The Giants had an extra day to prepare for their bitter NFC East rivals, the Philadelphia Eagles, and they certainly needed it considering how beat up they are.
As many as 11 players made the injury report this week, meaning there may be a lot of unfamiliar names having important roles on Monday (8:30 p.m., ESPN). That could be a daunting task for the Giants (3-2), as the Eagles (2-3) are coming off a 39-17 Week 5 win over the New Orleans Saints in which they finally pieced together a complete game.
New York is coming off its own thrilling comeback victory last week and is riding a three-game winning streak. The Giants will look to go 2-1 in divisional play and truly put the birds in bind in the NFC East.
Metro takes a look at key scenarios and storylines to watch for during this pivotal matchup:
1. Next men are up.
Head coach Tom Coughlin often likes to spout his “next man up” mantra, and this Monday night may be the most accurate use yet this season. Their injury report is as lengthy as it’s been all season – and that’s not even counting the usual suspects like wideout Victor Cruz and defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul. Among the key names on the injury report are cornerback Prince Amukamara (pectoral) and linebacker Devon Kennard (hamstring), who are both out for this game. Other banged-up players include defensive end Robert Ayers Jr. (hamstring), linebackers Jonathan Casillas (calf) and Jon Beason (concussion), cornerback Trumaine McBride (illness/groin), and wideout Odell Beckham Jr. (hamstring). All are important cogs, but are also listed as questionable, meaning there’s a 25-percent chance of playing. If Big Blue doesn’t have the services of these guys, it’s going to be a long and unpleasant trip to the City of Brotherly Love.
2. Can Big Blue generate a pass rush?
The Giants are bracing for Philadelphia’s breakneck pace, so it’s imperative they disrupt that timing and uptempo attack by applying as much pressure as possible on quarterback Sam Bradford. That’s a very attainable goal considering the Eagles’ signal caller has been dumped seven times this season and the offensive line has struggled to gain consistency. Bradford has also shown a penchant for giving up big plays this season, as last week he threw two red-zone interceptions in the first half alone. If the Giants can generate a pass rush with their front four and flood the secondary with seven defenders, they may be able to rattle Bradford and make him commit timely errors. Sacks may be the glamour statistic, but equally important are the cumulative hits, hurries, and disruptions of a quarterback’s rhythm. If those stats compile, it would mean a long night for Bradford.
3. Start fast and furious.
Philadelphia scorched the Saints for 39 points, but that might’ve been an aberration as it was 15 more points than their next closest output. During their two wins, they were up at the half, 24-7 and 10-7, respectively, but in their three losses they totaled just three points in the first half. The Giants have no problem putting up points, as their 132 total points is fifth in the conference. Should Big Blue get off to a fast start, it’ll apply pressure on Bradford and Co., take the air out of the hostile crowd, and also neutralize Philadelphia’s primary objective of getting their stable of running backs incorporated early into the contest. The Eagles are at their best when they get DeMarco Murray and Ryan Mathews going, so the Giants will need to get up early and take that element out of the equation.