The Giants will look to sweep the season series against the division rival Eagles when they travel down the turnpike to Philadelphia in Week 16.
This will be the second consecutive NFC East matchup for the Giants, who are facing off against division foes in three of their final four games of the season. Big Blue welcomed the Cowboys to MetLife Stadium last week, but could not overcome four turnovers and fell, 21-6.
The Eagles have a quick turnaround in Week 16 after some positive COVID cases in the Washington locker room forced their game to be pushed to Tuesday night. Fresh off their bye, Philadelphia gained over 500 yards of offense while limiting Washington to just 237 on the way to a 27-17 victory.
Here are five storylines to follow in the Week 16 matchup.
DJ done for season
After missing the previous three games due to a neck injury suffered during the Week 12 matchup against the Eagles, Daniel Jones was officially placed on injured reserve Monday, thus ending his third NFL season.
"Over the course of the past few weeks, Daniel has been examined by Dr. Frank Cammisa of Hospital for Special Surgery and Dr. Robert Watkins of the Marina Spine Center at Marina Del Rey Hospital," said Ronnie Barnes, the Giants' senior vice president of medical services. "Our medical team has continued to consult with Dr. Cammisa and Dr. Watkins regarding Daniel's condition and symptoms, and at this point, Daniel has not been cleared for contact. We felt the prudent decision was to place Daniel on injured reserve for the remainder of the season. With continued rest and treatment, we expect a full recovery."
Jones made 11 starts for the Giants this season. He finished with a career-best 64.3 completion percentage to go with 2,428 passing yards, 10 touchdowns and seven interceptions. He also added 298 rushing yards on 62 attempts (4.8 avg.) and two touchdowns on the ground, in addition to one spectacular one-handed catch for 16 yards.
Despite the quarterback's season coming to an early end, head coach Joe Judge was adamant to the media that the injury is not career threatening.
"I've been adamant in saying that with all the information we've been given from the doctors involved and the medical team that there is no, at this moment, concern for a long-term injury," Judge said. "This is more of a precautionary measure to make sure it's something that isn't aggravated or agitated before it's healed and it doesn't turn into something as chronic or long-term. … At this time, our concern is on Daniel's health. He's been doing a good job. He's out there moving very functionally, but ultimately this is about making sure that his neck has a full recovery before we put him out there before he's cleared for contact."
Next man up at QB
The Giants will have a decision to make in regards to who starts under center in the final three games. Since Jones' injury, Mike Glennon has made the past three starts at quarterback. In those contests, Glennon has completed 51 percent of his passes for 477 yards, two touchdowns and five interceptions. The veteran has added a rushing touchdown, as well.
Judge said Wednesday that a quarterback decision would not be made until later in the week. Jake Fromm saw his first NFL action late in last week's loss to the Cowboys. Fromm went 6-of-12 for 82 yards, including a 36-yard pass down the sideline to Kenny Golladay. Fromm's performance earned him a 78.7 overall grade from Pro Football Focus, one of the highest on the offense last week, including a 77.2 passing grade.
"Jake did enough to be in consideration [to start]," Judge said this week. "We'll see how practice goes. Obviously, there's a big difference between starting an entire NFL game and coming in at the end of the game when the team is playing more of a '2-minute prevent' mode. That's not a knock on Jake, it's just the reality and the truth."
Thomas' second-year jump
One of the biggest bright spots in the Giants' offense this season has been the performance of second-year left tackle Andrew Thomas.
"I'm doing everything I can as far as a rehab standpoint with the trainers and doing everything I can just to be my best on Sundays," Thomas said this week of battling some nagging injuries. "For the rest of the season, just trying to continue to build every week. There are things that I go back and watch and things I want to correct, so just doing the best I can in practice to correct those things."
Thomas has been the Giants' most consistent offensive linemen this season. Through last Sunday's games, he was one of two Giants to be selected to PFF's Team of the Week following his performance against the Cowboys. Thomas received an 83.7 overall grade against Dallas' talented pass rush, including an 88.9 pass block grade, one of the highest pass block grades of the week, and a 76.0 run block grade. His 81.9 pass block grade for the season ranks ninth among NFL offensive tackles.
View rare photos of the historic rivalry between the New York Giants and Philadelphia Eagles.
Newcomers stepping up on D
With all of the roster turnover recently due to injuries and COVID-19, the Giants had two newcomers step into big roles on defense last week, starting with linebacker Jaylon Smith. Smith was signed to the practice squad last Friday and to the active roster the following day. He played 17 snaps against Dallas and registered four tackles (three solo). PFF gave the veteran a 73.7 overall grade for his performance, one of the highest on the defense, including a 79.4 coverage grade.
"Jaylon … had about four to six hours of coaching to get him ready for the game and a walk-through with the defense," Judge said on Monday. "I really liked the way this guy responded, and he's been a pleasure to coach in the short window we've had. He went out there, he played fast, he's able to go ahead and get his hat on a few people to make some plays."
Jarren Williams made his first NFL start and played all but one defensive snap in Week 15. The young corner finished with five tackles (four solo) and a pass breakup, and allowed just 19 yards on five targets. Williams earned an impressive 82.0 overall grade in his first significant NFL action, which included a dominant 83.2 grade on 40 coverage snaps.
"Jarren's a guy that's been doing a decent job for us playing defense, some roles in the kicking game," said Judge. "I think he's a guy that's got a future that we can go ahead and keep on developing with. I like the way Jarren works, and I think there's some upside with him as a player. He definitely has the right attitude as a person."
Smith and Williams were signed to the active roster this week.
Dual-threat Hurts leads No. 1 rush attack
The Eagles enter this contest with the league's No. 1 run game, averaging an incredible 165.6 rushing yards per game and tied with the Colts with a league-high 21 rushing scores. Their rushing attack is led by dual-threat quarterback Jalen Hurts. Hurts' 130 rushing attempts is tied with Miles Sanders for the most on the team, while the quarterback leads Philadelphia with 733 yards, 5.6 yards per carry and 10 rushing scores. His 28 runs of 10+ yards this season ranks fourth in the NFL.
Since Week 8, the Eagles are averaging a whopping 214.4 rushing yards per game. They have rushed for at least 175 yards in every one of those contests, a new franchise record and the first time any team has accomplished this feat since the 1985 Chicago Bears. In their Week 15 win over Washington, the Eagles ran the ball 41 times for 238 yards (5.8 avg.) and two touchdowns. While Miles Sanders led the way with 131 yards, Hurts scored both touchdowns.
"Obviously this is one of the top rushing teams," Judge said on Wednesday. "You go back through the statistics – since the 1985 Bears, really no one has run the ball more consistently through a stretch or effectively as a team. That's something that comes with note. That's their running backs, that's their quarterback. They've done a very good job of extending plays and capitalizing on opportunities."
In addition to his rushing, Hurts has also been getting it done through the air. Entering Week 16, the young quarterback has completed 61.3 percent of his passes for 2,731 yards, 14 touchdowns and nine interceptions. Against Washington, he completed 76.9 percent of his passes (20 for 26) for 296 yards, one touchdown and one interception for a 110.4 passer rating.
View some of the top photos from the career of veteran linebacker Jaylon Smith.