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Giants-Eagles Week 16 storylines: What is going on with the Eagles, Tommy Devito, more

Let’s begin getting ready for the Giants vs. Eagles on Christmas Day

Philadelphia Eagles v Seattle Seahawks
Jason Kelce
Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images

Way back when NFL schedule makers built the 2023-24 schedule they probably thought two New York Giants-Philadelphia Eagles games in the last three weeks, including one in a late afternoon slot on Christmas Day, was a good idea.

As it has panned out, maybe not.

Anyway, here are four storylines to follow for the Giants-Eagles Week 16 meeting.

What now for Tommy DeVito?

The New Orleans Saints brought the Giants’ three-game winning streak with undrafted free agent rookie quarterback Tommy DeVito at the helm to an end last Sunday, holding the Giants to a pair of field goal as New York lost, 24-6.

DeVito will remain the starter over Tyrod Taylor, which I wrote on Tuesday is absolutely the right decision by Brian Daboll with the Giants at 5-9 and realistically playing for the future and not for the playoffs.

DeVito has had his moments, highlighted by the game-winning drive against the Green Bay Packers, but the more information the Giants can get about DeVito entering the offseason the better. And if he is going to be part of the quarterback room in 2024, and there is no reason to think he won’t, the more snaps he plays now the better.

DeVito has swagger. His teammates love him. The fans love him. He can deliver the ball on target when he has time, and can make an occasional play with his feet. He has completed an acceptable 64.4% of his passes and has a nice 91.5 passer rating with eight touchdown passes to three interceptions.

There are warts, though. He has been sacked on 17.7% of his dropbacks, and a number of those have been on him for holding the ball too long. He has an average time to throw of 3.07 seconds, 36th of 41 quarterbacks with at least 125 dropbacks this year. Maybe that improves with experience.

DeVito scores a 22.9 in ESPN’s QBR stat. Daniel Jones had a career-worst 38.3 before being injured, and Tyrod Taylor sports a 40.5 QBR.

Among 29 qualifying quarterbacks who have averaged at least 20 of what ESPN calls “action plays” per game, the lowest QBR, a 31.6, belongs to Zach Wilson of the New York Jets. DeVito is nearly nine full points below Wilson by this metric.

The offense is averaging 16.2 points with DeVito. That’s better than without him, but still not great.

Can he do more? Can he handle more? Can he get to his second and third reads quicker? The more he plays, the more the coaching staff will know.

One thing we know for sure. DeVito-mania is not slowing down in the Giants’ fan base.

Grounded Eagles?

What the heck is going on in Philadelphia? The defending NFC East champions have lost three straight games after a 10-1 start and Eagles’ fans are not happy. The defense hasn’t looked very good, and Eagles head coach Nick Sirianni replaced defensive coordinator Sean DeSai with Matt Patricia. Quarterback Jalen Hurts questioned the team’s commitment after Monday’s loss to the Seattle Seahawks.

I will be looking forward to the answers to my ‘5 questions’ this week from Brandon Lee Gowton of SB Nation’s Bleeding Green Nation.

Who’s kicking field goals?

Randy Bullock somehow managed to take a divot on FieldTurf Sunday against the New Orleans Saints and suffer a hamstring injury. Jamie Gillan filled in and easily made a 40-yard field goal, but having the punter kick field goals is not something the Giants want.

Daboll didn’t offer any update on Bullock’s injury Monday, but best guess is that Bullock won’t be kicking on Christmas Day. That means practice squad placekicker Cade York, signed off the Tennessee Titans’ practice squad earlier this year, will likely be the kicker against the Eagles.

It’s been a weird journey for York. The Cleveland Browns selected him in the fourth round of the 2022 NFL Draft, and he made 24 of 32 field goals (just 75%) as a rookie. The Browns cut him this summer and he landed on the Tennessee practice squad. The Giants signed him to their 53-man roster after Graham Gano was injured, but bypassed him for Bullock and the two eventually swapped spots on the practice squad and 53-man roster.

Now, York could be in line to get his chance. Will it be for one week or for the remainder of the season?

Washington Commanders v New York Giants
Tre Hawkins making a tackle.
Photo by Dustin Satloff/Getty Images

Lineup adjustments?

The Giants, as I said above, made the right decision with DeVito. I’m sure they would like to get second-year offensive tackle Evan Neal on the field some if his troublesome ankle will allow.

How much will the Giants push Dexter Lawrence, who has been on a pitch count the last two games due to a hamstring injury? Does it make sense to back off Saquon Barkley a bit and save some wear and tear?

What I wrote Tuesday after young players I would like to see get some opportunities the rest of the way is worth repeating. Here it is:

On the offensive side, I would like to see more of fifth-round pick Eric Gray and second-year offensive lineman Marcus McKethan.

Can Gray be the No. 2 back behind Saquon Barkley next season? Or, part of a rotation if the Giants move on from Barkley this offseason? He has only played 45 offensive snaps, and that isn’t a big enough sample size to judge.

I didn’t think the Giants were fair to McKethan early in the season. They threw the 2022 fifth-round pick into the lineup when he wasn’t ready, having missed all of last season and a good chunk of training camp due to last season’s torn ACL. I wouldn’t mind seeing him get some action now, with virtually a full season of practice reps under his belt.

Defensively, Jordon Riley and Tre Hawkins III are players I would like to see.

Riley, the seventh-round pick who generated buzz in the preseason, played 18 snaps against the Saints as Dexter Lawrence continued to deal with a hamstring injury. I want to see more.

Hawkins had opportunities early in the season after a stellar training camp. It didn’t go well, though, and Hawkins has mostly been buried on the bench in recent weeks when Adoree’ Jackson has been healthy. Jackson, though, is a free agent and I think chances are he moves on in the offseason. The Giants, then, would need a replacement. Has Hawkins developed enough to deserve consideration to be that replacement?