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Giants vs. Eagles: 10 things to watch

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Everything you need to know about the Week 17 matchup between the New York Giants (4-11) and Philadelphia Eagles (8-7):

Giants can play spoiler. While the Giants have a chance to end the season on a three-game winning streak, Sunday's game represents a lot more for the Eagles. Philadelphia has an opportunity to clinch the NFC East title with a win, which would give them the NFC's number four seed. A loss, combined with a Dallas win over Washington, would give the Cowboys the division crown. While Giants fans may be hoping to ruin the Eagles' playoff hopes, the Giants are more concerned about gaining some momentum heading into the offseason.

"Well, it only changes things if you build on it through the offseason and then play better to start the year," coach Pat Shurmur said. "But, yeah, I think when we have the number of young players that we have going through this for the first, some of them just for the second time, them learning how to win in December is very important so that when we win more games early in the season, it'll be meaningful."

Injury Report. OUT: TE Rhett Ellison (concussion, placed on injured reserve), T Mike Remmers (concussion), TE Scott Simonson (concussion). QUESTIONABLE: CB Corey Ballentine (back), CB Sam Beal (shoulder), LB Alec Ogletree (back).

Saquon needs 89 yards for 1,000. After running for 189 yards last week on his way to a record-breaking performance that earned him the NFC Offensive Player of the Week award, Saquon Barkley sits just 89 rushing yards shy of reaching 1,000 yards on the season. Barkley has reached this point despite missing three and a half games due to a high ankle sprain. If the talented second-year back is able to eclipse the 1,000-yard mark, he would be the first player in Giants history to rush for 1,000 yards in each of his first two seasons. Barkley, however, is more concerned about the team's success than his own.

"It's just numbers," Barkley said. "At the end of the day, we're still, hopefully we'll be 5-11, not a playoff team. So, when my production or the numbers I put up translates to us being a playoff team or in contention to be in the playoffs, then those numbers will matter."

Jones looking to end historic season on high note. Daniel Jones has had a historic rookie campaign. Through 11 games, he has set franchise rookie marks for passing touchdowns (23), yards (2,726), pass attempts (412) and completions (256). Against Washington last week, Jones became the first rookie in NFL history to throw for 350+ yards and five touchdowns with zero interceptions in a game. He joined Fran Tarkenton and Deshaun Watson as the only players in NFL history with three games of four or more touchdown passes during their rookie seasons. Jones needs four touchdown passes to match the all-time rookie QB touchdown record set by Cleveland's Baker Mayfield last year.

Gates gets another start. With Mike Remmers out with a concussion, Nick Gates is set to make the third start of his career and his second at right tackle. In his first start in place of Remmers against the Jets, Gates allowed just two pressures on 54 pass-blocking snaps. When filling in for Kevin Zeitler at right guard in Week 15, Gates didn't allow a single pressure, picked up a key block on Barkley's second touchdown run and earned an 82.1 overall grade from Pro Football Focus. The first-year pro has played well when called upon and will get the chance to prove himself one more time in the season finale.

Golden looks to add to sack total. Markus Golden notched his 10th sack of the season against the Redskins last week, making him the first Giant with double-digit sacks since 2014 and the first Giants linebacker to reach that mark since Lawrence Taylor had 10.5 in 1990. Golden has put together a strong season overall, recording 65 tackles (35 solo), 10.0 sacks, 13 tackles for loss, 27 quarterback hits and one fumble recovery, which he returned for a touchdown. Another year removed from the torn ACL he suffered with the Cardinals in 2017, Golden appears to have returned to his pre-injury form as a force in the pass rush.

"I think just the burst," defensive coordinator James Bettcher said when asked what he has seen that tells him Golden is back to his old self. "The power that he's able to play with. When he rushes and Markus might be the first one to tell you, he's a blood rusher. To be able to have his power back from the lower half of his body and just to be able to have the burst when he might separate from a block and the first two steps off the block, that burst is important for guys like Markus. You can see that back and with that, I think, comes confidence. Confidence comes because you feel good and you're able to do some of things you know you've been able to do in your career. Once he got his confidence going, he's been pretty dynamic."

Slowing down Philly's tight ends. Carson Wentz has targeted his tight ends throughout his career. But due to the injuries the Eagles have suffered at wide receiver, Wentz has looked toward his tight ends even more this season. Heading into Week 17, Zach Ertz leads the team in receptions, targets, yards and touchdowns, while Dallas Goedert is right behind him in all four categories. Ertz suffered a fractured rib last week that will force him to miss Sunday's game. With Ertz out of the Dallas game, Goedert stepped up and caught nine passes for 91 yards and a touchdown while leading the team in targets with 12, twice as many as any other player. Even with Ertz out, Julian Love and the Giants defense must keep a close eye on Goedert and the rest of Philadelphia's tight ends.

Third down conversions. The Eagles are ranked 2nd in the NFL in time of possession (32:53). The biggest reason has been their success on third down on both sides of the ball. Philadelphia ranks 4th in the league in third down defense (34.4%) and 2nd in third down offense (46.7%), and has been even better in both areas over the last few weeks. For the Giants to have success, they will need to extend their own drives by picking up first downs in key situations, while making stops on third down when Philadelphia's offense is on the field.

Howard returns. Jordan Howard had been Philadelphia's leading rusher until a shoulder injury suffered in Week 9 forced him to miss six consecutive games. Howard is set to return to the field for the season finale. The veteran back carried the ball 119 times for 525 yards (4.4 yards per carry) and six touchdowns prior to the injury. Howard will join rookie Miles Sanders and second-year back Boston Scott in Philadelphia's backfield.

Could Sunday be Eli's last game as a Giant? No one knows what the future holds for Eli Manning, but regardless of what happens in the offseason, the 16-year veteran will go down as one of the greatest players to ever put on a Giants uniform. The two-time Super Bowl MVP ranks 7th on the NFL's all-time list in passing yards and passing touchdowns. In Week 15, he started against the Miami Dolphins and led the Giants to victory. He received a rousing standing ovation from the crowd at MetLife Stadium towards the end of that game, and it's safe to say that Manning will receive another big round of cheers from the home fans this Sunday.

"I feel really lucky," offensive coordinator Mike Shula said. "I feel really lucky to be here for a lot of reasons, with our ownership, with Coach Shurmur, with Dave (Gettleman), but especially coaching a guy like Eli. I've coached a lot of really good players. I've been really fortunate to be around, and he is really special for a lot of the reasons that won't ever go down on a stat sheet, in my opinion. The kind of guy he is, the way he handles things, watching him how he is with you all, with his teammates, with coaches, handling the situation earlier this year. It's just unbelievable. I'll never forget it. I've learned a lot from him in all areas of my life."

Giants vs. Eagles Broadcast Info: TV channel, Radio Station and Live Stream


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