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What to watch for: Giants vs. Eagles storylines


Get to know the Giants' opponent for their Week 17 matchup against the Philadelphia Eagles

  1. Finding an identity.**


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Last week the Giants gained a season-high 514 yards -- 65 more than their second-best in Week 4 at Washington -- against a Rams defense that had not allowed a touchdown in its previous three games.  Coach Tom Coughlin was asked a day after the game if his offense has found its identity during the Giants' three-game winning streak.

"Well, we have got to that direction," he responded. "I think we know what we want and we know how we want to play and how we have to play."

*2. The rematch. *

The first leg of the season series against the Eagles on Oct. 12 in Philadelphia was as tough as it gets for the Giants. Not only were they shut out, 27-0, by an NFC East rival after winning three straight games, but the Giants also lost star wide receiver and offensive co-captain Victor Cruz, who tore the patellar tendon in his right knee while leaping for a pass in the end zone at Lincoln Financial Field. It began a seven-game losing streak for the Giants, who went more than two months in between victories.

3. Eli goes for 100.

Eli Manning is one win away from his 100th overall as the starting quarterback of the New York Giants. Since making his first start on Nov. 21, 2004 against Atlanta, Manning has gone 99-78, including eight postseason victories. The two-time Super Bowl MVP is also on the verge of his fourth 4,000-yard season (he currently has 3,981 passing yards) and two touchdowns away from tying his career-best 31 touchdowns, which he set in 2010. And if they hold true, his current 93.5 passer rating and completion percentage of 64.1 would be career highs.

4. Rookies shine on bright future.

From another record-setting performance by Odell Beckham Jr. to Kerry Wynn's two takeaways last Sunday and Nat Berhe's work on special teams, the Giants' rookie class -- drafted or undrafted -- is contributing in all three phases of the game. Add in second-year players like offensive tackle Justin Pugh, defensive tackle Johnathan Hankins (7.0 sacks) and defensive end Damontre Moore (5.5 sacks), and the Giants wish there were more games left in 2014. But they will just have to wait until 2015.

"We have a lot of young players playing big roles on this team and getting better every week," rookie linebacker Devon Kennard said. "I think that is a huge testament to the organization and the guys that they have brought in, and to us players and the impact we want to have and to the future we want to have for this organization."

5. Fifth finale?

The Giants' season won't see the dawn of New Year's Day, but they are looking to win their regular-season finale for the fifth straight year. The last time they did not was a loss in Minnesota at the end of the 2009 season.

"If you don't learn and grow from the way this season went, then it was a waste all around," Pugh said. He later added, "I am looking forward to going out there Sunday, playing a good game and ending the season on a high note."

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