The Giants are 3-7, but the Eagles are the team in turmoil entering Sunday’s showdown — the one beset by injuries, coming off a blowout loss and facing questions about its franchise quarterback.
The honeymoon in Philadelphia hasn’t lasted very long following the franchise’s first Super Bowl title last season.
Coach Doug Pederson seemed to suggest quarterback Carson Wentz was pressing in Sunday’s ugly 48-7 loss to the Saints, when he said quarterbacks can “begin to try to do things a little uncharacteristic of what they’ve done in the past” when the results aren’t there.
Coming off the throttling at the hands of the Saints, safety Malcolm Jenkins questioned some of his teammates, saying, “the demeanor of the team really bothered me” and that he “didn’t feel like as a team we had a lot of fight.”
“I talk about ownership quite a bit, and I think some of his comments are directed toward him,” Pederson said Wednesday of Jenkins. “He’ll own that. And I think it kind of sends a message a little bit to everybody. We’re all held to a higher standard, and it starts with me. I don’t think he is addressing it to one particular person. I think it’s a whole, it’s a group, and we all need to kind of step our game up.”
Since manhandling the Giants in Week 6 to even their record at 3-3, the Eagles have struggled, losing three of their past four games.
Wentz, a Pro-Bowler a year ago who missed the postseason after tearing his left ACL, hasn’t been the same player. He has been intercepted six times and lost five fumbles. Since throwing for three touchdowns against the Giants, Wentz has tossed just seven TD passes against five interceptions over the past month. Against the Saints, Wentz was intercepted three times and completed 19 of 33 passes for 156 yards. Wentz was intercepted three times and completed 19 of 33 passes for 156 yards.
“I didn’t feel like I was pressing,” Wentz told reporters. “I know late in the game when we were down by what we were, we are just trying to make plays, trying to put up points. You can call that pressing, but really we are just trying to make plays, trying to fight. That led to a couple of turnovers.”
“Those are things you have to clean up, be smart about when you force those. But I never felt like I was pressing in the game.”
To compound matters, the Eagles’ secondary has been hit hard by injuries. Starting safety Rodney McLeod and cornerback Ronald Darby have been lost for the season, and cornerbacks Rasul Douglas, Sidney Jones, Jalen Mills and Avonte Maddox are battling injuries as well. None of them practiced Wednesday. It isn’t a coincidence the Eagles’ pass defense is ranked 25th in the league.
“The season,” Pederson said, “has not gone the way we anticipated coming out of training camp.”