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Spadaro: 6 storylines to follow as Eagles host Giants on Christmas Day

Jalen Hurts
Jalen Hurts

When the NFL made the 2023 regular season, the expectation was that both the Eagles and Giants would have an NFC East title to play for on Christmas late afternoon. The season hasn't gone that way for the Giants, a 5-9 team out of the playoff picture.

It's still a big one for the Eagles, who play New York for the first time this season, when the ball kicks off at 4:30 PM on Monday at Lincoln Financial Field. Storylines? We've got some for you as the teams play the first of two games in three weeks.

1. It's all about the turnover ratio

The Eagles were among the league leaders in turnover ratio last season and now, well, It has been a struggle all season. Philadelphia is at -6, and that is just not what Head Coach Nick Sirianni preaches, nor what his team has practiced in 2021 and 2022. What makes the statistic even more important in this game is that the Giants, even with all the challenges they've had throughout the season, are in plus territory in the turnover department.

We can talk about a whole slew of statistics for this game, but the turnovers are always the ones that mean so very much. Keep an eye on it once again.

2. How real is this Tommy DeVito guy?

This has been a nice story and, from a New York standpoint, the football version of Linsanity, when Jeremy Lin took over the Knicks a decade ago. DeVito has come from nowhere to inject some life into the Giants' offense and he deserves a lot of credit for that. He isn't a big guy and his arm isn't known to be strong, but he has been effective for the New York offense with a 91.5 passer rating, 8 touchdowns and 3 interceptions. Keep in mind that in his first action against the Jets, he had -1 yard passing.

It all came crashing down against New Orleans game last Sunday when DeVito was sacked 7 times and the Giants converted 2 of 16 third downs. Philadelphia is looking for some success on third down and this is a great opportunity to put something together.

3. Have respect for the Giants and their defensive front

Giants Defensive Coordinator Wink Martindale likes to bring pressure. Loves to bring pressure. Will bring pressure. He is going to blitz the Eagles and that helps what the Giants do up front and that combination has had some success this year. New York features second-year man Kayvon Thibodeaux off the edge — he has 11.5 quarterback sacks — and veteran Dexter Lawrence inside. New York has talent up front so the Eagles, minus Pro Bowl left guard Landon Dickerson, have some work to do in this game. Don't let the Giants win at the line of scrimmage.

4. Matt Patricia in his second game calling the Eagles' defensive shots

What is going to be different about the Eagles' defense the second time Matt Patricia is calling the signals? We're going to find out as Patricia becomes more and more comfortable in the understanding of the team's personnel and the impact a new perspective can make on the game.

Patricia and the Eagles want to be better in all areas of defense, particularly on third down and taking the football away. Limiting X plays is important, obviously, and the Eagles want to make sure they slow down the likes of Giants tight end Darren Waller, a big-play talent who returned from injury last week and had 4 receptions for 40 yards on 6 targets. Running back Saquon Barkley is the go-to player in the offense and it's going to be interesting to see how Patricia plays him and slows his multidimensional skills.

Take a look at the all-time best moments from the 184 meetings between the Eagles and Giants as they get set to square off for the 2023 regular-season finale.

5. Quarterback Jalen Hurts looks to get off to a great start

Don't let the setback be greater than the comeback. After a tough loss on Monday night in Seattle, Jalen Hurts is back on the horse and looking to start fast against New York and start some positive momentum for an offense that wants to finish this regular season hot, hot, hot, and head into the playoffs on the right note.

If the Giants are blitzing a lot, Hurts will be in position to make quick decisions and get the ball to his playmakers in position for large gains. Hurts will be on alert mentally against the Martindale blitz from multiple platforms understanding that New York is pretty darn good at taking the football away.

6. A win is critical to everything for the Eagles

There is still a ton to play for — the Eagles have designs on the NFC East title, on the highest seed they can earn in the postseason, and on finishing the regular season strong heading into the playoffs.

This is the team's third Christmas Day game and it can come with a lot of distractions — family, friends, a lot of holiday spirit out there. But the Eagles understand what is happening in the big picture — they need a win. They've lost three straight games and they need a win in this game, so that's what Monday is all about. The black jerseys are going to look great and all that, but it's a business-first mentality for this football team and a game they have a lot on the line to win.

The Eagles will wear their black alternate uniforms with the Midnight Green helmet on Christmas Day when the Giants come to town. Check out the Eagles repping the black uniforms!

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