The New York Giants will look to end their season on a high note with a fourth straight win this Sunday when they host their division rivals, the Philadelphia Eagles. It has been undoubtedly a disappointing season for New York, but if they manage to win this game, they will end the season with a four-game winning streak, and will have exacted a measure of revenge against the Eagles, who humiliated the Giants in the earlier meeting in Philadelphia, shutting New York out, 27-0.
Both the Giants and the Eagles want to end this season on a high note by winning. The Giants have likely been the streakiest team in the league this season. They started off losing their first two games, and many people wrote them off at that point, and suggested that the changes made on offense in the off-season had failed. But New York then rebounded with three straight wins, and scored at least 30 points in each of those wins, and they suddenly looked like a legitimate contender once again. They followed that up with a horrendous seven-game losing streak that ended their playoff hopes. Both their offense and defense looked terrible at times during that stretch.
Now, however, New York has rebounded with three consecutive wins, although they were mostly playing for pride, having been eliminated as early as Thanksgiving Day. Still, the offense has looked explosive yet again, scoring over 36 points in two of those games, and winning each of the three contests by more than ten points. Eli Manning has been playing some solid ball, looking more comfortable than he has in a long time. He will almost certainly get the 19 yards needed to earn his fourth ever season with over 4,000 yards in passing. The defense has looked significantly improved as well, allowing on average just under 16 points per game during that stretch, and making the offensive production stand up. With a win in the regular season finale, the Giants can have a significant boost of confidence for the off-season, as well as something to build on for next season.
As for the Eagles, they looked like a serious contender for much of this season, until a late season swoon knocked them out of playoff contention. Just around a month ago, Philadelphia had blown away the Cowboys in Dallas before a national television audience, and had one of the best records in the NFC. Some people were so impressed, that there was talk of not just a division title, but possibly for a Super Bowl run. Expectations were high in Philadelphia.
Then came a sudden and ill-timed collapse, as the Eagles suddenly could not win anymore. Their first loss did not come as a shock, as the Seahawks and their elite defense came to Philadelphia and shut down the Eagles normally dangerous offense. But the next weekend, Dallas avenged their loss on Thanksgiving by defeating the Eagles in front of their own home fans on a nationally televised game, and suddenly, Philadelphia’s chances of even making the playoffs, let alone winning the NFC East, looked slim. A loss last weekend at Washington, a team that was on a six-game losing streak and had not won since October, as well as one of the worst records in the league, cemented Philadelphia’s epic, late season collapse. The loss officially knocked the Eagles out of the playoffs.
Now, both the Giants and the Eagles want to at least end this disappointing season on an upswing with a win. If Philadelphia’s LeSean McKoy can have the monster running game that he had the first time that these two teams met, it could prove to be a long afternoon for the Giants, who have one of the worst rushing defenses in the league. But since that earlier meeting, the Giants offense has come alive, particularly the suddenly deadly combo between Manning and rookie wide receiver Odell Beckham, Jr., who is putting up some incredible numbers. The Eagles secondary will have their hands full trying to contain the Giants passing attack. Eagles head Coach Chip Kelly has already ruled out the possibility of putting in reserves for evaluation, with the message being that he clearly wants to win this last game of the season.
By Charles Bordeau
Photo by Keith Allison – Flickr