Eagles-Giants just doesn’t have the juice it used to

Eagles-Giants was a pretty good rivalry back in the day. Buddy Ryan vs. Bill Parcells, Jon Runyan vs. Michael Strahan, Eli Manning’s intentional groundings not being called, Miracles at various Meadowlands. Now, I don’t know much.

The last time the Eagles and Giants both finished with a winning record was 2010, when the Eagles swept the Giants to edge them out for the division title on a tiebreaker, and the 2011 season was a three way “fight” to win the division with a 9-7 record. But since the downfall of the Andy Reid era neither team has really challenged the other, the two franchises haven’t been competitive at the same time. That’s mostly due to the Giants being terrible over the past decade, only two winning seasons since 2011.

This matchup just hasn’t had the juice for a while, and given the trajectory of both teams, it might be a while before it gets it again. The Giants could easily be going from a 6-1 start to missing the playoffs, and their player to build the franchise around is next year’s draft pick, if they’re lucky. And Brian Daboll and Nick Sirianni are friends, Daboll taking Sirianni under his wing when they were on the Chiefs staff in 2012 together. We can’t even get a coach spat out of this matchup.

Eagles-Cowboys will always have juice, and the Commanders find ways to make things interesting. The Giants on the other hand…

The Giants are bland

The Giants have given us some entertainment over the years. Tom Coughlin having his team stand on the Eagles logo during warm ups and then getting shut out. Ben McAdoo benching Eli Manning and then getting fired for it. Pat Shurmur existing. Joe Judge running a Nathan Fielder comedy operation. Dave Gettleman memes. But nothing continuous or that adds to the legend.

And now it seems they have adults running the team, GM Joe Schoen and head coach Brian Daboll have brought a sense of competence to the Giants. Competency is a big upgrade from taking a RB 2nd overall when teams were calling about trading up. Competency is a big upgrade from a coach who calls for a QB sneak on 3rd and 9 to set up a punt.

Competency is also another word for boring. The Giants are boring. Where is the fun in that? Now, don’t confuse being competent with being good. Despite a winning record-currently-the Giants are still a long way from good. This is a team that gave away James Bradberry for nothing. Which would be reasonable if they went with a burn-it-all-down youth movement, but they didn’t. They signed seven players who will end the season in their 30s, five of them are on one year deals, a sixth is their backup QB. The Eagles, a team trying to win, signed just one external 30+ free agent in the offseason, and he didn’t even make the team (Jaquiski Tartt).

For all the offseason talk about how brilliant a QB guru Brian Daboll is, which was laughable at the time (Andy Reid is the only actual QB guru, and Daboll’s resume prior to Josh Allen exploding in 2020 was indistinguishable from a run of the mill offensive coordinator) Daniel Jones is only marginally improved under Daboll, which can probably be entirely attributed to him throwing less than he ever has.

And in what could be a must win game against the Commanders last week… they tied. Tied! That’s the kind of hilarious incompetence we have come to expect. Maybe they’re not quite so bland after all?

Jalen Hurts’ Sweet 16s

There’s an old lawyer saying: If the facts are against you, argue the law. If the law is against you, argue the facts. If the law and the facts are against you, pound the table and yell like hell.

This works in sports, if you don’t have the eye test/tape or the numbers, just yell a lot. You can make a career out of it.

We know just how much Jalen Hurts has improved, we’ve got the eye test on our side and we’ve got the numbers on our side. Including the playoffs, Jalen Hurts has started 32 games. That nicely divides into 16 games. #math

In his first 16 starts Hurts attempted 496 passes, and in his last 16 he attempted an almost identical 498 passes. In his first 16 games he had a passer rating of 84.3, and completed 58.3% of his passes. In his last 16 games, he had a passer rating of 101.0, and completed 66.3% of his passes.

If those splits were a rookie last year (this is not to say that Hurts’s 2021 should have been treated as a rookie-like season, because it wasn’t), that player would have gone from 27th in passer rating last year to 7th this year, and from 31st in completion percentage to 12th. If that was a real player they’d be talked about like a Next Big Thing.

Which come to think of it is kind of how Jalen Hurts is being talked about.

The Executioners!

Building off a motivational and focusing tool that Nick Sirianni uses, the Eagles have made boxing as a theme for this season, treating every game like a different round. With Philadelphia’s rich history with boxing, it’s a great theme. I probably would have used it next year though, when the Super Bowl is in Vegas. Goal for next year: get Eagles fan Michael Buffer to introduce the team when they take the field at the Super Bowl.

Anyway, I have good and bad news for the Eagles and their boxing theme.

The good news is their 12 round scorecard is laughably absurd. I’ve got them winning 119-104, a dominating win, or a close Canelo fight. The Vikings, first Commanders game, and Steelers were 10-8 rounds, the Titans was a 10-7 12th round considering they fired their GM after it. If this were actually boxing, the ref would have stopped the fight, and I guess you could say the Titans threw in the towel.

The bad news is that the NFL season is 17+ games but title fights are 12 rounds. You have to go back to like the World War I era for fights that went so long. Round 20 will look kind of silly as a marketing graphic, but it’ll feel really good.

Stat of the Week That May Only Interest Me

Jalen Hurts and Miles Sanders both have 9 rushing TDs, which individually is more than two teams and combined is more than 20 teams… last season.

Top 5 Late Addition Eagles

Any list of best free agent signings for this season has to include James Bradberry, who was signed in May. The Eagles have had some excellent late additions over the years.

1. Merrill Reese

This one is sad, but we can’t leave Merrill out. Reese took over play by play duties in December of 1977 after Charlie Swift took his own life.

2. Reggie White

Moved from the USFL after the 1985 season had already started.

3. Norm Van Brocklin

Retired in January 1958, unretired in May 1959 to be traded to the Eagles.

4. Bill Bergey

Signed with the WFL in April of 1974 for the 1975 season, so the Bengals traded him to the Eagles in July. Of course he never played in the WFL.

5. Michael Vick

They announced the then-controversial signing the same day as a pre-season game in 2009.

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