Giants will have tougher task on defense than last meeting with Eagles as key starters return

Scott Thompson
·3 min read
Alshon Jeffery
Alshon Jeffery

The Giants are once again looking to break their losing streak against their division rival on Sunday, as the Philadelphia Eagles come to East Rutherford for the team's second matchup of the season. An Evan Engram dropped pass would've iced a win down in Philly, but the Giants blew their fourth quarter lead in stunning fashion. 

They will look for some revenge this time around, but it's most likely going to be a much tougher task. 

The Eagles got stronger. 

Injuries have hampered the entire roster this season, but none more than the offense. Key players have been dropping like flies, and after experiencing these mass losses in recent seasons, it's almost second nature for the Eagles to rely on their roster depth.

But two key offensive stars should be available for head coach Doug Pederson on Sunday. The first is WR Alshon Jeffery, who is expected to make his season debut after suffering a Lisfranc injury prior to the start of the year. The injury report also listed a calf injury for him, but either way, he was a full practice participant all week.

The Eagles have done well to give Carson Wentz some viable options in the pass game, especially Travis Fulgham stepping up in that area as well as Greg Ward Jr. But with Jeffery finally back to go along with those two and rookie Jalen Reagor, who returned himself just recently, the wide receiving corps is almost entirely at full strength.

That's not what the Giants saw a few weeks back, which means the secondary needs to be on top of their game. James Bradberry & Co. have been playing well recently under DC Patrick Graham, and it was on display against Washington last week with multiple pass breakups and interceptions galore (defense had five total turnovers in the win). They will certainly have their hands full with this crew at MetLife Stadium.

But that's not all for the Eagles. Their top running back option, Miles Sanders, is also expected to throw his pads on this week. He's been out with a knee injury but was upgraded to full practice later this week. Pederson hasn't given the call at all on his game status, but the expectation is the Penn State product will be out there rushing.

That will be up to the defensive front to stop Sanders -- and the rest of the Eagles' backfield -- to prevent any rhythm in the run game. The Giants did a good job last time out stopping Boston Scott and others from getting good ground yards, with 96 total rushing yards for Philly at the end of the day. But Sanders is a different beast, one that can bust out big plays when he gets the ball in his hands at any given time.

It will be a big challenge for the Giants, who have actually been improving every week. Right now, they have a Top 10 overall defense in the league, so they should be up for it. Beating a division rival and getting closer in the NFC East division race is even more incentive.

But the Eagles won't be making anything easy for them on Sunday, especially now that they finally have their weapons back on the field.