The Giants will look to make it two wins in a row this weekend as they welcome the Philadelphia Eagles to MetLife Stadium for an NFC East showdown.
The Eagles defeated the Giants in the first meeting between the division rivals. Carson Wentz staged a late-game comeback as Philly overcame an 11-point deficit in the final five minutes of the game to win, 22-21.
In Week 9, the Giants emerged with their second win of the season after beating the Washington Football Team, 23-20. Wayne Gallman and Alfred Morris combined for 135 rushing yards on 23 carries (5.9 avg.) and a touchdown, while Daniel Jones threw for 212 yards and a touchdown and did not turn the ball over. The defense racked up three interceptions of Washington QB Alex Smith.
Philadelphia had its bye last week and will enter this matchup a lot healthier than in Week 7. The Eagles won two consecutive games leading up to the week off, defeating the Giants in Week 7 and the Dallas Cowboys the following week to bring their record to 3-4-1. Doug Pederson's squad accumulated just 222 total yards of offense in the win over Dallas.
Here are five players to keep an eye on during this Week 10 division battle in East Rutherford.
QB Daniel Jones
Daniel Jones has struggled at times this season, but is coming off one of his better outings of 2020. He completed a season-high 67.7 percent of his passes for 212 yards, one touchdown and zero interceptions against Washington's top-ranked pass defense. While he only rushed for four yards, his second-lowest rushing total of the season, he did not register a turnover for the first time this year and only the second time in 21 career starts.
After a slow start to his sophomore campaign, Jones has picked up his production in recent weeks. The young signal-caller didn't throw any touchdown passes from Weeks 2-5. In the four games since, Jones has at least one touchdown pass in each contest with multiple touchdowns in two. He has also gained 190 yards on 20 carries during that stretch, averaging a whopping 9.5 yards per carry. Jones has faced more pressured dropbacks than any quarterback in the league, ranking eighth in passing yards while under pressure.
"I think he's doing a lot of things aggressively," head coach Joe Judge said this week about his young QB. "I think the way this guy stands in the pocket when the rush is collapsing on him at certain times or makes plays with his feet extending outside the pocket, the way he's willing to pull the ball in some of the zone reads and run downfield and take a big hit. I see a lot of aggressiveness in Daniel, and I like the way he plays. The team rallies around him right there…
"I think Daniel is a developing player. I think he's shown a lot of promise, he's making a lot of gains this year, he's done a lot of really, really good things for us, and that he gives us a chance to be competitive within games. I see him improving on a weekly basis, and I love having that guy in the huddle right now being our signal-caller. I know the team around him does as well."
The Eagles come into this Week 10 matchup with one of the league's top-ranked pass defenses. Philadelphia has surrendered 209.4 passing yards per game this year, the fourth-best mark in the NFL. Jim Schwartz's defense has given up 13 passing touchdowns in the first half of the season, tied for the ninth-fewest, while the unit's 28 sacks is the third-most. In fact, the Giants have faced off against the five teams with the most sacks on the season (Pittsburgh, Tampa Bay, Philadelphia, Washington, L.A. Rams).
RB Wayne Gallman
With Devonta Freeman (ankle) sidelined last week, Gallman got the start and took advantage of the opportunity. The fourth-year back out of Clemson rushed the ball 14 times for 68 yards (4.9 avg.) and a touchdown, adding one reception for nine yards. In the last two games with Freeman sidelined, Gallman has averaged 4.3 yards per carry while totaling 112 yards and two touchdowns.
Gallman has registered 51 carries for 222 yards (4.4 avg.) and three touchdowns in eight games (three starts). The three touchdowns are a career-high, while his 222 yards are the most he's gained since rushing for 476 yards in his rookie campaign in 2017. Gallman and veteran Alfred Morris combined for 135 yards last week, helping the Giants record a season-high 166 yards on the ground.
"Right now, Wayne's doing a good job of being productive for us as a team," Judge told reporters this week. "He's made a lot of improvement throughout the year. We have a lot of confidence in Wayne. He's done a good job in the run and the pass game. I see improvements with him in terms of his pass protection. I've seen improvements with him really running downhill and getting into space and being able to make sure he extends drives right there. Look, I'm pleased with the way Wayne's playing."
The Achilles heel of the Eagles' defense this season has been its performance in the run game. Philadelphia is 24th in the league with its 130.8 rushing yards allowed per game, while the 4.4 yards per carry surrendered ranks 16th. Additionally, the unit has allowed opponents to rush for 11 touchdowns in eight games, tied for the sixth-most. Six of Philly's eight opponents have gained over 115 yards on the ground, including each of the last five. The Giants rushed for 160 yards against the Eagles in Week 7, led by Daniel Jones' 92 yards.
OT Andrew Thomas, Matt Peart
For the last few games, Joe Judge has used a rotation among his offensive tackles. Andrew Thomas (left tackle) and Cameron Fleming (right tackle) have received almost every start so far this season, but Matt Peart has received playing time at both tackle positions. Continuity along the offensive line is typically seen as being crucial to the unit's success. However, the rotation Judge has been using has gotten great results for the offense, especially in last week's game.
"Each of those guys has handled those opportunities well, and they're deserving of more opportunities to play," offensive coordinator Jason Garrett said earlier this week. "Offensive lines through the years, when they've been established, five guys are in there and that can be really good for your team. But when you're trying to build a team and build a line, you have to give guys opportunities to do different things. One of the things we always emphasize with our offensive line is the ability to play different spots. If you're a one-hole player on the offensive line, that's not real good for you and that's not real good for our team. You try to use that to your advantage, give guys opportunities, and if they do well, they earn more opportunities."
Going up against Washington's talented defensive front, the Giants' offensive line had one of their best performances of the season. As a whole, the unit finished with the 11th-best pass blocking efficiency of the week, their highest weekly rank of the season, according to Pro Football Focus. Fleming received a 76.5 pass blocking grade after allowing zero pressures, while Thomas earned a 66.4 grade after surrendering just one pressure. Peart was on the field the least of the three, seeing 31 offensive snaps, but finished with the highest pass blocking grade (81.3) by not allowing a single pressure.
"All three guys are playing, they're playing well right now for us," said Judge. "They're all improving, so it gives us a lot of confidence to keep moving those guys on through. Part of it may be it changes a little bit what the defense can do to attack you. They can't single up on what just one guy does and what they're trying to look. Maybe it alters how they approach each drive not knowing who's going in. We've kind of talked internally and bounced a few things off. The one thing we've concluded is whatever the reasons on the other side may be, we like how it's working for us and we're going to keep on going with it."
As previously mentioned, the Eagles have racked up 28 sacks through the first half of the season, trailing only Pittsburgh in sacks per game. In their last outing, Philly's defense took down Cowboys QB Ben DiNucci four times and forced two fumbles. In the Week 7 meeting between these two teams, Jones was sacked three times and lost one fumble. The talented Brandon Graham leads the Eagles' unit with seven sacks and two forced fumbles this season.
LB Blake Martinez
Blake Martinez has been a consistent force on the Giants' defense. The veteran linebacker had one of his better performances of the season against Washington last week. Martinez racked up 10 tackles (three solo), two passes defended and an interception, his first of the season. He played 100 percent of the team's defensive snaps for the sixth time, and yet again finished with the highest overall grade on the defense from PFF (74.4).
Martinez is first in the league with 92 combined tackles to go along with his two sacks, one interception, three pass breakups, six tackles for loss and five quarterback hits. Martinez has four games with a PFF grade of 70+, while receiving a grade of 60+ in all nine games. In his 18 total games with the Packers last year, the linebacker had just five games with a PFF grade of 60+. His 80.4 overall grade is the fifth-highest among the league's linebackers, thanks in part to his elite 85.5 run defense grade.
The Eagles' offense will look a lot different on Sunday than it did just a few weeks ago when these teams last met. Running back Miles Sanders appears set to make his return after injuring his knee in the team's Week 6 loss to Baltimore. Sanders is averaging 6.1 yards per carry on 71 rush attempts this season. Along the offensive line, Lane Johnson was a limited participant in practice this week, meaning his status for Week 10 remains up in the air. However, fellow tackle Jack Driscoll practiced fully and appears ready for Sunday's rematch. Additionally, wide receiver Alshon Jeffery is on schedule to make his 2020 debut at MetLife Stadium this weekend. Despite all of the injuries, the Eagles still rank 13th in the league with 118.6 rushing yards per game and tied for fifth with an average of 4.9 yards per carry.
"These guys get hit with injuries and then whoever they put out there, they are pretty resilient," assistant head coach/defensive coordinator Patrick Graham said. "When the guys come back, they have a high skill level. You're talking about (Miles) Sanders, these are people with high skill level throughout this league. Obviously, some of your focus has to go to them. On top of that, you have the emergence of the receivers, the quarterback, who is dynamic. Now as a defensive coach, you're looking at all those weapons and you have to take a little bit of attention there, a little bit of attention there. Now your attention is getting spread out for all these players on top of the offensive line, who can block. It makes it more difficult, there's no question."
S Logan Ryan
Logan Ryan has made some key plays for the Giants' defense this season, but none may be bigger than the one he made in last week's win over Washington. With the Giants up, 23-20, late in the fourth quarter, Washington had a 2nd-and-6 from its own 32. Alex Smith threw a pass in the direction of Terry McLaurin, but Ryan stepped in the way and picked it off, sealing the win. Ryan finished the game with six tackles (five solo), two pass breakups, a forced fumble and the interception.
Ryan has done a little bit of everything for the defense this season. After signing at the end of training camp, the veteran safety has played in all nine games, with eight starts. Ryan has registered 53 tackles (41 solo), 1.0 sack, one tackle for loss, three quarterback hits, two forced fumbles, one interception and seven passes defended. What is most impressive about his production this season is the fact that all of it has come while playing free safety, a new position for the 29-year-old. However, despite the lack of prior experience, Ryan and Jabrill Peppers have created a formidable safety duo in the Giants' secondary.
"I think I work extremely hard. I've called myself a safety, but I've never really done it to this extent," Ryan said about switching to a new position this season. "It is my first year at the position full-time, my first year back there in the post. It's my first year doing the same things I do. I didn't have the reps in training camp, I didn't have the reps in OTA's. I was working behind the scenes. I honestly believe with my work ethic and my toughness and my willingness to be great, I think I can be the best safety in football. I'm working on it. I do think I have a ways to go.
"I'm learning from the safety's here. I'm learning from safety's around the league. Two of my best friends are Kevin Byard and Devin McCourty who are all-pro at the position before. I surround myself with people who are really good at it and I watch from everybody. I'm developing my own style on how to do it. I think ultimately my toughness, my work ethic and being fundamentally sounds and my ability to go get the ball, I think is what could make me the best safety in football. I'm going to try my best to do everything I can to be the best safety for the Giants. I'm excited the more reps I get. Every single game I am getting more comfortable at the position."
The Eagles welcomed a key member back to the offense in their last game before the bye. After injuring his ankle in the Week 3 tie with the Bengals, tight end Dallas Goedert returned to the field in Week 8, finishing the game with one reception for 15 yards. More importantly, Goedert was on the field for 84 percent of the team's offensive snaps and did not suffer a setback with his ankle. Following a week off, Goedert should be close to 100 percent healthy for this Week 10 matchup. In the season opener, the third-year tight end caught eight of nine targets for 101 yards and a touchdown. With Zach Ertz sidelined with his own ankle injury, Goedert will likely play an even bigger role in Philly's offense. Ryan will be lining up opposite Goedert a lot on Sunday, one week after helping limit Washington TE Logan Thomas to just three receptions for 28 yards.
View photos of the Giants' active roster as it currently stands.