On Thursday night, the Cleveland Browns won their third consecutive game, defeating the Buffalo Bills 37-24.
What do the Browns have to do with the Giants and Eagles?
Well, two weeks ago, the Browns were winless, and many had begun to completely discount their chances of competing in the AFC North. In the span of 14 days, the Browns have gone from last-to-first in their division. It can change that quickly for a team.
Of course, things can also stay the same. And in the case of the 0-4 Giants and the 1-3 Eagles, that would be bad news.
Here is NBC 4 New York’s look at various ways Sunday’s Giants-Eagles game could unfold:
Reasons why the Giants can win Sunday
The Eagles, like the Giants, know something about making too many mistakes. On average, the Eagles are giving up three offensive touchdowns and one non-offensive touchdown per game. Opponents have scored on a fumble, interception, kickoff and blocked-punt returns against the Eagles this season. If the Giants can just hang around on Sunday, perhaps the Eagles will gift-wrap them a defensive touchdown, too. That could be the difference in a competitive game.
The Eagles may rack up a lot of yards, but they are not scoring as many points lately. In the Eagles’ last two games, they have gained nearly a combined 900 yards. However, they have not exceeded 20 points in either contest. The Eagles are probably a good bet to rack up more than 400 yards on Sunday, just like they have in every other game. The real question is whether the Giants can hold the Eagles to field goals in the red zone. That’s a reasonable goal for Perry Fewell’s defense.
Name a Giants receiver, any Giants receiver. The Eagles are horrible against the pass. If the Giants don’t get at least one big game out of Victor Cruz, Hakeem Nicks or Rueben Randle, it will be a disappointment.
The Giants’ running game has gotten a little better. Tailbacks David Wilson, Brandon Jacobs and the now-released Da’Rel Scott combined for 86 yards on 19 carries at Kansas City in Week Three. That’s a step in the right direction. The Eagles’ run defense is stronger than their pass defense, but it is not so stout that the Giants shouldn’t try to establish the run. And do the Giants ever need a spark from their running game, whether it’s Wilson breaking free for a long run or Jacobs running someone over on a short-yardage play to the cheers of the home crowd.
Reasons why the Giants could run into trouble against the Eagles
The Giants’ offense may not be able to match scores with the Eagles’ offense. If the Giants’ offense plays like it has the last two weeks, the Eagles are likely winners. The Eagles, as we noted, will get their yards. But what about the Giants?
The Giants’ special teams could again fall apart. In all four losses, the Giants have made a costly mistake in the kicking game. The club’s punting and punt coverage must improve.
The Giants’ injuries prove too tough to overcome. The Giants’ offensive line, defensive line and defensive backfield all are dealing with injuries to multiple starters. The durability of the defense is especially concerning, given the pace with which the Eagles operate on offense. Could the Eagles wear down the Giants over four quarters?
There’s no getting around it: the Giants’ recent form is troubling. In the last 10 quarters, the Giants have surrendered 100 points. In that same span, they have scored just 21 points. In short, for a period encompassing more than 60 percent of their season to date, the Giants have been outscored by roughly a 5:1 margin. There is more evidence to suggest the Giants are in deep trouble than the contrary.
The Eagles are an exciting-but-flawed team. Since defeating Washington in Week One, they have lost three straight games, all by increasing margins. Clearly, the Eagles’ defense is a problem, one that could very well cost them in a very-winnable NFC East.
That said, the Eagles appear to have the edge over the Giants on Sunday. The Eagles are healthier, and they have the better offense. That will be the difference.
Score: Eagles 31, Giants 21.