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10 Things To Watch For

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10 things to watch in Giants vs. Eagles

DABOLL-SIRIANNI-10-THINGS

BOUNCING BACK ON CHRISTMAS

The Giants saw their three-game winning streak come to an end in New Orleans this past Sunday as they fell to the Saints, 24-6. The offense did not reach 200 total yards of offense and struggled on third down, while the defense failed to register a turnover for the first time since Week 9. The Saints also picked up seven sacks, while the Giants were only able to get to Derek Carr once.

"Collectively, just not good enough," head coach Brian Daboll said after the game. "Pretty much take any area, (it) just wasn't good enough. Give them credit. They did well. (They) were efficient in the pass game. We weren't really efficient in the pass game. The run, the quarterback zone reads where really all of that was going...I think was 9 for 14, or somewhere around there. We couldn't get the run game going, had a number of sacks (allowed). They were pretty efficient, 6 of 12 on third down and 2 of 2 in the red zone. So, collectively, it just wasn't good enough."

The Giants are now faced with another tough matchup this week. Despite losing three straight games, the Eagles still find themselves firmly in the hunt for the NFC East crown. The Giants last won in Philadelphia back in 2013, and since then, the Eagles have won 16 of the 19 overall matchups. Monday's Christmas Day contest will be the first of two games between the Giants and Eagles over the final three weeks of the season.

ALL-TIME SERIES

The New York Giants visit the Philadelphia Eagles in Lincoln Financial Field for an NFC East matchup on Monday, Dec. 25. Kickoff is set for 4:30 p.m. ET on FOX.

Monday's game is the Giants' first ever Christmas Day game and their 176th regular-season matchup against the Eagles. This is the first of two meetings in a three-week span between the teams.

The Giants are 85-89-2 in the regular season against Philadelphia, and 2-3 in the postseason. Philadelphia won both regular-season games and an NFC Divisonal Round game against the Giants last season (48-22 on Dec. 11, 22-16 on Jan. 8 and 38-7 in the playoffs on Jan. 21). The Giants are 2-2 against NFC East opponents this season.

View photos of the Giants on the practice field ahead of the Week 16 matchup against the Philadelphia Eagles.

INJURY REPORT

Giants

Out: OT Evan Neal (ankle), DL Rakeem Nunez-Roches (knee)

Questionable: TE Lawrence Cager (groin), WR Isaiah Hodgins (illness), DL Dexter Lawrence (hamstring), DL A'Shawn Robinson (back), RB Gary Brightwell (hamstring)

Eagles

Out: LB Zach Cunningham (knee), G Landon Dickerson (thumb), CB Darius Slay (knee), CB Avonte Maddox (pectoral)

Questionable: LB Nicholas Morrow (abdomen)

DeVITO'S NEXT TEST

After a strong three-week stretch that saw him win Rookie of the Week twice and NFC Offensive Player of the Week once, Tommy DeVito struggled to get going against the Saints in Week 15. The rookie quarterback completed just 58.8 percent of his passes, his lowest completion percentage since Week 10, for 177 yards with no touchdowns or interceptions for a passer rating of 72.8. He added 36 yards on four carries but was sacked seven times, less than a week after not being sacked even once against the Packers.

Daboll announced Monday that the undrafted rookie quarterback would remain the starter for this week's game against the Eagles, marking his sixth consecutive start.

"He's earned it," the head coach said. "I'm not going to make a week-to-week change. He's earned it. It's not always going to be perfect, but he's earned the opportunity to play."

Seahawks quarterback Drew Lock completed 66.7 percent of his passes for 208 yards, one touchdown and no interceptions against the Eagles on Monday, finishing with a 94.0 passer rating. Philadelphia did a good job of containing Lock for most of the game, but allowed him to throw for 92 yards and the touchdown on Seattle's game-winning drive as Lock led them 92 yards down the field in 1:24. The Eagles have gone three straight games without recording an interception.

GETTING SAQUON BACK ON TRACK

Running back Saquon Barkley had a tough time finding open lanes in Sunday's game against the Saints. Barkley carried the ball nine times for 14 yards and added two receptions for 23 yards. His 11 total touches, 37 yards from scrimmage and 1.6 yards per carry were all his lowest of the year. Despite last week's difficulties, offensive coordinator Mike Kafka made it clear that the talented running back will be on the field as much as possible this Monday.

"I'd say we want Saquon out on the field as much as possible," Kafka said. "Saquon will be out there until he needs to get out, until he needs a blow – he needs to catch his breath and get back out there. That's really how we work out with him. He's out there as long as he can until he needs a tap, and another guy comes in. "

Running on the Philadelphia defense is no easy task. The Eagles enter this matchup ranking seventh in both yards and touchdowns allowed on the ground. However, in their last five games, Philadelphia has surrendered an average of 145 rushing yards per game as every opponent has reached at least 100 yards on the ground.

WALLER'S RETURN

Darren Waller returned to action on Sunday after missing the previous five games with a hamstring injury. In his first game back, the veteran tight end tied for the team lead with four receptions which went for a total of 40 yards. Taking out the Week 8 contest against the Jets in which he left in the first half due to the hamstring injury, Waller has now reached 40 receiving yards in each of his last four games. Even with missing more than five games this season, Waller still ranks second on the team with 40 receptions for 424 yards.

Philadelphia ranks 14th in the league with 70 receptions and 691 receiving yards allowed to tight ends this season, while their six touchdowns surrendered to the position are tied for the fifth-most. Seahawks tight ends Noah Fant, Will Dissly and Colby Parkinson combined for six receptions on Monday night, but only gained 31 yards. However, Cowboys tight end Jake Ferguson and 49ers tight end George Kittle averaged 4.5 receptions for 70 yards in the two weeks prior.

STOPPING 'THE BROTHERLY SHOVE'

Anyone that has watched the NFL over the last few seasons has become familiar with a play made famous by the Eagles. Most call it the "Tush Push" while fans in Philadelphia have adopted the name "The Brotherly Shove." Regardless of its name, it has become one of the most efficient plays in all of football, with the Eagles finding more success running it than any other team.

Last season, the Eagles had a 93.5 percent success rate running this play, the highest in the league, and they have found similar success again this year. Defensive coordinator Wink Martindale acknowledged the difficulty of stopping it when talking to the media Thursday.

"I think that, obviously, they are really good at it because they know – it's just like a rugby scrum and if you see a rugby scrum, in the sport of rugby, it goes this way, it goes this way, it goes this way, it goes this way, (pointing fingers in different directions)," the defensive coordinator said. "Well, if it moves at all a little bit forward, they are going to give them the forward progress. It doesn't matter how you play it. And I think every defensive coordinator, every coach in this league, has looked at different ways to try to stop it and it's just a tough play to stop."

Martindale went on to say that the best way to prevent Philadelphia from running a successful "Tush Push" is to not let them get into short down situations.

"You have to protect all angles of it, they have plays off of it as well," said Martindale. "But I mean as a defense, I think that you have to just look at every down, every first down, it's not first and 10, it's first and nine. So, I mean if you just look at it that way, you just got to give it your best shot when they get in those situations."

CHALLENGE OF FACING JASON KELCE

We touched on Philadelphia's success running the "Tush Push" above, and there are certainly a few different players who have a significant role in the team's high conversion rate on that play. Perhaps the most important piece, outside of quarterback Jalen Hurts, is center Jason Kelce.

Kelce has put together an impressive NFL career since the Eagles selected him in the sixth round of the 2011 NFL Draft. The 36-year-old center has been named First-Team All-Pro five times and has also earned six selections to the Pro Bowl, and is once again one of Pro Football Focus' highest-ranked centers in the league this season.

"Look, one of the biggest things, one of the greatest challenges of playing Philly, is going against Jason Kelce," Martindale told reporters. "I mean, this guy to me is a first-ballot Hall of Famer. He embodies Philly. Just like the fans, mean but smart. This guy, to me, and I said this last year and I don't know if I said it to you guys, it's like playing (former Colts and Broncos quarterback) Peyton Manning and it's not sexy so he doesn't get that Peyton Manning type credit, but he'll see something, whether it's a stance, whether it's a guy putting his mouthpiece in different. He'll see something and completely flip a protection. So, that chess match is always tough."

If Martindale wants to pick up some inside intel on the Eagles center, he doesn't have to go too far. Mike Kafka spent his first two seasons in the NFL as a backup quarterback on the Eagles and overlapped with Kelce in Philadelphia in 2011.

"He came in, he was a smart kid," Kafka added about his former teammate. "He was a sponge, trying to learn everything. He was also very vocal, just like he is today. He's a great dude, one of my good friends, so nothing but respect for him."

PHILLY'S NEW DEFENSIVE PLAY-CALLER

After dominating the league last year, Philadelphia's defense has struggled in 2023 as the unit ranks 26th in points and 22nd in yards allowed this season. However, the splits are not even between the pass and run game. The Eagles rank 28th in passing yards and 31st in passing touchdowns allowed, while their six interceptions rank 29th. But when it comes to the run game, Philadelphia sports one of the league's top units as their 94.4 rushing yards allowed per game is the seventh-lowest. However, the Eagles have allowed 100 yards on the ground to each of their last five opponents, and more than 135 rushing yards in four of the last five.

Prior to their Week 15 game, the Eagles announced that they were making a change on the coaching staff, naming senior defensive assistant Matt Patricia the new defensive play-caller on the field, while defensive coordinator Sean Desai moved up to the booth. In their first game following this change, the Eagles held the Seahawks to 297 total yards of offense.

"With Coach Patricia now calling it and Sean over the first half of the season, there's some similarities, a lot of similarities," said Kafka. "Obviously, the personnel there, it stays consistent. Coach Patricia – I think there was a couple things that might have felt a little bit different, now into the second week, probably could anticipate a little bit more of things kind of being changed up. We've got to be ready for everything. Going to prep through – go through our schemes, go through our personnel groupings, and make sure we're tied up there."

Kafka said the coaching staff would put more emphasis on watching the tape from this past Monday's game, as it is the only one with Patricia calling the Philly defense. While he did admit there is somewhat of an unknown to facing a new play-caller, Kafka said the Giants offense will be ready to go Monday.

"You try to gather as much data as you can from this last week and see if there's any tendencies there and then look at kind of the scope of the season and see where things have kind of been played through as well," the offensive coordinator said. "Again, when you have a new play caller, there's a little bit of unknown and that's okay, but we prepare our guys the best we can and get them ready for Monday."

SCOUTING EAGLES' OFFENSE

Despite failing to reach 20 points during the three-game losing streak, the Eagles still have one of the league's top offenses. The unit ranks seventh in points and ninth in yards, in addition to having the No. 3 third down offense and the league's top fourth down offense. Philadelphia's red zone offense (60.8 percent) ranks ninth.

"I'd say they are still real good," Daboll said about the Eagles' offense. "Really good skill players, good quarterback, good offensive line, good running back, got a lot of talent on their team."

The Eagles' offense starts with quarterback Jalen Hurts. Last year's MVP runner up has completed 65.7 percent of his passes for 3,315 yards, 19 touchdowns and 12 interceptions for a passer rating of 89.9. The All-Pro QB has once again proven to be a weapon on the ground as he has rushed for 542 yards, 60 first downs and a career-high 14 touchdowns through Week 15. 

This has led to the Eagles ranking eighth in rushing yards and fifth in rushing touchdowns on the year, due in large part to the contributions from Hurts. In Monday's loss against the Seahawks, the Eagles totaled 178 yards and two touchdowns on the ground, including 82 yards and the two scores from Hurts.

"He's a winner," the head coach said about Hurts. "Since high school, he's won over 75 percent of his games. He's a heck of a player, heck of a quarterback, heck of a person. He's a good player."

Running back D'Andre Swift is enjoying the best season of his young NFL career in his first year in Philadelphia. Swift has carried the ball 196 times for 896 yards, good for an average of 4.6 yards per carry, and four touchdowns while adding 38 receptions for 209 yards and an additional score. Kenneth Gainwell has also run for 256 yards and two scores while catching 23 passes for 130 yards.

A.J. Brown has been one of the top wide receivers in the NFL this season. He enters Week 16 with 95 receptions for 1,314 yards and seven touchdowns, with his receptions ranking fifth in the league while his yardage total ranks second. DeVonta Smith ranks second on the team with 74 receptions for 957 yards and six touchdowns, while tight end Dallas Goedert has caught 46 passes for 470 yards and two scores in just 11 games.

View rare photos of the historic rivalry between the New York Giants and Philadelphia Eagles.

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