The bad news: The New York Giants are 2-7 through nine weeks, with their only two wins coming against the lowly Washington Football Team. The good news: The Giants are about to play a mid-November game with honest-to-goodness playoff implications.
Big Blue will host the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday with first place in the NFC East still in hot contention. Philadelphia currently sits atop the division with a record of 3-4-1, so New York will have a chance to match them in the win column. The Eagles have a tie on their record, and have already had their bye, so they’d have to lose this week and then lose twice more to actually fall behind the Giants in the standings. Still, New York is still in close range of a playoff spot despite their awful season so far. This team has an opportunity they certainly don’t deserve. If they beat their divisional rivals for the first time in nine meetings Sunday, it’ll be one they can take.
This game could be an inflection point for the Giants’ season. Win, and they’re in the middle of a playoff chase entering their bye week. Lose, and they’re two and a half games back of first place with just six games remaining. If this team wants to give themselves something to play for down the stretch, they unequivocally need to win this game.
Latest Giants News
As far as the matchup itself, the Giants appear to be catching the Eagles at a rather inopportune time. Philadelphia is coming off their bye week, and are expecting a few important members of their offense to return from injury. Receiver Alshon Jeffery, running back Miles Sanders, and right tackle Lane Johnson are all on track to suit up Sunday. They should provide a big boost to an Eagles offense that currently ranks 27th in yards per game.
The Giants have most of their injuries on defense, and news on that front is a little less optimistic. There’s a chance rookie linebacker Tae Crowder could come back after missing three games. But safety Xavier McKinney, EDGE Oshane Ximines, and cornerback Ryan Lewis are more likely to return in Week 12 following the team’s bye week.
Here’s an overview of everything you need to know ahead of Sunday’s game, followed by a prediction for the final score.
Where and When
MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey on Sunday at 1:00 p.m. EST/10:00 a.m. PST
New York: S Xavier McKinney (Out), OLB Oshane Ximines (Out), CB Ryan Lewis (Out), WR Golden Tate (Questionable), TE Kaden Smith (Questionable), WR Sterling Shepard (Questionable), RB Devonta Freeman (Questionable)
Most Concerning Matchup: WR Jalen Reagor vs. CB Isaac Yiadom
Second-year sixth-round pick Travis Fulgham has somehow emerged as Carson Wentz‘s number-one target, so expect James Bradberry to cover him most of the game. That leaves Yiadom on the first-round rookie Reagor. New York has done a pretty good job limiting big plays this year, but Yiadom gave up a few to Washington last week. He’s been pressed into starting duty with Lewis’ injury, and is clearly the weak link in this Giants defense. Reagor was known for his explosive, down-the-field ability coming out of college, so Yiadom needs to ensure he doesn’t let the TCU product run past him. Preventing explosive plays is especially important in this game since the Eagles’ offense has struggled to sustain drives.
Most Promising Matchup: TE Evan Engram vs. SS Jalen Mills
For as much heat as Engram has taken this season, he’s started to come on recently. Over his last three games, he’s had at least five catches for 46, 61, and 48 yards respectively. He even caught a touchdown last week against Washington. Coordinator Jason Garrett has started to send Engram on deeper routes to capitalize on his speed and size. He has at least one infuriating dropped pass a game, but he’s still the one true mismatch creator at Daniel Jones‘ disposal.
Mills is in his first year playing safety after spending four NFL seasons at cornerback. The former LSU Tiger hasn’t taken too well to his new position, grading out at just 66.1 per Pro Football Focus. At 6’0, 191 pounds, he’ll be at a size disadvantage against the 6’3, 240-pound Engram. With underwhelming linebackers, the Eagles don’t have many other great options to cover Engram. The tight end could have a productive day up the seams and over the middle of the field.
Keys to Victory
The Giants would be thrilled to follow the same script from the Week 7 game between these teams, up until Philadelphia’s fourth-quarter comeback. Run the ball effectively, create at least one takeaway, and capitalize on redzone trips with touchdowns. The Eagles offense is more dangerous than the one they saw last, so they need to guard against the big play and hope the turnover-prone Wentz gives them the ball once or twice. This game will almost definitely be close, so Jones needs to play a clean game to avoid giving Philadelphia extra possessions.
Final Score Prediction: Eagles 27 – Giants 23
The Eagles outplayed the Giants back in Week 7, and nothing has changed since then except Philadelphia getting healthier. This New York offense can’t be realistically projected to exceed the low twenties in points. A recharged Eagles offense coming off a bye should find it’s way to the mid-to-high twenties. Ultimately, the Eagles are just a more talented team, and this game should cement their position as NFC East favorites.