NY Giants still in NFC East hunt, despite struggles, entering Eagles matchup

For a team that’s 1-4 on the season, the New York Giants  might not look like a lost cause.

If not for a last-second, 63-yard field goal by the Carolina Panthers in Sunday’s 33-31 loss on the road, the G-Men would be just a half game out of first in the muddled NFC East. With no team sitting above .500, the division is wide open.

The path to salvation continues Thursday night when the Giants host the defending-champion Philadelphia Eagles, who are stuck at 2-3, in the first of two season matchups with their rivals. Here are three keys to the matchup.

Which Odell is it?

Odell Beckham Jr. found the end zone for the first time this season against Carolina — first as a passer, then as a receiver. He’s only going to be expected to score again as a target of Eli Manning, but the Giants probably need him to do just that in order to win.

Beckham’s track record against the Eagles is spotty. He has multiple two-touchdown games and a pair of 100-plus yard performances, but he’s also been limited to 61 yards or less in four of seven matchups. It’s no coincidence that he’s only beaten Philly once before.

Deceptive defeats

While the Giants suffered a heartbreaking, narrow defeat in Week 5, they haven’t been quite so close in their other three losses. Not the case for Philly, which has lost two in a row by a combined five points. 

The Eagles’ problem is that every game has been settled by one score. That’s good news for Big Blue, which showed last week that they can claw their way back into the lead if the score is close enough. 

One major issue for the Giants: Kicker Aldrick Rosas is injured and may miss the game. Can new practice squad signee Marshall Koehn handle pressure kicks if needed?

Hold the line

The Eagles sport one of the most impressive defensive line groups in all of football. Brandon Grahan and Fletcher Cox have been studs for years, and Chris Long and Michael Bennett join them in having great early season performances.

The fact that nearly all of the Giants’ offensive troubles the last two seasons relate in some way to their lackluster offensive line spells trouble. Nate Solder and Will Hernandez should be up to the task on the left, but John Greco, Patrick Omameh and Chad Wheeler must rise to the challenge in order to give Manning enough time to work.

Scott’s prediction

Eagles 24, Giants 21