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5 storylines to follow heading into Week 16 vs. Eagles


The Giants will travel to Philadelphia for a Christmas Day matchup against the Eagles in Week 16.

After putting together a three-game winning streak, the Giants fell to the Saints this past Sunday, 24-6, in New Orleans. The loss brought the Giants' record to 5-9 on the season with three games remaining.

The Eagles will have one less day to prepare for the divisional matchup, as they traveled across the country to take on the Seahawks in Seattle this past Monday night. Philadelphia, which followed up a five-game winning streak, lost its third consecutive game, 20-17, to fall to 10-4.

The NFC East foes will see each other plenty over the next few weeks, as they also face off in Week 18 at MetLife Stadium.

Here are five storylines to follow in Week 16.

1. 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.

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

2. 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.

3. Can the defense slow down Philly's run game?

The Giants' defense is coming off one of its best performances against the run this past week. Taking out Derek Carr's three quarterback kneels, the Giants held Alvin Kamara, Jamaal Williams and Taysom Hill to 91 yards on 25 carries for an average of 3.6 yards per carry.

Sunday's game in New Orleans was the first time the Giants held an opponent to fewer than 120 rushing yards since Week 8, when they held the Jets to a total of 58 yards on the ground. In fact, those two games, along with Week 7 when the Commanders were held to 76 rushing yards, are the only three games all season in which the defense has held an opponent to less than 120 total rushing yards. For the season, the Giants rank 29th against the run and 30th in rushing yards allowed per attempt.

The Eagles rank eighth in rushing yards and fifth in rushing touchdowns on the year, due in large part to the contributions from quarterback Jalen Hurts. 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. 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.

"Whenever it's a division opponent, you want to beat them and obviously we play those teams twice," inside linebacker Micah McFadden told reporters Monday. "I think it's going to be a good challenge this week and obviously, they're a good football team. But like I said earlier, it just comes down to our process, preparing the right way, and practicing well and figuring it all out throughout the week to put it all out on gameday and perform well to get the results we want."

4. Injury updates

The Giants suffered only one in-game injury during Week 15 in New Orleans. After connecting on a 56-yard field goal, kicker Randy Bullock suffered a hamstring injury on the ensuing kickoff. After being listed as questionable to return, Bullock did not appear in the game again. Punter Jamie Gillan took Bullock's place for the remainder of the game and made a 40-yard field goal. Daboll did not have an update on Bullock earlier in the week, but on Wednesday he announced that the veteran kicker would not participate in practice to start the week. 

"Yeah, he's not great, so that's something we'll work through here and see where he is," Daboll said about Bullock. "But I'm not expecting him to be ready."

Cade York, a member of the practice squad, is the only other kicker currently on the team and will assume kicking duties if Bullock can't go Monday.

"Thought he was a good young player to work with. He's done a good job out here, and glad we have him right now. He's worked hard, and glad we got him..." Daboll said about the young kicker. "He's got a strong leg. He kicks the ball well, pretty accurate. We've continued to work with him since he's been here. So, again, it's good, particularly when that happens, to have someone here for you that you're able to hopefully kick for you."

Right tackle Evan Neal missed his fifth consecutive game due to an ankle injury. The second-year tackle has played in just seven games this season, but he did return to practice on a limited basis last week before being listed as doubtful on the final injury report. Daboll told reporters Wednesday that Neal is "doing everything he can do" to return this season. 

The Giants designated two players to return to practice on Wednesday - offensive tackle Matt Peart and running back Gary Brightwell. Peart has been sidelined with a shoulder injury since the Week 5 game against the Dolphins, while Brightwell was placed on IR after hurting his hamstring against the Commanders in Week 7. The Giants now have 21 days to activate both players to the 53-man roster.

Defensive lineman Dexter Lawrence also did not participate in Wednesday's practice, as Daboll said the lineman is "still working through his hamstring" injury that forced him to miss the Week 12 contest against the Patriots.

5. Scouting the Eagles

After starting the season as the NFL's hottest team with a record of 10-1, the Eagles have lost three consecutive games against the 49ers, Cowboys and Seahawks. Heading into Week 16, Philadelphia and Dallas now have the same record while San Francisco has a one-game lead for the NFC's No. 1 seed.

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, in addition to his contributions on the ground mentioned earlier.

"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.

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.

Philadelphia boasts talented players at each level of their defense. Outside linebacker Haasan Reddick leads the team with 11 sacks and 11 tackles for loss, while Josh Sweat's 22 quarterback hits are the most on the team. Sweat also ranks second with 6.5 sacks, just ahead of defensive tackles Fletcher Cox and Jalen Carter, who have picked up five sacks apiece.

"I'd say they're tough to block," Daboll said about the Eagles defensive line. "They have a lot of good players. They've added some pieces. Jalen is one heck of a player, dominant at times. They're certainly one of the better D-Lines in the league."

Linebackers Nicholas Morrow and Zach Cunningham have helped stabilize the middle of the Eagles defense, while safety Reed Blankenship has stepped up in a big way at the safety position. Joining Blankenship at safety is veteran Kevin Byard, who was acquired in a midseason trade from the Titans. Additionally, cornerback Darius Slay might miss Monday's game due to a knee injury, but former Giant James Bradberry will face off against his former team.

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


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