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Week 6 Preview: A Giant Showdown

Posted Jul 4, 2014

The Eagles' final game before the bye will come on primetime in Sunday Night Football as they welcome in the division-rival Giants. The Giants' 2013 season was a mess. After starting the year 0-6, New York managed to win seven of its final 10 games, but the rough start was just too much to overcome. The story of the season was turnovers, all 44 of them. The Giants committed 10 more turnovers than any other team (Detroit and Washington each had 34). Quarterback Eli Manning threw a league-worst 27 interceptions, the running game was almost non-existent and wide receiver Hakeem Nicks couldn't find his way into the end zone.

As a result, long-time offensive coordinator Kevin GIlbride retired amidst speculation of being fired. Nicks has also moved on, signing a contract with the Indianapolis Colts. Those two weren't the only offensive casualties - tight end Brandon Myers, wide receiver Louis Murphy and guard Kevin Boothe have all moved on, but one constant remains. Through the good and band, Manning has been under center. Three times he has been named to the Pro Bowl and twice he has hoisted the Lombardi Trophy. Throughout his 10-year career, Manning has found a way to win when it matters most. He's defeated the Eagles nine times in 20 regular season matchups, throwing 36 touchdown passes and 21 interceptions. He is also 6-3 in regular season games that he has started at Lincoln Financial Field.

Manning's supporting cast has a much different look than it has in the past few seasons. Familiar names like Victor Cruz, Rueben Randle and Jerrel Jernigan remain on the roster, but as mentioned, Hakeem Nicks is now an Indianapolis Colt. To help fill in his void the Giants turned back to an old friend. After spending the past two seasons with San Francisco, Mario Manningham has returned to the Giants’ wide receiving corps. New York also used its first-round pick on LSU wide receiver Odell Beckham.

The Giants have also upgraded their backfield, adding running back Rashad Jennings to the mix. Jennings spent 2013 with the Oakland Raiders, and he was the only Eagles' opponent to individually rush for at least 100 yards, picking up 102 yards on the ground in Week 9. The Giants also added Heisman Trophy finalist Andre Williams in the draft. New York signed guards John Jerry and Geoff Schwartz and tackle Charles Brown to help beef up the offensive line that struggled to protect Manning last season. With former Green Bay assistant Ben McAdoo taking over as offensive coordinator, there's no telling exactly what the Giants’ offense will look like until the season gets underway.

The Giants also went out and revamped their defense during free agency, especially their secondary. Former Eagle Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie was the Giants biggest pickup, inking a five-year deal with the team. After two forgettable seasons in Philadelphia, DRC had a huge bounce-back season in Denver, intercepting three passes and emerging as Denver's best cover man as the Broncos rolled to the AFC title. New York also brought in cornerback Walter Thurmond, a role player from Seattle's 2013 Super Bowl defense, as well as inside linebacker Jameel McClain, defensive end Robert Ayers and cornerback Zach Bowman. The biggest departure of note for the Giants is Justin Tuck, who signed with Oakland this past offseason. Tuck may have been getting up there in terms of age, but he has recorded 7.5 sacks against the Eagles in his career, and the Eagles must be glad to not have to worry about him twice a year.

The last meeting between these two division rivals at Lincoln Financial Field came in October of 2013. The Giants came away with a 15-7 victory in what became one of the lowest points of the’ Eagles season. The Giants kicked field goal after field goal, and thanks in part to injuries to Nick Foles and Michael Vick, the Giants led 15-0 late in the fourth quarter. With about four minutes to play, a snap sailed over the head of Giants punter Steve Weatherford, and Najee Goode recovered the ball in the end zone for the first Eagles touchdown of the game. The Eagles would get one final chance to tie the game, but a Matt Barkley desperation pass was intercepted, and the Giants left Philadelphia with just their second win of the season in eight games.

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