It positive was 84 days in the past, when a rookie named Jake Elliott aimed and fired a dagger by the hearts of the Giants and their season. Certain, the Giants had been already Zero-2 once they met up with the Eagles in Philadelphia, so it isn’t as if this was a crossroads second for a group that was dropping earlier than and since.
There was, nevertheless, a quick second in time when the Giants appeared — dare we are saying it? — good, even nice. Dominant. As if they may shed the shackles of their powerful begin and grow to be the group most everybody anticipated them to be.
It didn’t occur, in fact, and the arrival of the Eagles on Sunday at MetLife Stadium is merely a reminder of what was and possibly by no means might have been. These groups with diametrically totally different data — 11-2 for the Eagles, 2-11 for the Giants — intermingle for a number of hours earlier than going their separate methods. The Eagles, even with the potentially-crushing harm to quarterback Carson Wentz, look to clinch home-field benefit all through the NFC playoffs. The Giants, staggering to the end, have to cleanse 2017 from their system then begin making the powerful choices as to who runs the present.
As a refresher:
The Giants, again on Sept. 24 at Lincoln Monetary Discipline, trailed 14-Zero within the fourth quarter earlier than Eli Manning threw three landing passes in a span of 5:27. Two of the scoring passes went to Odell Beckham Jr. — bear in mind him? — and after the primary one he went into his now-infamous dog-urinating celebration (ah, good instances).
The Giants had been forward 21-14 however, in fact, couldn’t maintain the lead. There was a 36-yard cross interference penalty on Eli Apple, an odd delay-of-game penalty on guard John Jerry, a holding name on Ereck Flowers, an terrible 28-yard punt by Brad Wing and a horrible defensive gaffe when Apple collided with Janoris Jenkins, permitting Alshon Jeffery to make a 19-yard catch with one second remaining to arrange Elliott’s spectacular 61-yard game-winning area purpose as time expired.
The Eagles used the impetus from that victory to make their assault on the league — it was the beginning of a nine-game successful surge that not solely catapulted them to the highest of the NFC East however really sealed a very early clinching of the division title. For the Giants, the last-second loss was the continuation of a dreary theme — they fell to Zero-Three en path to Zero-5, en path to 1-Eight, en path to 2-10 and the firings of head coach Ben McAdoo and common supervisor Jerry Reese.
“Yeah, it’s undoubtedly two totally different paths since then,’’ Eagles coach Doug Pederson mentioned, earlier than sending up the requisite warning flare when pivoting to the Giants. “However pay attention, you placed on the tape and also you watch. Hear, guys aren’t quitting, guys aren’t shutting it down, guys are nonetheless enjoying onerous and nonetheless attempting to win.’’
Eagles operating sport vs. Giants linebackers
In case you are a fan of the Giants, you may wish to avert your eyes. Damon “Snacks’’ Harrison continues to be maybe the most effective run-stopping defensive sort out within the NFL, however he can not do it by himself. The Eagles are the second-best dashing offense within the league, averaging 143 yards per sport— exceptional manufacturing, contemplating they misplaced Darren Sproles early within the season.
This can be a committee method. Jay Ajayi, acquired in a commerce with the Dolphins, shares the load with LeGarrette Blount and Corey Clement. Since arriving from Miami in early November, Ajayi is averaging 7.Zero yards per carry for the Eagles. This might get ugly in opposition to this assortment of Giants linebackers, with accidents ravaging the place. Devon Kennard — the final man standing — Kelvin Sheppard and undrafted rookie Calvin Munson can be challenged, not solely in finishing up their assignments but in addition in really making the performs wanted to have any likelihood to decelerate this floor assault.
Nick within the Foles: This can be first begin at quarterback for the Eagles for Nick Foles for the reason that 2014 season, as he takes over for Carson Wentz (torn ACL). The Eagles had been a Tremendous Bowl favourite with Wentz. Can Foles get them there? Sensible groups do sensible issues, and giving Foles a two-year, $11 million contract to function the backup now seems to be extremely sensible. He’s not the athlete or runner that Wentz is, however Foles is a tall, correct passer and he definitely is aware of the offense.
“A part of my messaging to the group is that one man can undoubtedly make a distinction in your soccer group, however the truth is we’re nonetheless a group,’’ coach Doug Pederson mentioned. “And as a bunch of males, we’re enjoying properly as a group and that’s what we will’t lose sight of. It’s loads of nice particular person efforts, clearly, and sure, one man could make a distinction. However on the finish of the day, it’s about group and it’s my job to verify everyone understands that.’’
Head video games: Is that this the final begin for Eli Manning in a Giants uniform? Nicely, in all probability not, however you by no means know. Making the transfer to rookie Davis Webb by throwing him to the Eagles was by no means going to occur. Subsequent week in Arizona? Keep tuned. This can be a depleted and dismal offense, however no less than Manning continues to suppose the sport. He modified what was purported to be a third-down run right into a cross play to select up a primary down final week in opposition to the Cowboys.
“I confirmed it to the group, as a result of our defensive guys might admire what Eli did and made it powerful on their protection,’’ Steve Spagnuolo mentioned.
Evan almighty: Evan Engram has been a beacon of sunshine on this darkish season. The rookie leads the Giants in receptions (55), receiving yards (623) and touchdowns (6). He leads all NFL rookie tight ends in all three classes. He’s not going to succeed in the rookie tight finish normal set by Jeremy Shockey in 2002 (74 receptions, 894 yards) however he has been an exemplary first-year participant, regardless of working in a dysfunctional offense. He has taken the hits, not missed any time and competed at a excessive stage.
Group participant: On the floor, it definitely seems Rhett Ellison made little influence in his first season with the Giants. Keep in mind when his acquisition was offered as an enormous profit to the operating sport? Nicely, it has not labored out that method however, wanting again, maybe he has gotten misplaced amid all of the dropping. He has 15 receptions — he averaged 10 catches per season his first 5 years — and his two touchdowns are a profession excessive.
“Rhett’s been excellent,’’ offensive coordinator Mike Sullivan mentioned. “As a participant, as a competitor, as a pacesetter, as a man that does all of the grunt work, all of the issues that aren’t essentially flashy. We’d like to have 53 like him.’’
Across the league, all eyes can be on Nick Foles as he takes over for injured Carson Wentz. The Eagles might in all probability win this sport with Ron Jaworski or Donovan McNabb at quarterback. Exhausting to even conjure up a situation by which the Giants maintain it shut.
Eagles 31, Giants 13