The New York Giants face the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday at Lincoln Financial Field in Philly. The 4-10 Giants are playing out the string, while the 7-7 Eagles are fighting for a wild-card spot. The Eagles are favored, according to our friends at DraftKings Sportsbook. Here are some of the storylines to watch.
Who will be at quarterback for the Giants?
Head coach Joe Judge said the Giants will watch Mike Glennon and Jake Fromm practice and make their decision on who will start later in the week. Judge, typically, has to be playing the competitive advantage card here, right?
This really can’t be a decision at all. Can it?
After three miserable performances in a row during which the Giants averaged just 12.0 points and their only touchdowns came in garbage time against the Los Angeles Chargers, the Giants cannot seriously entertain the idea of starting Glennon again on Sunday.
If Judge is serious that he is focused on the big picture, on the long term, Fromm has to play. After what we have seen this season, there is no chance Glennon could return to the Giants to back up Daniel Jones next season. Fromm? There are obvious limitations to his game, especially in terms of arms strength. What he did in the final drive against the Dallas Cowboys last Sunday was enough to pique interest. The Giants need to give him a full opportunity to show whether or not he should be part of the quarterback room in 2022.
Besides, players aren’t stupid. If Judge were to stubbornly insist on sending Glennon out there on Sunday it wouldn’t surprise me if there were some internal grumbling.
Like I said above, there really is no choice to make.
Short week for the Eagles
Thanks to the NFL moving Philadelphia’s Week 15 game to Tuesday night due to the massive Washington Football Team COVID-19 outbreak, the Eagles will be facing the fully-rested Giants on a short, four-day week.
Unfortunately for the Giants, the Eagles will be riding the high of beating Washington on Tuesday and pulling into what is essentially a three-way tie with the Minnesota Vikings and New Orleans Saints for the final NFC wild-card playoff berth.
There is also this — the Eagles have won four of five, with their only loss coming to the Giants. So, the Eagles might be tired, but they will have plenty of motivation and a juiced-up home crowd to help them.
Making the same mistake twice?
The Eagles are a run-first team, and a far better offensive unit when they remember that. They ran 33 times for 208 yards (6.3 yards per carry) in the Week 12 game against the Giants. Yet, watching the game in the MetLife Stadium press box that day it felt like the Eagles did not run the ball nearly often enough.
The Eagles threw the ball 31 times that day. Yes, a handful of those were on their final desperation drive. Yet, at times during the game it felt like the Eagles were doing the Giants a favor by throwing the ball at all. Jalen Hurts threw 31 times that day, completing only 14 for a measly 129 yards. He was picked off three times. Many of his 77 rushing yards came off scrambles rather than designed runs.
I think you have to expect that the Giants will see an even heavier dose of the Eagles running game this Sunday.
The Giants cannot magically overhaul their roster for the final three games. There are, though, things they should as they point toward the 2022 season. We have talked about Fromm over Glennon, but they have to go further. Here are some ideas.
Play Matt Peart full time. It is time — looooong past time, in fact — for Peart to be playing every snap at right tackle. His two false-start penalties last Sunday were the latest evidence that he has growing to do as a player. Yet, the on-field evidence we have seen tells us that he is already on a par with Nate Solder, and as a second-year player and third-round pick you have to believe the organization thinks he has a chance to get better. He needs to play full time the rest of the way so the Giants have a better idea what their needs are entering the offseason. Peart might be part of the future. Solder definitely is not.
More Jarren Williams and Aaron Robinson. The work of the undrafted Williams and the 2021 third-round pick Robinson in recent weeks as been eye-catching. The more time they spend on the field over the final three games, the better.
More Jaylon Smith. Picking up Smith off the street last Friday was an interesting, no-risk move for the Giants. In 17 snaps on Sunday after just one practice with the team, Smith played well enough to make you want to see more. He may not be the athlete he once was due to the devastating Fiesta Bowl knee injury he suffered, but he is still only 26 and he is a better athlete than either Reggie Ragland or Benardrick McKinney. Give him as many snaps as he can handle and see if he is a player worth bringing back in 2022.
Enough Will Hernandez, already. The Giants simply have to move on from Hernandez, their 2018 second-round pick, after this season. In his fourth season, the Giants had hoped he would be a cornerstone of their line by now. Instead, his play is dragging it down and the Giants have little choice but to move on from him at season’s end. They should just do it now.
If they don’t think Isaiah Wilson is ready to come up from the practice squad and compete at NFL level, and indications are that they do not, then let Ben Bredeson play if he is healthy enough. Bredeson was drafted by the Baltimore Ravens in the fourth round in 2020. The Giants sent a fourth-round pick to the Ravens to get him. Hand and ankle injuries have limited him to six games and one start. Let’s get an extended look to see what the Giants actually have with the 23-year-old.