Doesn't it seem like months since the Eagles played a football game? The country has changed since the sluggish victory over the Dallas Cowboys, and now we can kinda sorta get back to normal and do what we love to do: Obsess about the Eagles. Sunday's challenge is significant against a Giants team that has played far better than its 2-7 record. The Eagles know that all too well, staring defeat in the face on October 22 before a stirring late-game comeback.
We've talked all week about the injury situation, about how the Eagles plan on having the likes of wide receiver Alshon Jeffery, running back Miles Sanders, right tackle Lane Johnson, and potentially Isaac Seumalo for Sunday's game at MetLife Stadium. We all know about the Giants, who have played tougher than tough in the last month-plus after a shaky start. We know what this game means in the NFC East – getting to 4-4-1 is important as the Eagles look to a much tougher schedule ahead.
Within all of that are some stories to discuss …
1. How will the Eagles use Jeffery should he, as expected, play on Sunday? Travis Fulgham isn't going to lose reps. Jalen Reagor is probably not going them, either. Maybe Jeffery just works in with those two on the outside, or maybe the Eagles move Reagor into the slot to share reps with Greg Ward, or maybe the Eagles play with four wide receivers a whole lot against a Giants cornerback group that could be without starter Isaac Yiadom, who was limited in practice on Friday with a calf injury and is listed as questionable for Sunday. If he can't play, an already stretched-thin cornerback group will be stretched even more. The other cornerbacks on the roster include James Bradberry, who is playing at a Pro Bowl level, rookie Darnay Holmes (who has been New York's slot corner all season), five-year veteran Brandon Williams, who was on Injured Reserve and hasn't played since Week 2 in Chicago, and rookie Madre Harper. Interesting.
2. New York gets back offensive guard Will Hernandez, who missed two games on the Reserve/COVID-19 list. The Giants plan to rotate their guards and tackles in this game to get a feel for what's working. The Giants have improved greatly up front in recent weeks and they've run the ball effectively with Wayne Gallman – who has scored a touchdown in three straight games – and Alfred Morris, who both will be the primary backs again with Devonta Freeman moving to Injured Reserve with an ankle injury. The Eagles need to stop the run. A historically strong part of the defense hasn't been quite as stout this season, largely because of misdirection runs and, in the case of the first game against New York, a quarterback like Daniel Jones busting loose for an 80-yard gain. Stop the run, pressure Jones, and that's the formula the Eagles want to employ.
3. Something to keep an eye on around 11:30 Sunday morning is the status of Giants wide receiver Golden Tate, who suffered a knee injury on Thursday in practice. Tate is a threat in the slot, and he scored against Philadelphia in October. He was suspended for last Sunday's game at Washington for complaining about his role, and Tate certainly will come back breathing fire. But his health may not allow that to happen. Still, don't underestimate the Giants' receiving corps with Darius Slayton, Sterling Shepard (who is listed as questionable after practicing on a limited basis all week with an injury), and rookie Austin Mack, who had a big game against Washington with four receptions for 72 yards.
4. New York is strong against the run, ranking sixth in the NFL. This is a good front seven the Eagles' offense sees on Sunday. "They're very good," center Jason Kelce said. "Stout, they play well together, and they're technically sound. We know all about that. It's a tough group to move the football against."
5. How hard is it to play a team twice in the span of three weeks? It's never easy, is it? But for the Eagles, it's just about them, not the Giants. "We both know each other, so it's about us executing," defensive tackle Javon Hargrave said. "We just have to be ready to play. They've got a good offensive line and we'll be up for the challenge, ready to attack."
6. Safety Will Parks was expected to be a big part of the secondary plans, and that is still the case in the games ahead, but his first eight games were all about recovering from injury. Parks saw action in three of the first eight games, playing 84 snaps, after suffering an injury late in Training Camp. Now, he's ready to roll. "I feel good," he said. "I feel like I've played pretty well in the three games and I'm ready to do whatever the coaches want me to do." Parks is part of the idea of having "interchangeable" players in the secondary, a concept the Eagles want to ramp up with the secondary largely healthy.
7. Something to watch on Sunday, as always – the turnover differential. New York had a plus-5 last week in its win at Washington and is now even in the turnover ratio for the season. The Eagles are at -7, better than only the Dallas Cowboys in 2020.