The New York Giants are now fresh off a bye, perhaps an ill-timed break in the NFL schedule for a team that is coming off consecutive wins. But Sunday (1 p.m., FOX) the Giants do face a divisional opponent in the Philadelphia Eagles who, after a strong start, have lost three of their last four games.
It is a battle of 4-3 teams in a game that, in a month’s time, might just go a long way towards helping to sort out the NFC playoff picture.
The Bye Busters
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Teams coming off a bye are often susceptible to sluggish play and slow starts, a trend in the NFL in recent years. The Giants know this all too well, losing two straight last year after their Week 11 bye and losing immediately after their bye week in 2014.
They are helped by the fact that this is against arguably their biggest rival, meaning that they should be up and focused for this one.
“It’s a big game. It’s a division game. Right now, we’re thinking about the next game which is our most important game,” center Weston Richburg said. “It’s against the Eagles and it’s a division game. It’s going to be very, very important for us.”
Fool’s Gold or Rookie of the Year?
A couple weeks ago, CBS Sports analyst Bart Scott made waves calling Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz’s strong start to his rookie season “fool’s gold.” The Eagles are definitely in a slump, losers of three of their last four games, and Wentz is shouldering some (but not all) of the criticism for their recent drop in form.
His touchdown numbers are down in the Eagle's losses (six touchdowns in their four wins, three touchdowns in their three losses) but his completion percentage is actually up in those three losses.
“It's felt pretty smooth for me. Coming from North Dakota State, we did a lot of pro-style schemes and I did a lot of things that translated to the game in the NFL,” Wentz said. “So, for me, it was a pretty smooth transition. It's been a lot of fun. I've had a lot of fun; I've been very fortunate. A really good supporting cast, really good coaches around me. It's gone pretty well.”
Two years ago, Victor Cruz’s 2014 season (and subsequently his 2015 season) came crashing to a halt on Oct. 12 in Philadelphia. That patella tendon tear in his right knee even threw this season into doubt as it appeared throughout much of the offseason that the Giants' wide receiver’s career might be over.
Instead he has rebounded for a solid 2016.
In six of seven games this season, Cruz has registered multiple catches and he had five receptions for 50 yards two weeks ago in the win over the Los Angeles Rams in London. He hasn’t scored a touchdown since Week 1 but his play has been a bright spot where there was once much doubt about his NFL future.