The Philadelphia Eagles have had the pleasure of facing Eli Manning 31 straight times when facing the New York Giants in the regular season, winning 21 of those contest. That is about to change though, as they will be facing impressive rookie quarterback Daniel Jones for the first time. I have to say I am pretty nervous about this game -- it has "trap game" written all over it.
His first season has been all over the place, but he has made some flashes of greatness to the point where he can be a problem for the Eagles on Sunday (and possibly for years to come). Here's a look at some of his highlights so far from this season:
Heading into Week 17, Jones has 2,726 passing yards with 23 touchdowns and 11 interceptions, putting his QB rating at 88.9. That QB rating is better than Carson Wentz's rookie year at 79.3 (and he is close behind Wentz's 2019 rating of 93.4).
The Giants have a little bit of the same predicament the Eagles have with their current wide receivers -- there is no star or big playmaker (although Darius Slayton has shown flashes). Just imagine what Jones' stats would be like if he had a #1 receiver to thrown at; that thought makes me a little nervous.
Being an Eagles fan means your suppose to hate the Giants no matter what; it gets encrypted in your brain from day one. However, I can't help but respect this rookie quarterback and see some potential in him. Maybe he will be a reason why the Eagles do not make it into the playoffs this season. If that ends up being the case, it could be something that adds some gas to this rivalry that has become one-sided since the mid 2000s. So the Eagles need to treat this game like they are underdogs once again, as it feels like they always play their best football when that chip is on their shoulder.
The Eagles' struggling secondary have to find an answer to shutting down Jones's right off the bat. The one plus side to Jones starting over Manning is that Jones (2.86 seconds/throw) holds onto the football a little bit longer than Manning (2.66 seconds/throw) does. That could allow the defensive line to have enough time to finish off a few sacks or even some strip sacks. Jones has thrown 11 interceptions and has fumbled the ball 16 times, so he certainly isn't immune to turnovers. The defensive line just needs to do its job and bully the Giants offensive line.
Ultimately this game can go either way. So if I were you, I would not overlook the Giants and think that making the playoffs is a guarantee.