10 things to watch for vs. Eagles

Posted Dec 16, 2017

Ten storylines to follow as the Giants prepare for Week 15 against the Eagles:


The New York Giants and Philadelphia Eagles last met in Week 3 at Lincoln Financial Field, where Jake Elliott kicked a 61-yard field goal as time expired to defeat Big Blue. After that, Philadelphia went on a nine-game winning streak and is currently tied for the best record (11-2) in the NFL. The Giants, on the other hand, are 2-11 and gearing up for a pivotal offseason, which will include a high draft pick and finding a new general manager and head coach.

Historically, the Giants hold a slight advantage in the all-time series against the Eagles, 83-80-2, in the regular season. The rivals have split, 2-2, in the postseason. Big Blue won last year’s meeting in MetLife Stadium, 28-23, behind four touchdown passes by Eli Manning.


The Eagles, who have already locked up the NFC East, can clinch home-field advantage throughout the NFC playoffs with a win and a Vikings loss in Week 15. They can also guarantee a first-round bye simply with a win, but they will try to do so without MVP candidate Carson Wentz, who last week suffered a torn left ACL against the Rams.

Wentz leaves behind an offense ranked first in several categories, including scoring (31.1 points per game), touchdown passes (33), red-zone touchdown efficiency (67.4 percent), plays of 10+ yards (204), time of possession (33:35) and scoring differential (+154).


With the Eagles trailing, 35-31, in the fourth quarter against the Rams, Nick Foles entered the game following the injury to Wentz and led the offense on back-to-back field goal drives to give Philadelphia a 37-35 lead with less than four minutes remaining in regulation. Philadelphia went on to win, 43-35, and captured its first division title since 2013.

Foles, who will start in place of Wentz for the remainder of the year, boasts a 94.1 passer rating with Philadelphia, which ranks first all-time in franchise history (minimum 500 attempts). Foles is 20-16 overall as a starter in the regular season, including 1-0 against the Giants.


Out: S Nat Berhe (hamstring)
Doubtful: S Landon Collins (ankle)
Questionable: CB Brandon Dixon (heel/hamstring), WR Roger Lewis (ankle), WR Travis Rudolph (hamstring)

*After traveling to Los Angeles to receive a second opinion, offensive lineman Justin Pugh was placed on injured reserve due to a back injury that caused him to miss the last four and five of the previous six games. Surgery will not be required – just rest and rehabilitation.


Questionable: G Stefen Wisniewski (ankle)


One of the Steve Spagnuolo’s first decisions as interim head coach last week was returning Manning to the starting lineup after his consecutive starts streak ended in Oakland, where Geno Smith got the nod. This week, Spagnuolo is sticking with him   “Well, right now I’m talking about I’m on the week-by-week and let’s win the next game,” Spagnuolo said. “To beat the Philadelphia Eagles right now, Eli Manning is the starting quarterback and I don’t feel that changing, but I don’t know what next week is going to bring.”


The Giants have a new captain on defense. Spagnuolo bestowed the honor upon defensive tackle Damon Harrison, replacing linebacker Jonathan Casillas, who was placed on injured reserve earlier this month. Harrison currently has 64 total tackles, which leads all NFL defensive linemen, just as he did in 2016 when he was named first-team All-Pro.


The newly-appointed captain will have his hands full on Sunday against the No. 2 rushing offense in the NFL, which boasts four players with at least 290 yards on the ground (Wentz is one of them). Philadelphia’s running back committee is led by touchdown machine LeGarrette Blount. The Eagles acquired Jay Ajayi on Halloween, a year after the former Dolphin became the fourth player in NFL history to rush for 200 yards three times in the same season.

Meanwhile, the Giants have been putting more of the load on the shoulders of rookie Wayne Gallman. Last week, the fourth-round draft choice recorded personal highs in yards from scrimmage (99), rush attempts (12), rushing yards (59), receptions (seven) and receiving yards (40).


Interim general manager Kevin Abrams spoke with the media on Thursday for the first time since the dismissals of general manager Jerry Reese and head coach Ben McAdoo. Abrams, who has served as the team’s assistant general manager for 16 years, declined to campaign or interview publicly for the permanent job, but confirmed his desire and preparedness to assume those duties.

The Giants, who intend to hire their next general manager before bringing in a new head coach, are getting set to begin the interview process. “I’ve been told nothing definitive,” Abrams said, “and that I’ll get an interview before the end of the season.”

Abrams also discussed a variety of topics, including a “healthy” salary cap, which you can read about HERE. 


The New York Giants and Toyota, in partnership with the United States Marines, will hold their annual Toys for Tots drive this Sunday at MetLife Stadium. Fans are encouraged to bring new, unwrapped toys to any of the collection vehicles and volunteers located at each entrance to the stadium prior to the game. Uniformed Marine Corps Reserves will be on hand to assist in collecting these gifts.

Modell’s Sporting Goods has donated $2,500 worth of sports equipment to the cause and will hand out coupons for select Nike products to all fans who donate a toy. Coupons are redeemable at Modell’s locations only. All gifts collected during the drive will be donated to Toys for Tots, the premier community action program of the United States Marines. Over the last 50 years, the Marines have distributed over 272,000,000 toys to children across the country during the holiday season.