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Eagles 2020 Opponent Preview: New York Giants

Bleeding Green Nation’s 2020 Philadelphia Eagles opponent preview series continues today with their Week 7 and 10 enemy: the New York Giants. (Previously: Week 6 preview.)

The Eagles moving ahead of the Giants in the all-time series between these two teams for the first time ever speaks to how bad New York has been for years now. The G-Men own losing record in six out of their last seven seasons; their overall record in that stretch is 42-71.

After striking out on their past two head coach hires in Ben McAdoo and Pat Shurmur, the Giants are hopefully they finally got things right with Joe Judge. And, hey, maybe they did? It’s hard to know exactly what to make of the former New England Patriots special teams coordinator/wide receivers coach. Judge is kind of a wild card, although he might easily just turn out to be another failed Bill Belichick disciple. He’s already brought some of Belichick’s gimmickry with him to the Giants.

Not unlike Ron Rivera and Mike McCarthy, Judge faces an uphill battle as he tries to implement a new culture and schematic system during a COVID shortened offseason. He’s potentially at even more of a disadvantage than the new bosses of the Washington Football Team and the Dallas Cowboys, too, since he’s a first-time head coach.

Judge’s most critical task obviously involves working with offensive coordinator Jason Garrett (!) to get the most out of the No. 6 overall pick from the 2019 NFL Draft: starting quarterback Daniel Jones. Truth be told, Jones showed some legitimate talent and promise as a rookie. But he’s really going to need to cut down on turnovers; 18 fumbles in 12 starts is just really bad. Ball security has been an issue for him dating back to his college days at Duke, too, so it’s not just like he was super unlucky last year.

Still, Jones inspires more hope than trotting out the corpse of Eli Manning for the fifth year in a row. And he has some pieces to work with. Saquon Barkley is arguably the NFL’s top running back. Darius Slayton showed big play ability as a rookie. Golden Tate can still produce out of the slot. Sterling Shepard is still around. Evan Engram can be a pass-catching weapon if healthy, which is never guaranteed. No one’s really shaking in their boots looking at this group but Jones should have enough to be able to show more in Year 2.

Of course, the Giants should very well know that skill players don’t matter much if the offensive line is garbage, as has often been the case for them. The Giants may have experienced addition by subtraction with a sieve like left tackle Nate Solder opting out of the 2020 season. He could be replaced by No. 4 overall pick Andrew Thomas, who was originally set to play on the opposite side. It remains to be seen who’ll start at right tackle but it could be Matt Peart, another rookie from this year’s draft class. That’d sure be a lot of inexperience upfront.

Defensively, the Giants haven’t fielded a good unit since obviously overachieving in 2016. The talent on that side of the ball just hasn’t been good. They’ve had some strong run defenders on the defensive line and that’s about it. Seriously, does anyone on the Giants’ defensive depth chart really concern you? New York is hoping that James Bradberry will be worth the big contract they handed out in free agency. He’s at least a starting quality cornerback but is he really much more than that?

The Giants might win more than the four games they won in 2019 but their ceiling is ultimately capped by Dave Gettleman’s buffoonery. For a guy with a supposed desire to build through the trenches, the Giants still aren’t that great there. Outside of Barkley, the roster lacks any kind of real star talent. And the coaching staff has a lot to prove. The realistic best case scenario for the 2020 Giants is a middling 8-8 season.

I don’t see why anyone would project the Eagles to lose to this team that they’ve defeated in 19 out of their last 23 meetings.

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Read on for more Giants insight from our SB Nation colleagues over at Big Blue View.

Notable free agency additions: CB James Bradberry, LB Blake Martinez, Edge Kyler Fackrell, RB Dion Lewis, QB Colt McCoy

Over/under 10 wins? Under. The Giants have won 9 games total the past two seasons. They are looking for improvement, but you have to walk before you can run.

Rookie I’m most excited about: I think that would be offensive tackle Andrew Thomas. The Giants did the right thing by selecting an offensive tackle No. 4 overall, and Thomas should be a good player for them for a long time.

Best position battle heading into training camp: There are several, but I think the one people are most curious about is center. Will veteran Spencer Pulley start? Would the Giants go with a young, unproven conversion player like Nick Gates or even rookie Shane Lemieux? It’s an interesting decision.

Biggest storyline heading into training camp: I think it really revolves around Joe Judge and his new staff. How will the 38-year-old first-time head coach get his team ready to play under the current circumstances? Is he up to the task? Can the young Giants, without a spring, be ready to play representative football whenever the season starts?

Under-the-radar storyline heading into training camp: Can Patrick Graham put together a viable defense? He only has one year of experience as a coordinator, and there are a lot of moving parts with new veterans and unproven young players.

Notable injuries heading into training camp: Linebacker Ryan Connelly is coming back from a torn ACL. Tight end Evan Engram is coming back from foot surgery. Those are the biggest ones at this point.

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