In Week 6, the New York Giants fell to the Philadelphia Eagles at MetLife Stadium in what has been their worst defeat of the season and only their second by more than a touchdown.
Since then, the Giants went into their bye week and seemingly came out a different team. They’ve gone 2-0 over the previous two weeks, putting up 65 total points and leading some to believe that a miracle turnaround is entirely possible.
Although he stopped short of suggesting that, Eagles defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz does recognizes the differences between the Giants team he saw previously and the one he’ll see on Sunday.
“Since we played them last, they had a bye and they’ve come back with a couple wins,” Schwartz said via NJ Advance Media. “They’re leaning more — and we probably opened this box — but leaning more on Barkley. Not only catching the ball, which he was early on in the season, but running the ball and really pounding it on inside runs.”
Barkley and the Giants have focused more heavily on getting “dirty yards” offensively, which has transformed the rookie running back from elite talent into, well. . . whatever comes after that.
But it’s not just Barkley that Schwartz has keyed in on. Despite a decreased offensive role, tight end Evan Engram has been coming up with some big plays in recent weeks, and that has helped make the Giants offense much more dynamic — especially when teamed with Barkley.
“They got Engram back, but even getting him back they still have a lot of two-back sets, two-tight-end sets, and tried to be a little bit more of a power running team,” Schwartz said.
Schwartz said he expects the Giants to pound Barkley on Sunday and challenge the Eagles’ poor tackling, which is something that has doomed them in recent weeks alongside an under-performing offense. And until Philadelphia proves they can handle that sort of attack, it’s exactly what the Giants and Barkley should do.