The Eagles were depleted and missing most of their starters on offense. And they had a huge opportunity to turn things around with just one win, over the terrible Giants.
No, we don’t mean this coming Thursday night’s game against New York. We mean the Eagles playoff-clinching win over the Giants in Week 17 of last season.
Okay, maybe we are talking about their coming game too.
It’s kind of eerie to think about the similarities between the upcoming Week 7 NFC East divisional game and the one the Eagles won 10 months ago in Week 17 (to earn a division title). In both games, the Eagles had an absurd stockpile of injuries on the offensive side of the ball with Carson Wentz one of a very few constants. In each, a decimated offensive line put even more pressure on Wentz and a practice squad group of wide receivers and tight ends were his only outlet.
The Eagles are hoping to make history repeat on Thursday night. Back in 2019, the Eagles needed to run the table to win the division and they did just that. The pressure is not quite as sky high as we are only in Week 7, but the Birds have an opportunity to get into first place in the lackluster NFC East and “run the table” in their own way, with three straight divisional games ahead.
So which group of offensive starters was more obscure and scrappy?
Eagles vs. Giants, Week 7 2020 (Projected)
(Starters in bold; Players who led their position in snaps in both games are in red)
If Johnson can go Thursday night — a big if — the Eagles will be taking the field with just three players they expected to have on the field when the season began. Their wide receiving corps only contains some household names because of three fantastic starts by Fulgham, who was not on the Eagles 53-man roster when the season began, and because of the futility of former third-round pick JJAW, who has not yet shown to have been worthy of his draft choice (frustratingly ahead of players like D.K. Metcalf).
Philly is favored currently by 4.5 points, according to TheLines.com’s consensus odds. Last season in Week 17, the Eagles were exactly 4.5 favorites a few days before the game kicked off as well. Here’s the lineup that took the field on that Sunday…
Eagles vs. Giants, Week 17 2019 (most snaps)
*Starting RG Brandon Brooks was carted off the field with an injury after playing 39 of 74 snaps. Mile Sanders exited after nine carries and 23 snaps and did not return.
They were — at least by 2020 standards — reasonably healthy heading into the division clinching victory, but with the injuries to arguably two of their best offensive players in Brooks and Sanders, they limped to the finish line with just four of 11 starters finishing the game (more than Philly will have for Week 7 of this year).
Zach Ertz lacerated his kidney before the game, Lane Johnson had a high ankle sprain and Nelson Agholor was unable to dress for the game as well. Those, paired with more lengthy injuries to the wide receiving corps (some of which still linger to today), made for a makeshift offense.
In the game, the Eagles took the lead early and did not relinquish it, winning convincingly, 34-17. Scott was the star, coming off the bench to score three rushing touchdowns and catch four passes for 84 yards. Sidney Jones had an interception and Malcolm Jenkins and Rodney McLeod each forced fumbles while Derek Barnett had a pair of sacks.
Here’s what our own Jimmy Kempski wrote in his 10 Awards after the Eagles win last year:
The Eagles’ 2019 regular season was never pretty, and their divisional championship was aided in large part to playing in an absolutely dreadful NFC East, in which Washington and the Giants were bottom five NFL teams, and the Cowboys woefully underachieved.
Still, the Eagles had to win their final four games to get in, and that they did, despite dealing with an absurd number of injuries…
Boy that sounds familiar.
Who will be the hero in Week 7? Will the defense — which was similarly healthy last year, especially in comparison to the offense — step up and make plays?
Eagles fans can only hope the four players on offense, yes, there are only four (highlighted in red) who finished the game healthy in 2019, will draw upon the grittiness that earned them an improbable playoff spot a year ago to once again embarrass the lowly Giants.
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