The New York Giants can end their 2019 season on a high note if they ruin the Philadelphia Eagles season in Week 17.
EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ—The New York Giants’ disappointing 2019 season will finally come to an end on Sunday when they take on the (8-7) Philadelphia Eagles at MetLife Stadium.
Following the game, there could be major changes in store for the Giants. Head coach Pat Shurmur and general manager Dave Gettleman are on the hot seat, and it’s been reported that co-owner Steve Tisch wants to make major changes.
The Shurmur/Gettleman regime has been a disappointing one as the team is 9-22 over the last two seasons. Shurmur and Gettleman’s fate might be decided on Sunday, but, fortunately for the duo, their team has a shot to end the Eagles’ playoffs hopes.
A Giants win coupled with a Dallas Cowboys victory over the Washington Redskins would eliminate the Eagles from playoff contention and crown Jerry’s team as divisional champs.
Heading into a season, no wants to play the role of spoiler at the end of the season. But if the Giants can eliminate the Eagles and end their six-game losing streak to them, it will end the disastrous season on a high note.
Both teams come into this game dealing with significant injuries and the game could be decided in the final moments just as their Week 14 matchup did when the Eagles won in overtime 23-17.
Here’s what the Giants will need to do to spoil the Eagles playoff chances:
Cover Dallas Goedert
Covering opposing tight ends has been an issue for the Giants for over a decade. The Eagles will be without their Pro Bowl tight end Zach Ertz who is nursing injuries to his back and ribs. Ertz torched the Giants in their previous matchup, catching nine passes for 91 yards and two touchdowns.
The Eagles have a very capable backup tight end in Dallas Goedert, who is second on the team in receptions 54, and has 542 yards and five touchdowns. With Ertz out and the Eagles wide receiving corps depleted, Carson Wentz will rely heavily on Goedert on Sunday, especially on third downs, and it’s imperative the Giants cover the tight end.
Attack the Eagles secondary downfield
The Eagles defense has been vulnerable, giving up big plays in the passing game all season long. In the Week 14 matchup, Eli Manning had success against the Eagles secondary in the first half, highlighted by a 55-yard touchdown pass to Darius Slayton.
At this stage of Manning’s career, Daniel Jones is a better passer than him, and Jones needs to take chances downfield by throwing to Slayton and the rest of the receivers.
Stop the run
There’s a good chance of rain on Sunday, which means both teams will look to establish the run. The Eagles gained 118 yards on the ground on 32 carries in the last matchup and will look to have similar success on Sunday.
Leonard Williams has helped improve the Giants run defense, but it will take a total team effort by the Giants to slow down Miles Sanders and Boston Scott.
Last week, Daniel Jones had his first game without a turnover. With the possibility of the game being played in sloppy conditions, Jones and the rest of the Giants have to make sure they don’t turn the ball over and give the Eagles a short field to work with.
Feed Saquon Barkley the ball
After struggling over his first seven games, after coming back from a high ankle sprain, Saquon Barkley has looked like the best running back in football over the last two weeks, averaging 150.5 yards on the ground.
The Giants offense goes as Barkley does and even though the Eagles have the third-best run defense in the league—giving up 88 yards a game—Barkley needs to have at least 20 carries on Sunday.
The Giants are playing at home against an Eagles team that has been decimated by injuries to key players, especially on offense. Although the Eagles will be highly motivated to win and wrap up the NFC East, Jones and Barkley should provide enough offense to get the Giants the win.