1. TOP OF THE NFC EAST
No professional sports league changes its complexion from game to game quite like the NFL. Two weeks ago, the Giants were coming off a pair of fourth-quarter lapses to begin 0-2 for the third consecutive season. But they plugged away, rattling off wins against Washington and Buffalo before a thriller over San Francisco for their third victory in a row. The Giants stand at 3-2 and on top of the NFC East with the three other division rivals all sitting at 2-3. The Giants now look to take the momentum on the road as they get set to face the Philadelphia Eagles on "Monday Night Football" in Week 6.
2. AVOIDING LAST YEAR
As early as the locker room celebration late Sunday night, coach Tom Coughlin reminded his players of the nearly identical situation they found themselves in last year. They started 0-2, won three in a row, and went into Lincoln Financial Field to face the Eagles in primetime. They will try to avoid the last season's outcome. The Giants allowed eight sacks en route to a 27-point shutout loss, the Eagles' first in 18 years. Big Blue dropped its next six games.
"It wasn't a good feeling, we lost that game, and we went there and laid an egg," defensive tackle Johnathan Hankins said. "Hopefully it'll be different this year."
Center Weston Richburg added: "I'm not going to talk about that. I think we've got a great team this year."
3. ANNIVERSARY OF CRUZ INJURY
If last year's result in Philadelphia wasn't bad enough, it is remembered as the game that Victor Cruz tore the patellar tendon in his right knee. A full year has passed since the injury on Oct. 12, 2014, and the star wide receiver has yet to play in a game since as he is now dealing with a separate calf injury.
"Feels like yesterday that it happened and I was going through the rehab process," Cruz recalled last week of his season-ending knee injury. "It wasn't the funnest one, obviously. It's almost been a year and Philly is coming up around the corner as well. The irony is definitely setting in."
- WILL BECKHAM AND RANDLE PLAY?**
While there's no timetable on Cruz, the Giants will await the status of fellow receivers Odell Beckham Jr. and Rueben Randle, who both suffered hamstring injuries in Week 5 against San Francisco. Randle did not return,
but Beckham did come back late in the final drive and drew a key pass interference penalty. The extra day leading up to the Monday night matchup may help them as well as other injured Giants, including middle linebacker Jon Beason, who suffered a concussion on the first drive of last week's game.
"Well, we're going to have to see," Coughlin said of Beckham and Randle. "They're going to have to treat. They've got a couple days when they can be treated as Thursday will be a Wednesday. So we do have a couple of days and we'll take full advantage of that. I did tell our team that the important thing on a weekly basis, week in and week out, is to play these really tough physical football games and come right back and do it again the next week. We need more of our guys on the practice field, we need some consistency with our weeks. I'm hoping that we can get Odell and Rueben at least on a limited basis for the entire rest of the week. I know that's [optimistic], but I would hope we could do that.
5. TALE OF THE TAPE
The Eagles improved to 2-3 last week with a 39-17 victory over the Saints, a game in which 2014 rushing champion DeMarco Murray ran for 83 yards and a touchdown. The former Cowboy had just 47 yards on the ground entering Sunday. On offense, Philadelphia currently ranks 13th in passing (245.8 yards per game), 22nd in rushing (93.2) and 14th in scoring (23.4). Defensively, the Eagles are 26th against the pass (279.6), 10th against the run (96.8), and 11th in scoring (20.6).**