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Keys to Victory

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Keys to Victory: Giants look for road win in Philadelphia

KEYS-TO-VICTORY

The New York Giants will play in their first ever game on Christmas Day this Monday (4:30 p.m. ET kickoff) in Philadelphia. The Eagles have lost three consecutive games, but the Giants aren't taking the defending division and conference champions lightly.

"[They] lost to some pretty good teams," said Giants coach Brian Daboll, referencing the 49ers, Cowboys, and Seahawks, who currently have a combined record of 28-14. "We've played those teams, pretty good football teams. This is a heck of a football team. They're well-coached and they have very talented players. They're 10-4 for a reason."

Here are three keys for the Giants:

"First-and-nine"

Often imitated but never exactly duplicated, the Eagles' rugby scrum approach to short-down situations is being studied by offensive and defensive coaches at every level of football. The former want to know how they do it so effectively; the latter want to know how to stop it.

Giants defensive coordinator Wink Martindale has the mindset that you don't line up against the Eagles with a first-and-10 to start each possession. Rather, it's first-and-nine.

That sense of urgency on first and second downs needs to be there against Philadelphia, which has converted 48.4 percent of third downs (third in the NFL). The numbers get better on third downs of fewer than four yards to go, where they convert 72.5 percent of the time (second in the NFL). On fourth down, they have a league-leading 72.7 percent conversion rate.

Season of taking

On Christmas Day, the Giants need to be in the taking spirit – not giving. It is no coincidence that their winning streak ended in New Orleans, where they failed to force a turnover after having 12 over three consecutive victories. The Giants had no qualms about admitting the reason.

"History tells if we get turnovers," linebacker Bobby Okereke said, "We'll win the game."

"For us to have success," Martindale added, "We know we need to take the ball away from them."

Communication up front

The 2023 Giants hold the unenviable distinction as the first team to have multiple players take 30+ sacks in the same season. With seven last week against the Saints, Tommy DeVito's number grew to 35 sacks in seven games. While the Eagles aren't on their historic pace like a year ago, their deep and talented front always has the potential to make it a long day for opposing offenses.

"I'd say the list goes on - very, very good group," Daboll said. "If you get behind, they're very tough to block."

Stats to impress your family and friends while watching on Christmas Day

Of the 337 teams that have started 10-4 or better through 14 games in the Super Bowl Era, the Eagles' +18 scoring margin is tied for 334th.

The Eagles' last loss vs. a team at least four games under .500 was Week 12, 2021, against the Giants.

Jalen Hurts has thrown an NFL-worst 12 interceptions from inside the pocket in 2023. Last season, he led the league with a 111.8 passer rating from inside the pocket.

Hurts (14) needs one rushing touchdown in his final three games to break a tie with Cam Newton (2011) for the most by a quarterback in a season.

After having an NFL-record six straight games with 125+ receiving yards from Weeks 3-8, Philadelphia's A.J. Brown has only one such game since then.

A rookie quarterback has not started and beaten the Eagles since Dak Prescott in Week 8, 2016.

With one more, DeVito could become the first undrafted rookie quarterback in the Common Draft Era (since 1967) to win at least four games. His three wins are currently tied for the most with Ed Rubbert (1987) and Devlin Hodges (2019).

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

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