The700Level

Position Breakdowns: How the Eagles stack up against the Giants

Position Breakdowns: How the Eagles stack up against the Giants

Two weeks ago, it was widely assumed the Giants were going to have a more complete team than the Eagles this season. Now that the Giants are sitting on a 0-2 record and the Eagles are at 1-1 with a hard-fought loss on the road in Kansas City, people aren’t so sure.

At this point, it’s probably fair to say New York’s football team was overrated. The offense hasn’t eclipsed 19 points since November — a run of eight games — and the defense, though good, isn’t quite elite. Add a key injury to the mix, and you get a team that doesn’t look particularly threatening.

The Eagles are far from world beaters themselves. But compared to the Giants, they are in much better shape at this stage of the season.

QUARTERBACKS
You sort of have to give Eli Manning the nod on the strength of his four trips to the Pro Bowl and two Super Bowls. Then again, Manning appears to be regressing as he approaches his 37th birthday, and truth be told, he’s always been inconsistent and turnover prone. Carson Wentz continues to develop as a passer, plus possesses tremendous mobility, which Manning lacks. But Wentz’s accuracy still needs to improve, and he has the tendency to cough up the football, too. The body of work simply isn’t there. By the time the Eagles and Giants meet again in December, this might not be the case.

Slight edge: Giants

RUNNING BACKS
What a mess. The leading rusher in this contest is Wentz (61 YDS), followed by Darren Sproles (50), then LeGarrette Blount (46). Then it’s Orleans Darkwa, who leads the Giants with a mighty 31 yards — and he’s not even the lead back. Even if the combination of Paul Perkins and Darkwa are a push compared to Blount and Wendell Smallwood, Sproles is a superior change-of-pace back to Shane Vereen.

Slight edge: Eagles

WIDE RECEIVERS AND TIGHT ENDS
Odell Beckham Jr. might be the most dangerous player on the field this Sunday — if the Giants' wideout is healthy. Beckham was limited to 34 snaps by an ankle injury in his Week 2 debut, finishing with four receptions for 36 yards. Meanwhile, Alshon Jeffery and Wentz are starting to get on the same page (10 REC, 130 YDS, 1 TD), and tight end Zach Ertz has hit the ground running this season (13 REC, 190 YDS). New York has some big names in its receiving corps, but Brandon Marshall and Sterling Shepherd have been little more than window dressing so far. Unless Beckham is 100 percent, the Eagles claim better weapons.

Very slight edge: Eagles

OFFENSIVE LINE
The Eagles are experiencing their share of issues up front. Replacing Isaac Seumalo with Chance Warmack at left guard is probably a step in the right direction. Warmack didn’t live up to his full potential with the Titans, but the fifth-year veteran should stabilize an otherwise solid O-line. The Giants have no such reinforcements on the way. They are stuck with the likes of Ereck Flowers at left tackle and will continue to feature underwhelming starters across the board. This is New York’s Achilles heel right now.

Clear edge: Eagles

DEFENSIVE FRONT SEVEN
Both of these teams have outstanding defensive lines. New York may even boast the better of the two. Jason Pierre-Paul and Olivier Vernon form one of the premier pass-rushing duos off the edge, while Damon Harrison anchors a stout interior. However, the Eagles hold a distinct advantage at linebacker. Jordan Hicks is coming off a tough game but remains one of the top playmakers in the league, and Mychal Kendricks is off to an amazing start in 2017. Just try to name a linebacker on the Giants. Go ahead. We’ll wait.

Slight edge: Eagles

DEFENSIVE BACKS
The Eagles are already down Ronald Darby, and the statuses of Rodney McLeod, Jaylen Watkins and Corey Graham are all up in the air. Giants cornerback Janoris Jenkins is out as well, but defense is still strong at that spot with Eli Apple and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie. Safeties Malcolm Jenkins and Landon Collins are roughly a push, so New York’s superior depth at cornerback would seem to be the difference here.

Edge: Giants

SPECIAL TEAMS
The kickers are relative unknowns, with three career NFL games between them, so special teams could be a real wild card Sunday. Based off of Sproles being an electric, game-changing punt returner and the Eagles' typically outstanding coverage units, we’ll assume the Eagles have the upper hand. But if the game comes down to a last-second field goal, all bets are off.

Edge: Eagles

COACHING
Both Doug Pederson and Ben McAdoo are into their second season at the helm. McAdoo did lead the Giants to 11 wins and the playoffs last season. He also has more of a track record as an offensive coordinator, as he was actually in charge of New York’s offense for two years before taking the head job — as opposed to Pederson standing behind Andy Reid in Kansas City. McAdoo is off to a 0-2 start in 2017, so it’s a tough call. If we use defensive coordinators as the tiebreaker, it doesn’t get a whole lot easier, but Giants assistant Steve Spagnuolo does have a Super Bowl ring.

Very slight edge: Giants

OVERALL
These squads are close in many areas, but the difference is along the offensive line. The Giants have one of the worst units in the NFL right now, in a league that has quite a few bad O-lines. Beckham is the X-factor here. If he’s back to full strength, he could give the Eagles' secondary fits, but it’s a big “if.” It’s difficult to envision New York’s offense getting on track at Lincoln Financial Field, where Manning traditionally stinks. On paper, this matchup is not especially close, although anything can happen when NFC East rivals clash.

Edge: Eagles

Leather Eagles Super Bowl jacket is amazing, crazy expensive

beau-allen-leather.jpg
NFL Shop

Leather Eagles Super Bowl jacket is amazing, crazy expensive

Philadelphia fans aren't the only ones who can't get their fill of Super Bowl championship memorabilia. The Eagles' players want in on the surfeit of champs gear as well.

Take Beau Allen for example. A true man of the people, Allen tweeted his desire for this absolutely beautiful leather jacket commemorating the Eagles victory over the New England Patriots in Super Bowl LII.

Allen tweeted aloud, wondering why the Birds' players hadn't been issued one of these leather jackets yet?

One guess? They retail for a cool $3,000. Totally worth it. 

You can pick one up right here for a low $2,999.99. It's listed as a "Men's NFL Pro Line by Fanatics Branded Black/Green Philadelphia Eagles Super Bowl LII Champions Full-Button Leather Jacket."

You'll be happy to know it's an officially licensed NFL product and is made in the USA. Just like Beau.

Joel Embiid belongs among the very best

Joel Embiid belongs among the very best

You can't really fake it at an All-Star Game, especially one where people are actually trying. There's no lucking your way into a couple open shots and a couple generous foul calls and all of a sudden rolling your way to a 30-plus-point game; there's no isolating one defensive mismatch and exploiting it to make yourself look like '01 Shaq. Generally speaking, an All-Star Game shakes out as it should: The best shine the brightest, and those who aren't ready yet fade into the periphery with extra motivation to step things up for next year. 

And that's why it's so awesome that Joel Embiid, a mere 75 games into his NBA career, unquestionably belonged on the biggest stage with the biggest names last night. Playing for Stephen Curry's squad, JoJo posted 19 points on 8-13 shooting, with eight rebounds and two blocks, and a +5 rating for the night — the only positive plus/minus for the Steph starters. 

Out of context, those numbers may not sound particularly impressive for an All-Star outing, considering the final score of 2017's game was 192-182. But thanks to increased financial and personal motivation in this year's game, the competition was ratcheted up, and though the final score was still a robust 148-145 — Team LeBron emerging victorious — no one player really went off in this one, with Team Stephen being led in scoring by DeMar DeRozan and Damian Lillard (21 each). Consider that JoJo's 19 outpaced both teammates James Harden (12 points on 5-19 FG) and Curry himself (13 on 4-14 FG) — only two of the greatest scorers in NBA history. 

And what's more, down the stretch it was Embiid who seemed most ready to rise to the moment. With minutes remaining and his team up one, Embiid posted up LeBron James — LeBron James!! — for an easy bucket, and with the score tied and under a minute left, he got stuck isolated on the perimeter against Paul George, and still ended up blocking George's shot to win the possession back for his team. Had his squad been able to hang on in this one, he would've been able to mount a fairly compelling case for MVP, which would've made him the first player since at least the 20th century to win top honors in his first All-Star appearance. 

Of course, it didn't happen that way, and Team Stephen coach Mike D'Antoni might get most of the blame as to why. With his squad up one and Team LeBron inbounding out of a timeout, D'Antoni opted for some incomprehensible reason to bench Embiid, his best defensive player — which, somewhat unsurprisingly, resulted in LeBron scoring quickly and easily at the basket to go up one, and then DeMar DeRozan throwing the ball away at the other end. Embiid entered for the final possession, with his team needing a three to tie, and he had a chance to hoist one, but understandably passed to Curry, who drove his way into traffic and ended up not even getting a shot off. Team LeBron won, and James took home his third MVP. 

Frustrating finish, but it can't ruin what came before: Joel Embiid squaring off against the best the NBA has to offer, and proving himself a factor. (Also nailed a three and then blocked a Russell Westbrook drive at the other end, btw, so that beautiful random feud lives on.) He got as good as he gave — LeBron drilled a triple in his face immediately after JoJo took him down low — but he was in the mix, and a crucial part of his team's successes and failures. It should be the first of many such All-Star starring roles for Embiid, and hopefully the last for some time that doesn't also include him being flanked by Process Truster in Arms Ben Simmons. 

But even if it isn't — even if nothing good ever happens again with Joel, and we look back at this All-Star Game 25 years from now as the high point of this career — it still would have all been worth it. It was worth it when the team went 10-5 two Januarys ago. It was maybe worth it when Embiid gave his first-ever post-game interview following a Sixers win. 

That's what people will never understand about The Process, and that's what makes nights like this so gratifying. Franchises go decades, entire generations, without getting a moment to feel this way about one of their players, and even getting the chance to feel it about one of ours is worth seasons of sacrifice. JoJo lives, and somewhere in the bowels of the Staples Center last night, Our Once and Always Dark Lord Sam Hinkie had to be there and be smiling. Hope he enjoyed the Fergie national anthem as much as I did, as well.