The New York Giants (7-4-1) continue their gauntlet through the NFC East this week with a visit from the Philadelphia Eagles, who own the NFL's best record at 11-1.
It will be Big Blue's third of four consecutive games within the division. The first was a loss in Dallas on Thanksgiving, and the second ended in a tie with the Washington Commanders, their first since 1997. Coach Brian Daboll met with the media on Wednesday before his team began on-field preparations for the rivalry game at home.
Here is everything you need to know:
🔹 On the injury front, Daboll doubts safety Xavier McKinney (hand) will return this week.
🔹 Rookie offensive lineman Josh Ezeudu did not practice due to a lingering neck injury. "He's fighting through it. We'll see, I think he's getting better. But he's fighting through it."
🔹 Defensive lineman Leonard Williams, who left in the second half of Sunday's game against Washington, is also dealing with a neck issue. "I'm not going to put him in Ezuedu's category, but it's the same thing. Resting today, we'll see where he's at tomorrow." Ezeudu, a third-round pick, has not played since Week 11.
🔹 Ben Bredeson, who started the first seven games at left guard, continues to progress. He returned to practice at the end of last month but has yet to make it to game day. "I think he's better than he was last week. Last week leading into the week, I was kind of uncertain then we watched him practice. Figured give him another week, maybe another week after that but we'll see where he's at today."
🔹 Daboll was asked what stuck out to him when he turned on the Eagles tape. "Everything," he said. "Their defensive line, their receivers, their quarterback, their offensive line, and their offensive line is as good as it gets. It starts with (center Jason) Kelce. Gets everything set, has been a fantastic player for a really long time. I think (quarterback) Jalen (Hurts) is operating an extremely high level and (wide receiver) A.J. (Brown), (wide receiver) DeVonta (Smith), I know (wide receiver) Quez (Watkins) got injured there we'll see where he's at. The running game is really good. Their defense, their corners, they can rush the passer and stop the run, There's a reason why they're 11-1. They're a well-rounded team."
🔹 Daboll has a connection with Hurts dating back to their time together at Alabama. In 2017, Daboll returned to collegiate coaching for the first time in 18 years when he became the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach for the Crimson Tide, which finished 13-1 and earned its 17th national championship.
"I would just say this, not to go back then but just knowing the player, knowing the person, he's as competitive and mentally tough as I've ever been around. He's a great teammate. Unfortunately, we have to play them twice a year, very happy for the success that he's had. Again, he's a special young man to me, and he's just a mentally tough guy. Nothing rattles him, he doesn't get rattled. So, he had this happen, this happens, he doesn't worry about all that stuff. He just focuses on what he needs to focus on, the short time I was around him. I haven't been around him for five years or whatever it is. But just as a young college person, you have a great appreciation for his mental toughness, his competitive stamina, and his leadership."
🔹 Sunday will be the Giants' first game against James Bradberry since they released the 2020 Pro Bowl cornerback in May. "That's the NFL. People are one place, then they're the next place. Both those guys Bradberry and (Darius) Slay are really good corners. They can play zone, they can play man, they're experienced. I think they read routes well. They're two hard guys outside to throw the ball against."
🔹 Even when the Giants were winning six games in the first seven weeks, Daboll preached the importance of consistency because he knew there would be adversity at some point. That time is now as the Giants are 1-3-1 in their last five games. So, despite the stakes with the playoff hunt in full swing, he's not treating the preparation any different.
"Not just because I've been coaching in so many games, it's just the most important game for that week. I think I've been in 30 playoff games, a national championship, five Super Bowls, nine AFC championship games, been in some big games throughout my career as a position coach and as a coordinator. I don't think you can let one game be bigger than any other game or one mean less than any other game. It's the most important game because it's the next one. On top of that it's the leader in our division and pretty much the leader in the NFL. So, certainly as a competitor you want to play and compete against the best and they're the best."
🔹 Daboll said Eagles coach Nick Sirianni "sees the game the right way. Came from a football family just outside of Buffalo. Just a really good football coach with really good players. They've got a good organization." Sirianni got his first position coach job (wide receivers) in the NFL in 2012 under Daboll, who was the offensive coordinator of the Chiefs at the time.
🔹 At this stage of the season, Daboll said playoff scenarios are "absolutely" part of his analytics meetings. "Those meetings last just as long as watching those plays (in film study), even more so. So, there's a lot of things, particularly at this time of year right now that you're talking about. There is every game, but then as it goes later and later into the season, certainly things like that pop up."
View rare photos of the historic rivalry between the New York Giants and Philadelphia Eagles.