Takeaways from Eagles versus Giants as Week 15 looms

A.J. Brown, Philadelphia Eagles (Mandatory Credit: Imagn Images photo pool)
A.J. Brown, Philadelphia Eagles (Mandatory Credit: Imagn Images photo pool) /

The Philadelphia Eagles took the field in Week 14 and a rout unfolded. Sunday’s game versus the New York Giants at MetLife Stadium began with Philly jumping out to a 21-0 lead. It ended with a 48-22 final score. The game wasn’t even as close as the lopsided score indicates.

All three phases (offense, defense, and special teams) dominated, minus the blocked point of course. The Eagles can take a few more moments to celebrate the huge win, but they need to get focused on the trip to Chicago for Week 15. With that being said, let’s relive the rainy afternoon in New Jersey and take one final look at Week 14 before moving on.

Jalen Hurts continues his MVP campaign.

Quarterback Jalen Hurts has taken his game to a higher level than what any Eagles fan could have hoped for in 2022. He was once again impressive in the win over the Giants.

He finished the game with 21 completions on 31 attempts, 217 yards passing, and two touchdown tosses. He did most of the damage through the air in the first half before the Eagles focused on their running game after halftime. Hurts contributed 77 rushing yards and a rushing touchdown with his legs. He’s now on the shortlist of MVP candidates and should be the favorite for the award.

He has led his team to 12 wins so far and has 3,157 passing yards, 22 touchdown passes, and just three interceptions. Kansas City’s Patrick Mahomes and Buffalo’s Josh Allen have thrown 11 interceptions each. Jalen Hurts also has 686 rushing yards and ten rushing touchdowns. He is statistically the best dual-threat quarterback in the NFL this season.

The defense dominates again.

Philly’s defense seemed to lose a step midseason, but Jonathan Gannon’s unit is shutting down opposing offenses at the right time. New York’s starters were only able to manufacture 14 points with one of their touchdowns being aided by a short field that resulted from the aforementioned blocked punt.

Giants quarterback Daniel Jones completed 18 of 27 passes for just 169 yards and a touchdown. The Eagles held running back Saquan Barkley to nine attempts and 28 yards rushing (3.1 yards per carry). Philadelphia also had one takeaway, which came on a fumble recovery. The Eagles’ offense stole the show on Sunday, but the defensive effort should not go unnoticed.

Is the special teams unit suddenly a strength?

A couple of weeks ago, the Eagles’ special team unit looked like the weakest link on the otherwise balanced football team. The kickoff coverage kept the Green Bay Packers in the game by allowing multiple long returns. The short fields prevented the Eagles from pulling away until the end, but since that moment, Philly’s special teams unit has performed much better.

In Week 14 versus the Giants, Michael Clay’s unit played exceptionally well. Punt returner Britain Covey gained 29 yards on four returns. That includes a long of 16. Boston Scott produced a 66-yard kickoff return to bring the Eagles into field goal range late in the second quarter. That one immediately followed the Giants’ first score of the game.

Scott racked up 117 yards on three returns. Meanwhile, the Eagles allowed just 19.3 yards on three kickoff returns by the G-Men.

Eagles kicker Jake Elliott was two for two on field goals and a perfect six of six on extra-point attempts. The lone mistake was Elerson Smith’s block of an Arryn Siposs punt deep in Eagles territory. That one proved to be costly.

Siposs caught the bouncing ball and came close to advancing it for first-down yardage. Unfortunately, he was injured during the play and did not return. We aren’t doctors, but by the looks of things, Philly may need to find a punter this week.

There are several injury concerns for the Eagles.

Getting the win on Sunday was huge for the Eagles, but it came at a cost. In addition to losing Siposs, offensive tackle Lane Johnson left during the fourth quarter with an abdomen injury and did not return. Rookie safety Reed Blankenship left the game in the second quarter with a leg injury. He was walked to the sideline before getting carted off the field. Linebacker/special teamer Kyron Johnson was ruled out with a shoulder injury.

Blankenship has done an outstanding job filling in for C.J. Gardner-Johnson, the latter being sidelined with a lacerated kidney. We’ve received updates on Reed, Arryn, and Lane. The extent of Kyron Johnson’s injury isn’t known. Hopefully, the Eagles get some good news and it comes shortly. Otherwise, it’s time to employ the next-man-up mentality again.

The Eagles are officially in the playoffs.

The win on Sunday improved the Eagles’ record to 12-1, officially guaranteeing them a playoff spot. Philadelphia is the first team in the NFL to clinch this season, but their goals don’t end there. They hope to clinch the number one seed, earn a first-round bye, and hoist the Vince Lombardi Trophy at the end of pro football’s final game in February.

The Minnesota Vikings lost on Sunday to the Detroit Lions and have fallen to 10-3 on the season. That gives the Eagles a two-game lead in the NFC’s standings. They also own a tie-breaker thanks to their head-to-head win over the Vikes in Week 2.

Dallas narrowly edged the Houston Texans to stay two games behind the Eagles. The Christmas Eve matchup takes on added significance. Fortunately for the Eagles, that one isn’t necessarily a must-win as they have only tallied one loss all season and figure to close the campaign with an impressive stretch as well. In other words, don’t expect them to lose too many more times.

Hot. T.J. Edwards lands on PFF’s All-Pro Team. light