet New York decided to let Eli Manning throw 37 times instead. This led to three crucial punts in the 3rd quarter, helping Philly back into the game.
Giants problems at linebacker continue to haunt them
Once upon a time, linebacker was the position of strength for the Giants defense. Over the past decade plus, that hasn’t been the case. It seems to have reached a low point as the Eagles not only ran the ball for 127 yards but also got 124 yards and a touchdown out of their tight ends. This is a weakness teams have continued to expose all season long. Until they fix it, they are likely to see that area cost them big games moving forward.
The win doesn’t erase serious concerns with Eagles offense
It was a gutty win for the Birds and they earned it. However, it’s way too soon to consider this victory a “turning point” of their season. There are still problems on both sides of the ball, especially offense. Chief among them was Carson Wentz getting sacked three times by a defense that had 11 all year going into the game. Whatever the issues are, be it personnel or execution must be corrected if they want any hope of reaching the playoffs.