Eagles get past Huff to face Giants
Distractions off the field don’t bother the Eagles.
Division and road games do.
If the Eagles want to jump back into the NFC East race, they must make peace with their divisional ineptitude Sunday against New York Giants at MetLife Stadium (1 p.m., Channel 29, WIP 94.1-FM).
The Eagles (4-3) are the only winless team in the division, having lost to the Redskins and the Cowboys. They’re also just 1-3 on the road. The Giants (4-3) are 1-2 in the division and 2-1 at MetLife this season.
“We need to win this game,” defensive tackle Fletcher Cox said. “I think we have to win this game. And we’ve got to set the tempo. We’ve got to come out fast. We’ve got to start early. We’ve got to come out with more energy. Our first two division games have been on the road. I think three or four of the last five games were on the road. I’m not doing the math but we’ve been on the road a lot. We’ve got to win. We’ve got to get a win on the road.”
The Eagles have beaten the Giants in four straight games, including three at MetLife.
The Josh Huff melodrama certainly hasn’t helped the Eagles focus on Eli Manning, Odell Beckham Jr. and the Giants. Huff created a furor Tuesday when he was arrested and charged with unlawful possession of a firearm, hollow point bullets and a small amount of marijuana. Public outrage became full-blown Wednesday when the Eagles indicated Huff would remain on the team and play Sunday.
Day Three of the Huff saga was Thursday, when he was released. It put the Eagles on the spot for intimating the previous day they would let the legal process play out before disciplining him. Management also was accused of playing favorites, as linebacker Nigel Bradham is facing legal charges yet remains a part of the team.
Distraction or not, it got the players’ attention according to Cox, who usually is the quiet man in the locker room, at least when he’s not kidding around. Cox isn’t so sure the Huff matter hasn’t interrupted preparations for the Giants, who are coming back from their bye week.
“It depends,” Cox said. “The whole Josh situation is one of those decision-making things where it just was a bad decision. I mean, Josh was a good person. It was really surprising to see him get released. But you’ve all got to understand that this is just the business part of this thing and you don’t want to get the organization tied up in any type of distractions like that.”
All of that said, the Eagles and Carson Wentz need to prove they can win a close game. All of their losses are by seven or fewer points, the latest a 29-23 decision to the Cowboys in overtime.
In each of the setbacks the Eagles have had the ball late in the game with the opportunity to go ahead or put the game away. Rookie quarterback jitters? “I don’t think anything specific is happening,” Wentz said. “We’re just not executing. I think it’s plain and simple. But like I said, it is frustrating as an offense to have chances … to win at the end, and not come through. We’re looking forward to bouncing back.”
The Giants, these days, aren’t exactly the Big Blue Wrecking Crew defensively. They’re allowing 361 yards per game, or 16 more than Eli Manning and the offense are collecting.
On the other hand, the Giants are averaging just 19 points, a tribute of sorts to the defense.
The Eagles have been cautioned that the Giants have spent a chunk of time working on their anemic run game. The offensive linemen should be well rested.
Run the ball, control the clock.
Control the clock, control the game.