The New York Giants have a game to play Sunday, one of three they have to get through to finish this gloomy season. Here are five things to watch Sunday when the 2-11 Giants host the 11-2 Philadelphia Eagles.
The climb to 237
The Giants have scored 199 points thru 13 games. That’s a pitiful 15.3 per game, 31st in a 32-team league and just one-tenth of a point better than the 0-13 Cleveland Browns. In the nine games Odell Beckham Jr. has not played in, the Giants have averaged 13.3 points. In the last three games started by Eli Manning, the Giants have averaged 10.7 points per game.
Why all this math? Well, 237 is the fewest points the Giants have ever scored in a 16-game season. They need to get compile 39 points, 13.0 per game over the final three weeks to avoid tying or breaking that record for futility. Whether they can do that is a really good question.
Will Spags open up a little?
In his first game as interim head coach, Steve Spagnuolo played things extremely conservatively. Twice, he punted on fourth down inside Dallas territory. One of those was a fourth-and-3 from the Cowboys’ 37-yard line. The Giants also ran the ball three straight times after a penalty gave them first-and-20 at the Cowboys’ 23-yard line on the first possession of the game.
Spags is in a tough spot, and he’s just doing the best he can to get the Giants through the rest of the season with some sense of organization and professionalism. If he wants a shot at the full-time head-coaching job, though, he’s going to have to be bolder than that. The Giants won’t beat anyone without taking some chances, and if they don’t win some games Spagnuolo has no chance of being head coach in 2018.
The Eagles with Nick Foles
Philadelphia, of course, will have Nick Foles at quarterback Sunday instead of Carson Wentz. How will the presence of the six-year veteran in the lineup change the Eagles’ offense? Foles and the Eagles should be plenty good enough to beat the Giants, but Foles won’t make the dynamic “outside the scheme of the offense” plays that Wentz was capable of making and that could put a dent in the Eagles’ league-best offense.
An appearance from Eli Apple?
The 2016 first-round pick has been inactive for the past four games. Maybe his absence has been injury-related, maybe it’s been more about other issues. Don’t know.
Curious to see if he plays, how much and well he plays if he’s active, and how his teammates react to him. That last one is key, especially after his back-and-forth this week with safety Landon Collins.
Beyond this week, it’s hard to see how Apple has a future with the Giants. Teammates don’t have to like each other, and there are always players in a room with that many people who don’t get along. They do, however, have to trust each other. It’s apparent right now that there are at least some Giants who don’t trust the second-year cornerback. If he wants to choose a public fight with Collins, it is one he will lose.
I honestly don’t see how Apple is giving the Giants any choice but to move on from him after this season, regardless of who is making the decisions.
Davis Webb ... in pre-game warm-ups
Because, for the 14th straight game, it sound like the lengthy throwing session he goes through a couple of hours before every game is the only time the rookie quarterback is going to see the field on Sunday. Yes, I know that unless you are inside MetLife Stadium at the time you won’t see it.
Webb is expected to once again be inactive, with Eli Manning starting and Geno Smith being the backup.