So the Giants are 0-2 entering Sunday's game at Lincoln Financial Field. They're down. They're getting beaten around by the fans and the media in New York. And all of that means what, exactly?
"It means that their backs are up against the wall," wide receiver Torrey Smith said on Wednesday.
A desperate team is a dangerous team. That's a rule of thumb in the NFL and that's what the Eagles see in New York. The Giants have struggled in their 0-2 start with an offense that has not been explosive in the passing game or productive in the running game. The defense, missing key starters on Monday night in a loss to Detroit, has given up some running yards, unusual after ranking second in the NFL against the run in 2016.
But this Giants team still has the components that won 11 games last season and reached the postseason. They have a two-time Super Bowl champion in quarterback Eli Manning. The defense is tough, including a secondary that has all the pieces to shut down a passing attack like the Eagles.
"The playmakers they have in general. They make plays, they have great ball skills and they're very handsy," Smith said. "We're going to have our hands full again."
The Eagles trail 82-86-2 in the all-time series that dates back to 1933 but they've won five of the last six meetings, splitting last season. The Eagles are 18-10 overall against quarterback Eli Manning.
How much does all of that matter? Not a lick. It's a new season. It's an entirely new set of circumstances.
And the players know it.
"What happened last year is important as far as studying what they did and what we did, but we know that the whole year is new," tight end Zach Ertz said. "They're a different team and we're a different team.
"People talking about them being 0-2 and what that means, it's not really reflective of what kind of team they are. They're in this thing, just like we are. We're 1-1. Our goal is to get to 2-1. That's all that matters."
The focus, then, is internal. The Eagles embrace the idea that they open the Lincoln Financial Field season, and they know the fans are going to be amped and all of that positive energy is going to help. But in the end, it comes down to the players executing and the coaches coaching.
said. "It's about how we come out on Sunday and play. It's about how consistent we can be on Sunday. It's about what we do on defense; can we stop their offense from scoring? It's about getting turnovers and giving our offense the ball and putting them in position to score."
This is going to be fun. You hope that both teams feel the urgency and the desperation, understanding the emotion of the day and the implications of the NFC East battle. As the media in New York are singing the song of the Giants' demise, the Eagles understand that they are going to get a fierce battle from a proud team that knows just what 0-3 would mean.
"You can't come into this game thinking, 'Oh, they're 0-2. They're going to lay down.' It's still a long season," cornerback Jalen Mills said. "There are 14 games left in the season. We know those guys are going to come in here and take their shot, especially after two losses. They're going to be hungry for a win. They're going to want one. At the same time, we've got to protect the Linc.
"We want to win the East for sure, that's our mindset. Going against a division opponent, you want to win, regardless of their record or regardless of ours."
So there you have it, the mindset from the locker room. The Eagles know what this game means. A rivalry is renewed, with some early-season positioning in the NFC East at stake, and nothing that has happened before matters.