I bet you wouldn’t have guessed that. But it’s true. See? I even made a graph:
|Eagles||Week 11, 2011||17||29||1.7||L 17-10|
|Eagles||Week 11, 2010||19||61||3.2||L 27-17|
I have been watching tape of the last 4 Eagles-Giants games recently, and it really stood out how bad the Giants offense looked in the two games they couldn’t run the ball against Philly. Can’t run the ball? Gotta pass. And if the Eagles know you’re going to pass, that’s when that Philly pass rush becomes very scary. So it should stand to reason that the Eagles probably got a lot of pressure on Eli Manning in those two games, knowing that they had taken away the run, right? You bet. According to PFF, he was pressured 24 times in the 2011 game by Philly. Only the Niners had more (27) against the Giants in the NFC Championship Game. In 2010, the Eagles pressured Eli 19 times. Only the Texans had more pressures that season (20).
The Giants made a concerted effort to bolster the running game this offseason. They signed TE Martellus Bennett, a player that is basically useless in the passing game, but is an effective blocker. Then they drafted a shiny new RB in David Wilson in the first round, drafted another blocking TE in the 4th, and added a couple of offensive tackles in the 4th and 6th rounds.
The Giants were dead last in the NFL in rushing yards, yards per carry, and rushes of over 20+ and 40+ yards last season. That’s reason enough to want to bolster your run game, but I have to wonder if those two games against Philly gave a little extra motivation.