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4 things to watch as Giants try for Christmas miracle vs. Eagles

Can Giants break decade-long losing streak in Philly?

NFL: NOV 26 Bills at Eagles Photo by Kyle Ross/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The 5-9 New York Giants aim for their version of a Christmas miracle on Monday at Lincoln Financial Field against the 10-4 Philadelphia Eagles. The Giants have lost their last 10 games at the Linc, with their last victory in Philly coming by a 15-7 score on Oct. 27, 2013.

Here are four things to watch as you settle in for some Christmas Day football.

Dexter Lawrence and the Giants’ defensive line

Star defensive tackle Dexter Lawrence, who has been battling a nagging hamstring injury for several weeks, practiced on Saturday. There is optimism that Lawrence will play, which is the good news for the Giants.

Lawrence, though, will likely once again play limited snaps — which has been the case in the Giants’ last two games.

Rakeem Nunez-Roches has already been ruled out with a knee injury, and A’Shawn Robinson has been playing through and is listed as questionable with a back issue.

That means we might see a lot of second-year man D.J. Davidson, rookie Jordon Riley and even newly-signed Timmy Horne. That might not be a recipe for success against the tush-pushing Eagles, eighth in the league in rushing yards per game.

Turnovers

Perhaps the best thing Tommy DeVito has done in recent weeks is protect the football. DeVito has not turned the ball over in his last four games.

The Giants, in fact, are sixth in the NFL with a +6 takeaway/giveaway ratio. The Eagles, despite being 10-4, are tied for 27th with a -6 takeaway/giveaway ratio.

What we saw during the Giants’ three-game winning streak is that if they win the turnover battle, they have a chance. What we saw last week against the Saints is that if they play even in that department, or lose the takeaway/giveaway battle, they probably don’t.

‘Toast-Berry’?

It was kind of fun to see the Seattle Seahawks pick on former Giants cornerback James Bradberry, completing four passes including the game-winner on their final drive Monday night.

Bradberry, now 30, has not been good this season. A year after the Giants were forced to dump him in a salary cap move and he earned second-team All-Pro honors for the Eagles, Bradberry’s play has fallen off a cliff.

John Stolnis of the ‘Eye on the Enemy’ podcast, told the ‘Valentine’s Views’ podcast that Bradberry is “a step-and-a-half” slower than a year ago.

The numbers show Bradberry with a career-worst 117.7 passer rating against. He was at 51.0 a year ago, after his previous career worst of 93.0 with the Giants in 2021. Bradberry has been victimized for 11 touchdown passes. He gave up just two last season. He is giving up completions on 60% of targets, after surrending completions on 45.3% of targets in 2022.

The Eagles are also without cornerback Darius Slay, who recently underwent arthroscopic knee surgery.

Do the Giants have the weapons, and can they get the blocking, to take advantage of the Eagles’ weakened secondary?

Kicker train

Counting Jamie Gillan, the Giants will be down to their fifth choice at place kicker on Monday when 39-year-old Mason Crosby comes off his couch to kick against the Eagles.

The Giants, stunningly, have put three placekickers on injured reserve this season. Randy Bullock (hamstring) and Cade York (quad) went on IR on back-to-back days last week.

Crosby kicked for the Green Bay Packers for 16 seasons before not being re-signed after last season. He worked out for the Giants alongside Bullock and other kickers a few weeks ago, with the Giants choosing to add Bullock to their practice squad. He spent a week with the Los Angeles Rams earlier this month, but did not kick in a game.

Crosby obviously still has the itch to play. How much does he have left? Crosby was good for the Packers last season, 25 of 29 (86.2%) on field-goal attempts. He made only 1 of 4 from 50 yards or more, though. Only 20.3% of his kickoffs went for touchbacks.