Know your Eagles enemy: A closer look at the last three seasons of New York Giants football

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The grading scale grades a team’s offense and defense based on their overall league rank in the four (4) following categories:

1) Points Per Game 

2) Yards Per Game

3) Defense-adjusted Value Over Average (DVOA): This is a method of evaluating a team’s offensive and defensive efficiency. It takes every single play during the NFL season and compares each one to a league-average baseline based on situation. You can read more about it here:

http://www.footballoutsiders.com/info/methods

4) Weighted Offense/Defense: Weighted Offense/Defense is adjusted so that earlier games in the season become gradually less important. It better reflects how a team’s offense and defense was playing at the end of the season.

 

Over the last three seasons, the Giants have been a little all over the place. In 2014 and 2015, they fielded one of the better offenses in the league. However, they didn’t have anything remotely close to a good defense, thus winning only six games in those respective campaigns.

Last year, it seems that they did a complete 180. Although their offense was respectable, their defense is what carried them to eleven wins. It was a successful year for NYG, as they finished 11-5 and made their first playoff appearance since winning Super Bowl XLVI.

Heading into a new season, usually, you have a good idea of which way a team is trending. Is a team getting better or falling behind? For the Eagles, it has been clear that they have gotten better. On the other hand, NYG has been a little more difficult to evaluate.

Last year, the Eagles and Giants were in a similar spot. They both hired rookie head coaches, and nobody knew quite what to expect. Certainly, though, an 11-5 record, and two wins over the Dallas Cowboys is a sign that the Giants were a team moving in the right direction, right?

Well, I think the answer to the above question is yes, and no. Undoubtedly, the play of Vernon, Jenkins, and big ‘Snacks’ Harrison give the Giants a great base on defense going forward. With one of the best defenses in the league, NYG’s offense, and particularly their offensive line, has to hold their own if this team is to replicate/and/or improve upon their record last year.

Winning eleven games and making the playoffs last year after a four-year drought, one would think, would qualify as a successful campaign, right? Of course it does. The thing is, Big Blue, through the first two weeks of 2017, seem like they have more questions than answers at this point.

Despite being a team that, on paper, was supposed to be trending upward heading into the year, the Giants will try to avoid slipping to 0-3 on Sunday when they face the Eagles. Quite honestly, while I’m not going to completely rule out the Giants salvaging the rest of their season, their matchup against Philly isn’t going to be the easiest environment to get back on track.

Playing in their home opener, the Linc should be electric all game. The Eagles, while not perfect, and even with their lack of a running game, have looked great offensively in the second year of the Doug Pederson/Carson Wentz era. As it currently stands, Philly seems like the team to beat in the NFC East. They just have to keep progressing.

Although NYG has not played well offensively through the first two weeks, they are coming into town to face a beat up Eagles’ secondary. While, at least so far, the youngsters in the Birds’ defensive backfield have held their own, the Giants offense should have some opportunities to take shots, and to score, despite playing in a hostile environment.

Nonetheless, the Eagles will be extremely motivated, playing in front of their fans for the first time in 2017. Tough to peg this game as the week the Giants get back on track.

 

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