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3 keys for Saquon Barkley, Giants if they want to upset the Eagles in NFC playoff clash – Boston Herald



1. GET BARKLEY GOING

The best way to contain the Eagles’ high-powered offense is to keep them off the field. How do the Giants do that? Big Blue needs to run the ball effectively with Saquon Barkley, who has struggled recently against the Eagles.

In the only game he played against Philly this season, Barkley ran for 28 yards on nine carries. Barkley hasn’t rushed for over 100 yards against the Eagles since 2018 when he did it twice during his rookie year.

Establishing the ground game will not only help the Giants’ defense remain off the field, but it will also take pressure off Daniel Jones and the O-line. The Eagles’ defense led the league in sacks this season with 70.

2. PRESSURE HURTS

Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts had a terrific season and is a candidate for the MVP award. However, one weakness in his game is when opposing teams have brought pressure.

Giants defensive coordinator Wink Martindale is one of the most pressure-happy play callers in the business. According to NFL Next Gen Stats, Hurts completed 58% of his passes when defenses blitz him. That’s compared to his 70% mark when teams decide not to send pressure.

The Giants defense sends more blitzes than anyone in the NFL (44%), so expect Martindale to try and attack Hurts’ weaknesses.

3. PROTECT JONES

During the regular season, the Giants didn’t do a great job protecting Jones. Big Blue allowed 49 sacks, which was tied for the fifth most in the league.

Philadelphia had four players finish with at least 10 sacks, including Haason Reddick, who led the team with 16. Expect coach Brian Daboll to have a few tricks up his sleeve to try and negate the Eagles’ pass rush.

One way they could do that is to use Jones’ athleticism to their advantage. Calling read-option would be perfect for the Giants’ offense as it will force the defensive ends to choose whether to play Jones or Barkley on the run, and that will open up opportunities for potential big plays down the field.

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