Eagles-Giants Preview: Which Team will End Losing Streak?
PHILADELPHIA - It’s difficult to know what to make of the return to the New York Giants’ starting lineup quarterback Eli Manning.
Will Manning experience a one-game rebirth and recapture the magic that made him a two-time Super Bowl MVP?
Will he show that, yes, he still has some shelf life, tempting quarterback-needy teams in the offseason to maybe take a chance on him as a starter again?
Or will Manning show that New York head coach Pat Shurmur was right, that he has nothing left in his the 38-year-old body and that retirement is just a few weeks away?
The answers could be known by early Tuesday morning when the Giants (2-10) play the Eagles (5-7) at Lincoln Financial Field on Monday night.
Manning is taking over for rookie Daniel Jones, who was ruled out for Monday’s game with an ankle injury. The veteran quarterback will inherit an eight-game losing streak.
“He’s a competitive guy who’s been doing it a long, long time,” said Eagles cornerback Jalen Mills. “We all know we’re going to get his best shot.”
Manning’s best shot has never seemed to be enough against the Eagles. He hasn’t beaten them since 2016 and is 10-22 in his career, including two playoff losses, against Philly.
Of course, Manning could find success handing off the ball to running back Saquon Barkley, who played well in his first two career games against the Eagles last season.
Barkley finally seems like he is rounding back into form after suffering a high ankle sprain that kept him out of three games earlier this season. He has 544 yards on 137 carries (4.0 yads per carry) and 38 catches for 291 yards.
Jones has had his share of struggles in his first season, especially with fumbles, but at least he brought a dual threat dimension to the offense, with the ability to run. He is New York’s second leading rusher with 241 yards and a 6.2 yards per carry average.
Manning is as immobile as they come but able to get the ball out quickly. He will, however, be without tight ends Evan Engram (foot) and Rhett Ellison (concussion). Engram is the Giants’ leading receiver with 44 receptions for 467 yards and three touchdowns.
"It's going to be important to cover quick and get to the quarterback quick and knock their timing off of their passing game when Eli is back there, because he's such a timing quarterback,” said Eagles defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz.
As difficult as it is to tell what Manning will do on Monday, it is as equally challenging to figure out what the Eagles will do.
They are mired in a three-game slide that has left them two games below .500 Still, they control their own playoff destiny, thanks to a Dallas Cowboys team that has proven to be as inept as the Eagles.
Head coach Doug Pederson put the players in full pads for the first time since coming out of their bye week in early November.
“We're coming off a long break from Sunday to Thursday, and so I just wanted to put the pads back on and just work through some things that day,” said Pederson. “Got a great response.
“That's the thing, you get to see their reaction. I stand up here and go, ‘Hey, guys, we're going to be in pads today,’ and they're like ‘Uhhh,’ or they are like, ‘Ahhh’ type of thing. Guys responded extremely well. I was really pleased, really happy with the way we practiced on Thursday. Energy level was high.”
Whether that translates onto the field remains to be seen.
PREDICTION: Eagles 26, Giants 23