The Giants’ dream season will keep rolling for at least one more week.
Thanks to big second-half defensive stops and a great game from Daniel Jones, the Giants upset the Vikings, 31-24, in Sunday’s NFC wild card game. It’s the team’s first playoff win since Super Bowl XLVI. And it means a divisional round showdown at the hated Eagles next weekend.
Philly, the NFC’s top playoff seed, will be coming off its bye week. The Eagles swept the Giants in the regular season. They are a big favorite. But the third time can be the charm. Here is why — and how — the Giants can upset the Eagles:
Jalen Hurts is hurting. Following a bout with a shoulder injury, Hurts struggled against various Giants backups in the regular season finale. The third-year passer threw for 229 yards and one interception on 20-of-35 passing. His passer rating for the game was just 65.1.
With cornerback Adoree’ Jackson back on the field after missing the regular-season finale (and the six games before that with a knee injury), the Giants secondary should be prepared to take advantage of this Eagles passing attack.
Philly’s average run defense. The Eagles sport a middle-of-the-road run defense that allowed 121.6 rushing yards per game during the regular season.
In their two losses to Philly this year, the Giants averaged 126 rushing yards, well below their 17-game average of 148.2.
If the Giants want to emerge victorious in this massive playoff meeting, they must find more success on the ground with both running back Saquon Barkley and quarterback Daniel Jones. That should help the Giants formulate long drives to keep the Eagles’ offense off the field.
Run-defending surge. The Giants came into the playoffs having allowed 144.2 rushing yards per game in the regular season, a mark that was sixth-worst in the NFL.
But on Sunday against the Vikings, the Giants allowed only 61 total rushing yards to a Dalvin Cook-led rushing attack. Defensive linemen Leonard Williams and Dexter Lawrence were great and made a significant improvement from the regular season in this department.
However, a huge task awaits. Philly was the fifth-best rushing team in the league this year. Limiting that component of the Eagles’ offense and forcing Hurts to throw the ball would work wonders for Wink Martindale’s unit.
Daniel Jones’ hot streak. The quarterback was excellent against the Vikings, throwing for 301 yards and two touchdowns while rushing for another 78 yards.
This unit runs through Jones, as his dual-threat abilities have helped make the most out of what’s primarily a weak offensive roster.
Against a more talented Philly team, the Giants need a huge game out of Jones to notch another big victory — the 25-year-old struggling could result in a brutal playoff loss.
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