If ever there was a time for the Giants to build upon their one-game NFC East lead, that time is now.
Starting with the Eagles (2-3) in Philadelphia Monday night, the Giants (3-2) will play four games in a row against teams with losing records. Half of them are against division rivals.
Such matchups are never easy, but a 3-1 stretch is plausible and would have the Giants looking like the favorites in the East.
Here’s what Big Blue must do in order to get off to the right start in Philly.
Odell or no Odell
Superstar receiver Odell Beckham Jr. (31 receptions, 428 yards, three touchdowns) is dealing with a hamstring injury that flared up near the end of last Sunday’s 30-27 victory over the visiting 49ers. He’s listed as questionable and could be a game-time decision.
If Beckham isn’t ready to go, Dwayne Harris must step up next to Rueben Randle. Harris has been more active in the passing game over the past two games, tallying 11 catches, 123 yards and a touchdown.
Eagles running back DeMarco Murray led the NFL in rushing last season for the Cowboys, but had struggled to start his Philadelphia tenure. In last week’s 39-17 win over the Saints, he got back on track with 20 carries, 83 yards and one touchdown, plus seven receptions for 37 yards.
Over six career games against the Giants, Murray has averaged 5.2 yards per carry. That can’t continue if the Giants want a positive outcome Monday night.
Hold the line
The Eagles’ defense has 11 sacks this year, four of which have come from defensive end Fletcher Cox. The Giants’ offensive line has surrendered just four all season. If they help Eli Manning stay upright, the Giants will be in good shape.