Chip Kelly's new up-tempo offense made quite a first impression on the Giants.
On Oct. 6, the Eagles racked up 439 yards and 28 first downs -- both season highs against the Giants -- and scored points on eight of their 14 possessions in a 36-21 victory. But that offense, which has become a curiosity in the NFL, will be lacking one of its most significant features when the two teams meet again Sunday at Lincoln Financial Field:
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The element of surprise.
The Giants are the first NFL team to get a second look at the Eagles' system. That's something no college team had at its disposal when Kelly was flattening Oregon opponents like a high-speed steamroller.
The Big Blue defense, which hasn't allowed a touchdown in the last six quarters, believes that firsthand familiarity with the pace of play as well as the tricks that advance the speed of snaps will be a key to beating the Eagles.
"It is completely different from what you see on film when you're out there," defensive tackle and former Eagle Mike Patterson said of his first experience against the new-look offense. "It seems like they're just going, just going, just going . . . That's the good thing about it, we've seen it already and we know what to expect of it."
"It is as advertised," Antrel Rolle said, "a high-speed offense, an offense that can do a million different things and has a lot of different threats. Philly has a good offense. We understand, having played them just a couple of weeks ago, what to expect and ways to help better our defense. It definitely does help."
Even when the Giants saw the offense the first time, coach Tom Coughlin said he thought the players handled it well. While some of the previously noted numbers seem alarming, the Giants did hold the Eagles to five field goals, and two of the three touchdown drives were off fourth-quarter turnovers and covered 25 and 38 yards.
Oh, and they held the NFL's leading rusher, LeSean McCoy, to 46 yards on 20 carries.
"You knew that was coming, so it wasn't any surprise," Coughlin said of anticipating the pace of Kelly's offense. "We were able to keep up with the tempo of the game."
"Having played them once helps you as far as tempo is concerned," defensive coordinator Perry Fewell said. "You know what to expect with the fast-paced offense and how they operate a little bit."
The Giants might not be the only ones who have figured out the Eagles. Philadelphia is coming off its worst outing of the season, having posted a season-low 278 yards -- the first time the Eagles finished with fewer than 400 -- in a 17-3 loss to the Cowboys last week. The Eagles punted on nine of their first 10 possessions in that game.
Was that just an off day in which starting quarterback Nick Foles was playing injured and eventually left the game with a concussion? Or was it the first sign that NFL coordinators have figured out a way to crack the Kelly code, that they are close to dismissing his system as more of a gimmick than a game-changer?
Kelly, with Michael Vick expected to be at quarterback, thinks his plan is still a go and has no inclination to abandon it against the Giants. Even if it's something they already have seen up close. "We'll go do what we do and they're going to do what they do," he said, "and we're going to see who has the best team at the end of the day on Sunday."
Notes & quotes: Cornerback Jayron Hosley (hamstring) and defensive tackle Shaun Rogers (knee) are both out. Running back Brandon Jacobs (hamstring) is doubtful.