*Five takeaways from Thursday's practice and media hour: *
1. SPAGS LOOKS TO GROUND THE EAGLES
The Steve Spagnuolo era as Giants interim head coach opens with a pair of home games against two division rivals. After falling to the Cowboys last Sunday, the Giants welcome in the Eagles to MetLife Stadium for their second meeting of the season. The two teams played back in Week 3, with the Eagles winning on a 61-yard Jake Elliott field goal as time expired.
The Eagles (11-2) went on to win nine games in a row, and their 31.1 points per game average currently leads the NFL, which certainly has Spagnuolo's full attention.
"The system that Doug (Pederson) runs down there is taxing on you defensively from a standpoint of you have to stop the run so everybody gets heavy on their toes, and yet they got a really good play action pass game," Spagnuolo said following Wednesday's practice. "I read somewhere where they weren't connecting on a lot of those shots that they took, but I see a lot of them they do connect on. Those are the ones that we're concerned with."
2. WENTZ OUT, FOLES IN
Philadelphia Eagles head coach Doug Pederson confirmed on Monday that starting quarterback Carson Wentz will miss the remainder of the 2017 season with a torn ACL. The second-year product out of North Dakota State led the NFL with 33 passing touchdowns.
The Giants will now game plan for 28-year-old backup Nick Foles, who threw for 27 passing touchdowns to just two interceptions during a Pro Bowl season for Philly in 2013. Foles is 20-16 as a starter in the regular season, including 1-0 against the Giants.
"He obviously does a really good job getting ready to play a football game because they didn't skip a beat when he went in there," Spagnuolo said. "Didn't look like they limited with any checks or anything, so they've done a good job down there coaching them and he's obviously a pro at what he does."
"They've had a lot of success this year, so I don't imagine they're going to change a whole lot of things up scheme-wise," added linebacker Devon Kennard. "They might tweak a few things here or there, cater it to their quarterback. But, we're expecting them to come out and do what they do best and what they've been doing all year."
3. INJURY REPORT
Did not practice: S Landon Collins (ankle), DT Damon Harrison (not injury related), WR Roger Lewis (ankle), OL Justin Pugh (back)
Limited: CB Brandon Dixon (heel/ankle), TE Rhett Ellison (finger), LB B.J. Goodson (ankle), DE Jason Pierre-Paul (finger), WR Travis Rudolph (ankle)
4. COLLINS OPTIMISTIC ABOUT ANKLE INJURY
On the injury front, the one to watch this week belongs to All-Pro safety Landon Collins and his sprained left ankle. Collins sustained the injury midway through the fourth quarter against the Cowboys. A second-round draft pick in 2015, Collins hasn't missed a start in 45 career regular-season games.
"It's sore, but other than that, I'm going to be able to play on Sunday so that's all that's key to me," Collins said. "For myself and the competitor that I am, if I know I can play, if I feel like I can play or I can do something, I'm going to do it."
Spagnuolo sounded a bit more reserved when asked about the status of his Pro Bowl safety.
"Sometimes you got to protect these guys from themselves, but didn't do anything today," Spagnuolo said. "We'll see tomorrow and then he would have to convince – look it, I don't want him to go out there and get hurt any worse. We'll do the right thing."
5. PLAYING FOR GIANTS PRIDE
The Eagles enter Sunday's contest having already clinched their first NFC East title since 2013. They've yet to clinch homefield throughout the playoffs, giving the Giants an opportunity to help play spoiler on Sunday against a division rival. In the midst of a tough season, Big Blue is still playing for pride with three games to go.
"Just the love of the game," said running back Orleans Darkwa. "Going out there and at the end of the day, everybody wants to win. We don't like that feeling of losing, nobody's gotten numb to it. We just have to make sure we can go out there and get a win and what a better way to get a win against the Philadelphia Eagles, you know?"