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Giants Keys to Victory vs. Eagles

eli-center-122116.jpg's Dan Salomone highlights three keys for the team to come away with a "W":

Win and they're in.

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That's the mindset of the Giants, who have no interest in relying on other teams to clinch a playoff berth. After wrapping up a 7-1 record at MetLife Stadium, they finish on the road with a Thursday night game against the Eagles and a New Year's Day finale against the Redskins.

"We know it's a rivalry game, and there is a lot of tradition between both teams," coach Ben McAdoo said of the Week 16 matchup. "It's going to be a physical battle. Obviously, anytime you play at home, you have an advantage. I'm sure their crowd will be behind them. We just need to focus on our preparation and going in playing the best game we can play."

With that in mind, here are three keys to victory for the Giants on Thursday night:


The Giants are coming off an efficient offensive performance against Detroit, scoring touchdowns on both of their trips to the red zone and winning the time of possession with 32 runs for 114 yards. Most importantly, they did not turn the ball over. The return of left guard Justin Pugh to the starting lineup can't be overlooked, and the offensive line will need another solid performance on the road against a division rival. The Giants have not won at Lincoln Financial Field since 2013, losing their last two trips by a combined score of 54-7. The Giants allowed 11 sacks in those games.


In their two marquee wins, the Giants held the Cowboys and Lions to a combined 6-for-29 on third down. Dallas went 1-for-15 and Detroit went 5-for-14, bringing Big Blue's third down defense up to No. 3 in the NFL at 35.5 percent. The Giants broke a four-game losing streak to Philadelphia earlier this season because of their success on the money down as the Eagles went 3-for-15. Everyone associates ball control with the Cowboys, who are second in the league with an average time of possession of 32:22. But don't forget the Eagles (32:29) are No. 1 in that department. Get them off the field and give the offense more swings at the plate.


The Eagles traditionally excel on special teams, something Giants fans don't need to be reminded about. This season is no different. Philadelphia is No. 1 in kickoff return average (28.5) with two touchdowns. The outfit is also No. 2 on punt returns (12.9) with a long of 66 yards from Darren Sproles in Philadelphia's Week 9 loss to the Giants.

Dwayne Harris, who leads the Giants with seven special teams tackles and was this week named to his first Pro Bowl as a special teamer, will have his hands full this week. Meanwhile, punter Brad Wing, who just became the first Giant to win back-to-back Special Teams Player of the Week awards since they were first handed out in 1984, will have to be a weapon once again. He has 12 punts inside the 20 over the last four weeks, most of which were downed by Harris.

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