The Philadelphia Eagles, lead by rookie phenom quarterback Carson Wentz, will travel northbound on the New Jersey Turnpike to MetLife Stadium, home of quarterback Eli Manning’s New York Giants. Sunday, November 6, 2016, will showcase a gritty clash of clans, as both teams are 4-3 entering week 9. Currently, the Giants have the upper hand, as they are the only team in the NFL to have handed the Dallas Cowboys (the NFC East leader) a loss. The Giants are 3-3 in the conference whereas the Eagles are 2-3.
I was able to talk with Giants linebacker Devon Kennard at the Yogi Berra Museum and Learning Center on Wednesday, November 2, 2016. While our conversation focused on the NFC East battle and Sunday’s matchup against the Eagles, the Giants division rival, we also discussed: his family’s allegiance to the Giants with his father as a Super Bowl winning Dallas Cowboy, jersey swaps, and the NFL’s international series. Kennard also participated in my lightning round – click above to get to know him better!
Did Kennard watch Week 8’s Sunday Night Football matchup between the Dallas Cowboys and the Philadelphia Eagles?
“Yeah. I got to watch the first half, then I went to bed – I was surprised that when I woke up, that [the Eagles] ended up losing. The last I saw it was 20-10 and they were looking like they were clicking on all cylinders. It seems like they have a really good defense. Being a defensive player, I know our defense has to play better than they do [on Sunday]”.
How does the Giants defense plan to contain Carson Wentz?
“He actually does a really good job of just monitoring the game, so it actually starts with stopping the run. If we make him one-dimensional, he’s still a rookie quarterback. He has shown great ability, but their cornerstone is being able to run the ball and their pass game [develops] off of that. So, if we can make them one-dimensional, I think it’s going to put us in good shape.”
But what about the fact that Eagles running back Darren Sproles averages 5 yards per carry. Is there a greater responsibility from the Front 4?
“Oh yeah, absolutely, and it comes with the linebackers too. Their schemes and what they do is really huge and when you have running backs like Ryan Matthews and Darren Sproles, it makes it easy. We got our hands full, but we’ve been playing the run better and better and it really has to show up this week.”
Do the Giants, coming off a bye week, have an advantage over the Eagles, losing in overtime late Sunday night?
“I dont know if its an advantage … we definitely got an extra day to prepare and its a team we are comfortable with because we have to play them every year. So, we know what to expect to some degree with their personnel and who they have. It’s going to be a grudge match. It’s going to be physical.”
What is the impact of the outcome of Sunday’s game on the NFC East?
“I think it’s huge. It puts us in the exact position we want to be in moving forward and if we can get this win, I think it just propels us into a good situation going into the rest of the season.
Does he stand by Manning’s 2016 playoff proclamation?
“Absolutely. We are 4-3 right now and it just depends on what we do these next 9 weeks. I think the guys are focused and if we can get this big win, we always say that the divisional games count as 2. So you know if we get this win, it counts as 2 and it starts there.”
For more of my in-depth coverage on the Week 9 battle between the Giants and Eagles, visit my article on BackSportsPage.com.