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Giants vs. Eagles: 5 Storylines to follow in Week 7

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The Giants picked up their first win of the season this past Sunday, defeating the Washington Football Team in a 20-19 thriller at MetLife Stadium.

It wasn't the prettiest win for the Giants, as the offense gained just 240 total yards. However, the unit came through when it mattered, going 7-of-11 on third down and rushing for over 130 yards for the second time in three weeks.

The Giants will head down the highway to take on the Philadelphia Eagles on Thursday night. The Eagles fell behind big against the Ravens in Week 6 before falling, 30-28, in a game that saw Baltimore dominate the time of possession (36:30 to 23:30).

Here are five storylines to follow heading into the Giants' matchup in Week 7:

DJ getting it done with his legs

During his rookie season, Daniel Jones showed that he was more than capable of running the football. Jones took 45 rush attempts for 279 yards and two touchdowns in 12 starts last year, and is well on his way of shattering that rushing mark this season. Through the first six games of the season, he has gained 204 yards on just 27 rush attempts (7.6 avg.).

Jones is coming off his best rushing game of the season against Washington, carrying seven times for 74 yards (10.6 avg.). He topped off this performance with an impressive 49-yard run that lead to a Graham Gano field goal. According to Next Gen Stats, Jones hit 20.64 miles per hour on this dash, making the Ravens' Lamar Jackson the only quarterback to register a faster speed this season.

Last week, Jackson carried the ball nine times against Philadelphia and totaled 108 yards (12.0 avg.) and a touchdown. He leads NFL quarterbacks with 346 rushing yards; Jones ranks fourth.

"Yeah, I think it helps the running game, opens things up for backs and helps the passing game, too," Jones said about his rushing ability. "One of the strengths of this offense is the ability to do a lot of different things with different personnel. When my number is called to run it, I'm certainly excited for those opportunities. You're seeing what this offense can do, and we need to continue to improve, continue to execute."

Who steps up at WR?

Following the first-half injury to C.J. Board, the Giants were down to three wide receivers against Washington. Of those three, Darius Slayton was playing through a foot injury and Austin Mack making his NFL debut. The third was veteran Golden Tate.

Slayton was only able to catch two passes in Week 6, but one went for a 23-yard touchdown to help extend the Giants' lead to 10-0. Tate and Mack each recorded one reception apiece on a day in which Jones threw for just 112 yards.

But Sterling Shepard (toe) has begun practicing this week, while Alex Bachman, Derrick Dillon and Binjimen Victor have been with the team on the practice squad. Jones admits there would be benefits to having Shepard available in Philadelphia.

"I think it's a combination of a lot of things," Jones said. "I think his physical tools. He's an extremely explosive guy, he's good in and out of cuts. I think he's as good of a route runner as there is in the league with what he can do in getting open and then catching the ball. You can trust him to separate from guys. He's a tough guy to cover one on one."

The Eagles have allowed just one quarterback to throw for more than 300 yards this year, but a lot of that could be due to their early-season opponents featuring run-heavy offenses. Philadelphia ranks 21st in the league in passing touchdowns allowed (11), five of which have come from rookie wide receivers Chase Claypool and Tee Higgins.

Rookies taking advantage of opportunities

Matt Peart saw his first extended action at left tackle against Washington, playing 26 snaps and earning a strong 89.7 overall grade from Pro Football Focus, the team's highest on the offense in Week 6. He graded 93.4 in run blocking. Meanwhile, Andrew Thomas played 22 snaps at left tackle and also played well in the run game, earning a 79.3 run block grade on 11 running snaps. Thomas has recorded back to back 70+ run grades from PFF.

However, the biggest play of the game came from another rookie. In the fourth quarter, linebacker Tae Crowder picked up Kyle Allen's fumble and returned it 43 yards for the winning touchdown, but it was far from his only contribution. Crowder finished second on the team with 10 total tackles (six solo) and filled in nicely alongside Blake Martinez. Crowder has slowly seen his role increase each game in recent weeks, but will be sidelined for at least the next few games after being placed on injured reserve Tuesday due to a hamstring injury.

"It was an awesome moment," veteran linebacker Blake Martinez said of Crowder's touchdown. "It's kind of one of those things where it's like a proud dad moment. Throughout training camp and all that, he was one of those rookies where he doesn't say much. Just goes to work every single day and once he's gotten that opportunity, it's been amazing to see him flourish out there. He just feels so comfortable being able to make calls, make everything simpler even for me out there. It's cool to see him obviously get that touchdown this last game. I was proud of him."

Mack was on the field for a significant number of reps in his first NFL game, playing 75 percent of the offensive snaps. In addition, Cam Brown (five snaps) and Carter Coughlin (three snaps) received their first action on defense against Washington and both recorded a tackle in the first game since Lorenzo Carter was lost for the season.

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

Limiting the passing game

It's been an up-and-down season so far for Carson Wentz. On the positive side, he has thrown multiple touchdown passes in half of the Eagles' games this year. On the other hand, Wentz has thrown multiple interceptions in four of six games, has nine picks and 11 turnovers overall, all of which are either at or near the top of the NFL leaderboards.

Wentz has been able to make up for some struggles in the passing game with his rushing abilities. The fifth-year quarterback has gained at least 37 yards on the ground in three of his last four outings, including rushing for 49 yards on five carries (9.8 avg.) and a touchdown against the Ravens last week. This is nothing new for Wentz, who has already gained 171 yards and rushed for four touchdowns this season.

Wentz has a completion mark of 58.7 percent, the first time in his career that mark has fallen below 60 percent. He has also already thrown more interceptions in six games than he did in each of his previous three seasons (he threw seven interceptions each year). But in seven career games against the Giants, Wentz has completed 63.7 percent of his passes for 1,820 yards (260 avg) with nine touchdowns and three interceptions.

"This guy is a playmaker," Judge said. "I think sometimes, some of the things that are getting lost right now are some of the things that they've hit bumps in the road on. But let's be clear, this is a really good football team. This is a really good football team. Let's not make any mistake about that. Really offensively, it all goes through No. 11 for them right there. He's a big armed quarterback, can make any throw he needs to on the field, so you have to defend the entire field.

"What that does is that opens up the deep balls with guys like (DeSean) Jackson coming back this week and Alshon (Jeffery). It also opens up the tight ends underneath and the running backs. They're great catch-and-run running backs. You can create a screen or a check down for these guys and it replicates the punt return, kick returns they kind of carved their way into the league with right now. I think Carson's doing a really good job. I think when he runs the ball, he's a big, physical, tough guy. He can extend plays. You can't just tackle this guy like any quarterback. You have to treat him like a running back in the open space. You have to wrap him up and get him on the ground. This guy runs physical."

Applying pressure on Wentz

One reason for Wentz's accuracy issues has been the constant pressure he's faced all season. Heading into Week 7, the Eagles have allowed Wentz to be sacked a league-high 25 times, all of which have come in five games (no sacks vs. the Rams in Week 2). Three of their six games have ended with Wentz being sacked five or more times, including games of eight sacks (Week 1 vs. Washington) and six sacks (Week 6 vs. Baltimore).

The Eagles have three of their starting offensive linemen on injured reserve, as Jason Peters will miss a few more weeks while Andre Dillard and Brandon Brooks are both out for the 2020 season. Starting right tackle Lane Johnson missed Week 6 with an ankle injury due and starting right guard Matt Pryor sat out because of an illness.

The Giants are tied for ninth in the NFL with 15 sacks. They brought down Kyle Allen three times on Sunday, with Logan Ryan, Leonard Williams and Kyler Fackrell each recording one sack. The three veterans also combined for seven quarterback hits and a forced fumble. The Giants have multiple sacks in all six games this season.

View photos of the Giants' active roster as it currently stands.

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