Wentz, Eagles face growing pressure to produce as they visit Giants Sunday

Carson Wentz Eagles
Carson Wentz and the Eagles will look to extend their NFC East lead on Sunday against the Giants.
Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Brett Favre isn’t the only one questioning if the Philadelphia Eagles made the right decision moving on from Nick Foles to pave the way for franchise quarterback Carson Wentz.

That’s just the nature of sports, especially in Philadelphia, when a team is struggling to meet its true potential.

Favre on Tuesday maintained his view that the Eagles should’ve held on to Foles rather than see him walk in free agency to the Jacksonville Jaguars. Now leading the Chicago Bears, his team is in second place in the NFC North at 5-4.

It’s a game-and-a-half better than the Eagles, who are coming off a bye week to meet the New York Giants for the second time in three weeks on Sunday afternoon (1 p.m. ET, FOX).

The Eagles have the Giants to thank for keeping their advantage as top dog in the NFC East as large as it is. At 3-4-1, a Washington Football Team victory last week against New York would have seen Ron Rivera’s men pull within a half-game of first place in the division.

Instead, the Giants came away with yet another close victory over Washington, improving to 2-7 on the season while keeping the Football Team 1.5 games out of first.

At 2-7, the Giants shouldn’t pose much of a threat to the Eagles in Week 10 — but nothing is surefire in the NFC East, and Philadelphia has already had its fair share of difficulties with New York this year.

Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver DeSean Jackson (10) catches a New York Giants punted ball during the fourth quarter at Lincoln Financial Field. Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Just three weeks ago, the Eagles were staring down the barrel of their most embarrassing loss of the 2020 season, trailing the Giants by 11 points in the final minutes before a furious comeback saved their skins.

That’s been at the forefront of head coach Doug Pederson’s mind all week.

“Quite frankly they had us beat,” Pederson said. “It was 21-10 with under five minutes to go in this game. This a good football team and we’ve got to learn from that game.”

The Giants have continued to hang tough despite their poor record, taking the Tampa Bay Buccaneers down to the wire in a Week 8 loss before their victory over Washington. They’ve lost their last three games by a combined six points.

Philadelphia Eagles defensive end Vinny Curry (75) reacts to his fumble recovery with free safety Rodney McLeod (23) during the fourth quarter of a game against the New York Giants at Lincoln Financial Field. Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Their competitive showings have derived from a defense that has allowed an average of 21.5 points per game over their last four outings — keeping the turnover-prone Daniel Jones and the Giants’ inconsistent offense in things.

They’ll surely provide a challenge for Wentz, who was outdueled by Dallas Cowboys third-stringer, Ben DiNucci, on the stats sheet two weeks ago. At least he’ll be getting some marquee weapons back in the form of running back Miles Sanders and wide receiver Alshon Jeffery to provide some more options for the 27-year-old who is having a career-worst season.

He and Pederson will be looking to buck the trend of their post-bye-week blues, too. In the last four seasons, the Eagles are 1-3 coming out of the break, so seeing some misfirings or a slow start won’t be out of the realm of possibilities.

The pressure for a win, however, will be tangible. Should the Eagles lose, the Giants will remarkably be in the thick of the NFC East hunt with six games remaining. It will also amplify the doubts that Wentz truly is the quarterback to lead the Eagles.