- Phil Sheridan, ESPN Staff Writer
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PHILADELPHIA -- As bad as things went for Custer at the Little Bighorn, at least he didn’t have to watch film and explain it to a bunch of reporters afterward.
The Eagles have the worst defense in the NFL, if you go by yardage allowed.
The Eagles have the second worst defense in the NFL, if you go by points allowed per game.
The Eagles aren’t very good on defense, if you go by what your eyes tell you every week.
Two days after Peyton Manning toyed with his players and his scheme in a 52-20 rout in Denver, Eagles defensive coordinator Bill Davis held the press conference Custer was spared. It probably wasn’t any more fun than watching the game tape.
“We took a whupping,” Davis said. “That’s what happened. We did not play good enough to win, obviously. Those games are tough to swallow, but you move on from them.”
The schedule doesn’t offer any alternatives. Manning could have put 100 on the scoreboard and the Eagles still would have to be on the field at MetLife Stadium this Sunday at 1 p.m. ET. There is nothing to do but regroup, learn from mistakes and try to be better against that other Manning brother.
“He isn’t doing what his brother is,” Eagles outside linebacker Connor Barwin said. “I can say that much.”
Barwin wasn’t being critical of Giants quarterback Eli Manning. It’s just that no one in the NFL, now or possibly ever, has played the position as brilliantly as Peyton is playing it right now. Eli Manning is having a difficult season by any measure. His offensive line is banged up, his running game is in shambles and he lacks the versatile array of targets his brother has been working with.
Eli Manning has thrown nine interceptions, which is exactly nine more than his brother. For an Eagles team that hasn’t picked off a pass in three weeks, that represents a glimmer of hope.
Peyton M. is almost perfect this year. Eli M. is far from it.
The question becomes which imperfect entity is able to muster a competent performance Sunday. To the Eagles, the Giants represent an easier riddle to solve than the Broncos or Chiefs. To the Giants, the Eagles represent a similar opportunity to reverse their fortunes this season.
It must be said, history favors Eli Manning and the Giants. They have made their share of history by winning two Super Bowls. The Eagles defense is on pace to make a different kind of history: the most yards allowed in the history of the league.
“We are not what we want to be,” Davis said. “But believe it or not -- I know the results are not there, but ... I’ve watched the game probably 10 times now on tape (and) it is moving forward. The results did not show in that game, obviously, so I’m asking you to trust me even though there are not the results. It will turn.”
As Davis said in Denver, there is only way for this defense to go. It has to get better than it was Sunday. But it’s asking a lot to get better enough in one week to beat another Manning.