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10 things to watch in Divisional Round matchup



As coach Brian Daboll brought up in Tuesday's media session, the Giants have faced only four teams since their Week 13 game against Washington on Dec. 4. During that stretch, they've had two matchups against the Commanders, two against the Eagles, and two against the Vikings, along with one game against the Colts. In each of those second meetings, the Giants saw much better results. They went 2-1 in those three outings, with the one loss coming in the regular-season finale that saw the Giants rest almost all of their starters and still only lose to the No. 1 seed Eagles by six points.

The Giants have been provided the rare opportunity of getting to face a team for a third time in a season. After facing a 19-0 deficit late in the third quarter of Week 18 in Philadelphia, Davis Webb helped the Giants mount a comeback to bring it to 22-16 before the Eagles sealed the victory. For for the second time this season, the Giants will play the same team twice within three games, with the opponent having the week off in between. After tying the Washington Commanders in Week 13, the Giants went on the road two weeks later for a rematch against their division rival. The Commanders had off in Week 14, but the extra rest didn't seem to help as the Giants prevailed, 20-12. Regardless of what's happened in the past, the Giants appear ready for Round Three against the Eagles.

"You work really hard to get to this point," coach Brian Daboll said Tuesday. "But I think you have to focus on keeping the main thing the main thing. It was good to move on, but you've got to put that in the past really quick and get to the preparation on this week's opponent. Number one seed. They won the (NFC) East. They beat us twice. They got eight Pro Bowlers, six All-Pros. I think they can get your attention real quick, so we got a lot of work to do.

"It's definitely a good opportunity when you get to see a team again," Kayvon Thibodeaux added. "Seeing them a third time, it's definitely going to be a good game."


Saturday night's game will be the 181st all-time meeting between the New York Giants and Philadelphia Eagles, dating all the way back to 1933. The Eagles won both of the regular-season meetings between the two teams and have won nine consecutive matchups against the Giants at Lincoln Financial Field. In four postseason games, the two teams have each won two.

In six games against No. 1 seeds since the playoff restructuring in 1990, the Giants are a perfect 6-0. That six-game win streak vs. No. 1 seeds is the longest by any franchise since the NFL began seeding playoff teams in 1975. The Giants beat the No. 1 seed in both conferences in each of its last three Super Bowl-winning seasons.




Out: None

Questionable: OLB Azeez Ojulari (quad)


Out: CB Avonte Maddox (toe)

Questionable: None


For the first time in over a decade, the New York Giants won a playoff game with their Wild Card victory over the Minnesota Vikings. The game was the first experience in the postseason for many players on the team, as only Sterling Shepard and Landon Collins were a part of the last Giants' club to make the playoffs (2016). The attention quickly flipped toward the Eagles, but the coordinators couldn't help but take time to appreciate the triumph.

"What a great time to be a Giant, to be a fan of the Giants," defensive coordinator Wink Martindale said to open his press conference. "I'm so happy and proud of the defense and the way we played in Minnesota. The two fourth-quarter stops at the end of the game, it was just great to see. And I tell you guys all the time about how much I care about these guys and how close they are and selfless they are. And you saw that Sunday in that game with all those players; whatever they had to do to win the game, and that's what they did."

"It was awesome," special teams coordinator Thomas McGaughey added about Sunday's win. "Anytime you can win a playoff game is awesome. So, it was a fun experience for me, it was more for the guys. Seeing guys like (Saquon Barkley) Say and (Daniel Jones) DJ and (Dexter Lawrence) Dex go through the things that they went through as young players coming up, (Xavier McKinney) X. Then to be able to experience a playoff victory is really fun to watch them celebrate and enjoy."


Daniel Jones put together a historic performance against the Vikings on Sunday. While having to deal with a hostile crowd at U.S. Bank Stadium, Jones threw for 301 yards and two touchdowns for a passer rating of 114.1. He also added 78 yards on a career-high 17 rush attempts to become the first quarterback in NFL postseason history with 300+ pass yards, 2+ pass touchdowns and 70+ rush yards in a game. It also marked the 11th time in 17 games this season that Jones did not have a turnover. Offensive coordinator Mike Kafka tipped his cap to the fourth-year quarterback for his ball security and steadiness while leading the offense.

"Daniel did a nice job," said the offensive coordinator. "Obviously, had some really good production with his legs, good production with his arm. He made good decisions from the quarterback position and eliminating those turnovers, which is big in really any game. In the playoffs, those type of things get elevated. I thought he did a nice job, he directed the offense and he did all the things that we ask him to do from the quarterback position…

"You guys see it on the TV and even when you guys are on the field – he's pretty much the same guy every day. He doesn't really sweat it either way, up or down, he kind of stays in the game, keeps fighting, keeps playing and I think that's where you see a guy like him – he's put us in position to be in those type of games."

Jones will have to keep his head on a swivel Saturday night as the Giants face off against the league's best pass rush in Philadelphia. The Eagles registered a whopping 70 sacks on the season, the most any team has had in a season since 1989 (Vikings had 71) and just two shy of the 1984 Bears' all-time NFL record. The offensive coordinator praised Philadelphia's talent up front along with their depth throughout the defense.

"I think the first thing starts with they're really talented players," Kafka told reporters about the Eagles' defense. "They have a really talented group, their depth is super talented. It's not just like the front four, they got backups, guys that are perennial All-Pros and Pro Bowlers. They're well coached, right. They have a good scheme and they're sound with their scheme. They do a lot of good stuff on defense. We got to have a good week of prep."


Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts enjoyed a remarkable regular season. The third-year quarterback set new career-highs in numerous passing categories, including yards (3,701), touchdowns (22), completion percentage (66.5), interception percentage (1.3), and passer rating (101.5). Hurts also proved to be a weapon on the ground, rushing for 760 yards and an incredible 13 touchdowns. He earned his first selection to the Pro Bowl along with second-team All-Pro honors.

"Everybody's saying he's having an MVP season, and I agree because he can beat you with his legs. He can beat you with just being a dropback quarterback. He can beat you with a sore shoulder. He can beat you a lot of different ways, and that's a great challenge because there's just a few quarterbacks that can do it that way," Martindale said about Hurts. "And you can have him dead to rights back there in the pocket, and he's a magician. He'll get out of it.

"I'm not happy for the guy right now because I'm preparing for him. But you can see the work that he put in the past offseason. And where he's at today is, to me, two completely different quarterbacks. Out of respect of the game, you respect that. You can see the hard work that he put in. It's going to be a tremendous challenge."

Hurts missed Weeks 16-17 due to a shoulder sprain. He returned for the regular-season finale, it seemed clear he wasn't in full health. Hurts completed just 57.1 percent of his passes that day for 229 yards while only gaining 13 yards on nine carries (1.4 avg.). This production was well below what he did against the Giants in Week 14 when he threw for 217 yards and two touchdowns with another 77 yards and a score on the ground. Following two weeks of rest, the MVP candidate is no longer listed on the Eagles' injury report. The Giants are expecting the 24-year-old quarterback to look like his normal self Saturday night.

"I think you've got to prepare for everything," Daboll said about the Eagles quarterback. "(He's) a dynamic player. I've said this before, he can throw it, he can pass it. That's why he's up there for MVP. And we've got a big challenge ahead."

"He's off the injury report, so I'm expecting Jalen Hurts the MVP candidate," Martindale added. "I think if you expect anything less, you're kidding yourself because the guy's definitely a competitor."

Saturday's matchup will feature the first time in postseason history that both starting quarterbacks rushed for 700+ yards in the regular season. Jones and Hurts' combined 1,468 rushing yards is the most ever in a playoff game, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.

View photos from practice as the Giants get ready for the Divisional Round matchup.


The Giants' secondary received a significant boost last weekend with the return of Adoree' Jackson. The veteran cornerback played against the Vikings for the first time since injuring his knee returning a punt in the team's Week 11 loss to the Detroit Lions. His impact was felt immensely, as Jackson helped contain Vikings three-time All-Pro wide receiver Justin Jefferson to just seven receptions for 47 yards. According to Next Gen Stats, Jackson covered Jefferson on 85 percent of his routes on Sunday, with the wideout totaling six receptions for 37 yards on those plays. Martindale did not shy away from discussing what Jackson's presence on the field does for the defense.

"You know, he shadowed him the whole game," the coordinator said about Jackson covering Jefferson on Sunday. "That's the beginning of the team effort, aside from the rush and the other guys holding up and everything else. I am happy for the player, the same reason what I told you all before, and maybe you weren't here. I'm happy for the person because he's worked his tail off. It's fun seeing him smile out on the field again. And he's the number one corner. It was huge for him to come back. It was a big reason. It builds confidence in your entire defense and your coordinator when you have him out on the field. I was really happy for him."

Things won't get any easier for Jackson this week with a matchup against Eagles wide receiver A.J. Brown. The fourth-year receiver set new career-highs with his 88 receptions and 1,496 yards, while his 11 receiving touchdowns matched his previous career-best. Brown was selected to his second Pro Bowl while being named second-team All-Pro for the first time. Jackson and Brown are plenty familiar with each other after spending two seasons together with the Tennessee Titans. However, Saturday night's game will represent the first time they take the field on opposite sides.

"He is just a dog," Jackson said of Brown. "I don't know any other way to explain it. A guy that gets after, attacks the ball, can run every route in the playbook; catch you with a screen go 80, a slant go 80 or hit you with a deep ball and go 80. A complete receiver, can block, can do all the things that you would want. That's truly a great player."


Considering he's only been on the team for 2 ½ months, Isaiah Hodgins' impact on the offense has been pretty remarkable. The 24-year-old finished the regular season tied with Richie James for a team-high four receiving touchdowns after he found the end zone in five of his last six games, including last weekend's Wild Card win. Since making his Giants debut against the Texans in Week 10, Hodgins has done a great job of catching nearly every target thrown his way. In seven of his nine games with the team, the second-year receiver had no more than one target that was not caught.

"Not having much experience with him before that, he's been nothing but impressive coming in, studying the playbook, working his butt off - he's a great teammate," said Kafka. "He does all the right things. He's a pro. He's one of those guys that jumped into that room and was able to add some value."

Similar to Jones, Hodgins is carrying a ton of momentum into the Divisional Round. He has registered eight receptions in two of his last three games and has totaled 20 catches for 236 yards and three touchdowns during that stretch. In his only appearance against Philadelphia in Week 14, Hodgins recorded four receptions for 38 yards and caught Jones' only touchdown pass.

"I would definitely say it's a surreal moment," Hodgins told the media Wednesday about playing in the postseason. "I never look past it. I knew that I could do this, but just to be there sitting back looking at a couple months ago, I was getting cut from one team. And now, I'm playing in the second round of the playoffs. Sometimes I get that overwhelming feeling of just like, 'Man, I'm so blessed to be here and I'm so thankful.' I just try to remind myself of that every day."

The Eagles boast one of the league's top cornerback duos in the form of Darius Slay and James Bradberry. Slay earned his fifth Pro Bowl selection, posting three interceptions and 14 passes defensed. Not to be outdone, Bradberry was named second-team All-Pro for the first time in his career after he had three interceptions and a team-high 17 passes defensed. The two combined for three pass breakups in the Week 18 meeting between the two teams, although Slay was the defender on Kenny Golladay's 25-yard touchdown catch late in the fourth quarter.


Perhaps the biggest challenge for the Giants on Saturday night will be slowing down the Eagles' dominant pass rush. Philadelphia put together an historic season getting after the quarterback, racking up a total of 70 sacks across 17 games. The Kansas City Chiefs finished second in the league with 55 sacks. The Eagles' total fell just two sacks shy of the 1984 Chicago Bears, who own the NFL's all-time single-season record with 72.

"They've got good players and they know how to get to the quarterback," Jones told the media. "We'll have a plan for those guys, and we've got a lot of confidence in our guys up front. They've played really well the whole year and they'll be ready to go."

The Eagles' defensive front dominated the first meeting between the two teams. Philadelphia racked up seven sacks in that game, including three from Brandon Graham. Fletcher Cox, Milton Williams, Haason Reddick and Josh Sweat also picked up one sack apiece. However, the Giants' pass protection performed a lot better in Week 18. The Eagles recorded two sacks in the regular-season finale, but one was of Lawrence Cager on a trick play and the other was of Jamie Gillan on a fake punt. Davis Webb was not sacked a single time.

"They're really good," Daboll said about the Eagles' defensive front. "They're hard to block. They can stop the run. They got a lot of really good players. They use them well. They're a challenge to block. On the perimeter, they're a challenge with the tackles. And inside, they're a challenge. So, that's where – like I talked about before – the offensive line and defensive line, that's where usually the game starts. And they're pretty much All-Pro or Pro Bowl at every spot."

In last weekend's win in Minnesota, the Giants surrendered three sacks and four total quarterback hits of Daniel Jones. Second-Team All-Pro left tackle Andrew Thomas continues to be the anchor of the offensive line as he allowed just one total pressure on 46 pass block snaps, according to Pro Football Focus. Right guard Mark Glowinski also allowed just one total pressure, while center Jon Feliciano did not allow any on his passing snaps.

"Number one opponent in our division," Thomas said about the Eagles. "They've done a great job. Obviously, their front is really good. I think they have something like 70.0 sacks or something like that. Definitely a tough opponent but we're getting prepared for them."


No matter how you look at it, Dexter Lawrence had a true breakout season. The fourth-year defensive lineman shattered all of his previous career-highs this season with his 7.5 sacks, 28 quarterback hits, 68 total tackles, two forced fumbles and three passes defensed. Lawrence was named Second-Team All-Pro in addition to earning his first Pro Bowl selection as he became one of the centerpieces of the defense.

Lawrence did not register a sack of Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins on Sunday, but made his presence felt. Lawrence led the team with four quarterback hits and his seven total pressures tied with Leonard Williams for the most on the unit. Lawrence was constantly in the face of Cousins, pressuring the veteran quarterback and forcing him to get rid of the ball early.

The Giants picked up seven sacks on Jalen Hurts over their two regular-season meetings. Philadelphia finished tied for 20th in the NFL with 44 sacks allowed. After not being listed on the final injury report, Eagles starting right tackle Lane Johnson will play in the Divisional Round matchup after suffering a groin injury a few weeks ago. Johnson, along with center Jason Kelce, were both named AP First-Team All-Pro. According to Pro Football Focus, neither Johnson nor Kelce surrendered a sack all season.

"They are some big dudes, physical. They've got a good leader in (center Jason) Kelce, he helped them learn a lot. They can latch on to you pretty good…" Lawrence stated about Philadelphia's offensive line. "I'm looking forward to the battle. The third time, just trying to come out with a different result this time."


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