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Giants-Eagles first look: 5 story lines to focus on for Thursday Night Football

Joe Judge returns home as a head coach for first time

Daily Life In Philadelphia Photo by Paul Rovere/Getty Images

The New York Giants (1-5) face the Philadelphia Eagles (1-4-1) Thursday night at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia. Here are 5 story lines to pay attention to.

Watch out for flying batteries

Giants coach Joe Judge grew up in Philly. He knows that however many fans are allowed into Lincoln Financial Field on Thursday night they won’t treat the Giants kindly.

“I’ll probably buy a helmet too because my in-laws are already buying batteries,” Judge said.

The coach has a long list of family and friends looking for tickets to the game. He has clearly established ground rules.

“My only rule is really anyone who shows up that I either grew up with or have blood ties with, they’ve gotta wear blue,” Judge said. “I respect their love for the Eagles from being in the town, but, hey look, man, you ain’t showing up and cheering against my kids’ Christmas. So, you better put on the blue and cheer for us.”

Only in the NFC East

Whichever team wins Thursday night will tie the Dallas Cowboys for most wins in the division, with only two.

That has led some to think about playoffs even though the Giants opened the season with five straight defeats. Despite the slim chances the Giants have to make the playoffs, there are computer models that show ways a team can win the NFC East with as few as four victories.

“I don’t think anyone in the division needs any motivation to play anyone else in the division,” Judge said. “To me we’re just trying to go 1-0 this week. That’s our goal each and every week.”

Injuries have grounded the Eagles

There was a report early this week that tight end Zach Ertz and running back Miles Sanders of the Eagles will miss Thursday’s game.

They join a monstrous Eagles’ injury list that doesn’t even factor players like offensive lineman Brandon Brooks (PUP list), tackle Andre Dillard (IR), tackle Jason Peters (IR) and tight end Dallas Goedert (IR).

Will Sterling Shepard return?

The veteran wide receiver has been on IR since suffering a turf toe injury in Week 2. Shepard’s status for Thursday night remains up in the air, but the Giants could really use him. C.J Board won’t play after suffering a concussion on Sunday, leaving the Giants with only a hobbled Darius Slayton, Golden Tate and Austin Mack, an undrafted free agent who debuted on Sunday.

Asked about Shepard on Monday, Judge was clearly uncertain.

“Being a walkthrough week for us, we’ll have to go really based on what the trainers tell us. We’ll have to go ahead and look at him,” Judge said. “We’ll see. This could go up to a pregame workout. We’re not sure. We’ll see where he’s at throughout the week.”

The Giants have designated that Shepard for return from IR. That does not mean he is automatically added to the 53-man roster. It means the 21-day clock the Giants have to make a decision has officially begun.

Who’s at left tackle?

Starting and splitting time with Andrew Thomas because Thomas was disciplined for being late to a meeting, Matt Peart was impressive last Sunday against the Washington Football Team.

Thomas also played well Sunday, but struggled during the season’s first five games. Judge was coy about his offensive line alignment. The Giants have Thomas, Peart and right tackle Cam Fleming.

“We’ll go through practice these next couple of days and kind of see how everything shakes out,” Judge said. “We expect all of them to be at the game and we expect all of them to play.”