Eagles

Huge defensive play early sparks Eagles' blowout win over Giants

Huge defensive play early sparks Eagles' blowout win over Giants

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — Heads I win, tails you lose. 

It seems like that’s how easy it’s been for the Eagles to win coin tosses this year. While they pulled their win-loss record to an even 3-3 with the big 34-13 win over the Giants, they remain undefeated in coin tosses. 

In all six games this season, the Eagles have won the opening coin toss. And in all six games, they have deferred to the second half. 

That paid off in a big way Thursday night. 

On the second snap of the night, the Eagles were in Cover 2, so Jordan Hicks expected Eli Manning to check the ball down in the middle of the field to Scott Simonson. He was right. 

“He’s been pretty consistent with that,” Hicks said. “I read it, jumped it.”

Hicks didn’t intercept the ball, but he did tip it to Kamu Grugier-Hill, who reeled it in his first career interception and then ran 24 yards to get the Eagles well into field goal range at the 16-yard line. 

“I thought he was going to get in the end zone,” Hicks said, breaking into a sheepish grin. “He’s not fast enough for that, though. He weighs 230 now, he’s not 220 anymore.”

No need to worry, though. The Eagles' offense punched in a touchdown three plays later on a beautiful pass from Carson Wentz across his body to Alshon Jeffery in the back of the end zone. 

The Eagles went up 7-0. They never trailed. And they went on to absolutely demolish the Giants in the first game of their NFC East schedule. 

It all got going with a big defensive play, the kind of defensive play the Eagles have been waiting to make on one of these opening drives. 

“Honestly, the hero on that play was Jordan,” Grugier-Hill said. “He had a great break. I was just standing there at the right place, right time. But to come out like that, that was a huge emphasis this week, starting fast. Just getting back to being us was a big emphasis.” 

Here’s how their previous defensive first drives have gone after winning the toss and deferring: 

Game 1: Gave up 74 yards to the Falcons but got a 4th-down stand at the goal line

Game 2: Gave up a 75-yard touchdown to DeSean Jackson

Game 3: Forced a 3-and-out against the Colts 

Game 4: Gave up 51 yards and a 42-yard FG to the Titans 

Game 5: Gave up 65 yards, but the Vikings missed a 28-yard FG

Game 6: Gave up eight yards to the Giants before the INT 

In the Eagles’ three wins this season, they haven’t given up points on the first drive of the game. 

But, obviously, giving their own offense the ball inside the red zone as they did Thursday night is nearly the best possible outcome. 

“It was great,” Fletcher Cox said. “To get that interception early in the game kind of set the pace. Offense went down and they took care of business.” 

Grugier-Hill didn’t make it to the end zone, but he was still pretty thrilled to get his first career interception. He made sure he kept the ball and said he’ll probably display it somewhere in his house. 

Maybe it’ll be a reminder of the moment the Eagles began to turn their 2018 season around. 

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Eagles Injury Update: Latest on Derek Barnett, Nelson Agholor, Jordan Howard

Eagles Injury Update: Latest on Derek Barnett, Nelson Agholor, Jordan Howard

Derek Barnett and Nelson Agholor will likely be game-time decisions for Monday Night Football, Eagles head coach Doug Pederson said on Saturday morning. 

Barnett (ankle) and Agholor (knee) both missed all three days of practice this week. 

Meanwhile, linebacker Kamu Grugier-Hill is still in the NFL’s concussion protocol. He was just placed in protocol on Thursday, so he’s going to miss the Giants game. 

And Jordan Howard (shoulder) has still not been cleared for contact; he can’t play until he is and that’s not happening before Monday. So he’s going to miss his fourth straight game. 

Lane Johnson also missed practice on Friday and Saturday for a non-injury reason but is expected to play on Monday. 

If Agholor is unable to play, the Eagles would be left with just three healthy receivers on the roster: Alshon Jeffery, JJ Arcega-Whiteside and Greg Ward. 

“We’re very comfortable, obviously, with the guys we have,” Pederson said. “So if it’s three, it’s three. We brought up [Josh Perkins] a week ago to help us there, so it’s an addition there. We go and we go play. We’ll discuss those over the next couple of days leading up to the game. If we have to make a decision we will. We feel good with the guys we have in that receiver role.” 

If the Eagles do decide to make a roster move, they have three wide receivers on their practice squad: Robert Davis, Marcus Green and Marken Michel. 

While Agholor had his knee injury before last week’s game, Barnett got hurt during the loss in Miami, but was still able to play through the injury and play 50 snaps. Barnett has played the third-most defensive snaps on the team this year, so losing him for this game wouldn’t be insignificant. 

If Barnett can’t play, expect Josh Sweat and Vinny Curry to get more reps. After that, Genard Avery, Daeshon Hall and even Shareef Miller could see a few snaps. 

For the Giants: 

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Eagles vs. Giants 2019: TV schedule, storylines, game time and more

Eagles vs. Giants 2019: TV schedule, storylines, game time and more

The Eagles (5-7) are hosting the New York Giants (2-10) at Lincoln Financial Field on Monday night. 

Here’s everything you need to know: 

• 6:30 p.m.: Eagles Pregame Live on NBCSP 
• 8:15 p.m.: Eagles vs. Giants on ESPN 
• 11:30 p.m.: Eagles Postgame Live on NBCSP 
• 1 a.m.: Birds Outsiders on NBCSP 

The ESPN broadcast crew for this game is Joe Tessitore (play by play), Booger McFarland (analyst) and Lisa Salters (sideline). 

Merrill Reese, Mike Quick and Howard Eskin will have the call on 94WIP. 

The Eagles opened as 8.5-9.5 favorites over the Giants. They were 7.5-point favorites on the road last week against the Dolphins and lost. 

The referee for Eagles-Giants is Scott Novak. For the second straight week, the Eagles have pulled a first-year ref. Novak had been a side or field judge since 2014. He was the ref for the Eagles’ loss to the Vikings in Minnesota earlier this season. In that game, the Vikings were penalized four times for 30 yards, while the Eagles were penalized seven times for 49 yards. 

So you're telling me there's a chance 

No one wants to win the NFC East. With a win on Monday night, the Eagles can tie the Cowboys (6-7) for a lead in the division. According to FiveThirtyEight, if the Eagles beat the Giants, their chances to win the division would be at 47 percent. In any other season, they’d be completely out of contention but the NFC East is awful this year and it’s still wide open. 

Hello, old friend 

Rookie Daniel Jones has a high ankle sprain, so it looks like Eli Manning is going to start this game for the Giants. It’ll be his first start since he was benched early this season. The Giants’ offense will obviously change with Manning under center. We know he isn’t going to run or hold onto the ball. He’s going to get it out quickly. 

By the way, Manning’s career record right now is 116-116. 

Recent domination 

The Eagles haven’t lost to the Giants since Week 9 of the 2016 season, which means they’ve won five straight against the G-men. The Eagles are 9-1 in their last 10 games against the Giants and are 16-4 in their last 20 against them. This has been a very lopsided rivalry for a decade. 

But it is worth noting that four of those last five wins against the Giants have come by one score. Just one was a blowout. 

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