New York Giants, Philadelphia Eagles: Three storylines for the season finale

0
16
Saquon Barkley, Carson Wentz

The New York Giants’ upcoming Week 17 matchup with the Philadelphia Eagles will include three storylines fans need to watch.

Jason Leach

The New York Giants‘ 2019 season will come to an end on Sunday when they take on the 8-7 Philadelphia Eagles at MetLife Stadium.

It’s been another disappointing season for Big Blue and its fans. Ownership will have to make some difficult decisions in the offseason. This includes whether or not to bring back head coach Pat Shurmur and general manager Dave Gettleman.

But the Giants have an opportunity to end 2019 on a high note and knock Philly out of playoff contention. If the Giants defeat the Eagles and the Cowboys defeat the Redskins, Philadelphia won’t be playing January football.

Considering the Giants haven’t defeated their division rivals since Nov. 6, 2016, eliminating the Eagles would bring joy to the fanbase.

In addition to the possibility of playing spoiler, there are three storylines to pay attention to when Sunday rolls around.

Will the Giants be able to cover the Eagles tight ends?

In their Week 14 matchup, one the Eagles won, 23-17, in overtime, star tight end Zach Ertz had a field day. The veteran caught nine passes for 91 yards and two touchdowns, including the game-winning two-yard score in overtime. Second-year tight end Dallas Goedert was also effective, catching three passes for 41 yards.

The Giants’ inability to cover tight ends is well documented. With Philly’s wide receiving corps depleted, quarterback Carson Wentz will once again look to heavily involve his tight ends in the passing game.

The Eagles will be without Ertz so the Giants must figure out a way to slow down his backups. Those individuals will likely see the bulk of Wentz’s targets. If the Giants find a way to contain the tight ends, they stand a great chance of upsetting Philly.

Can Saquon Barkley reach 1,000 yards?

With 911 rushing yards on the year, Saquon Barkley is just 89 yards away from his second consecutive 1,000-yard season. At the start of the campaign, the thought of Barkley reaching that plateau would seem like a modest number. Fans were expecting him to achieve anywhere between 1,500 to 2,000 yards this season.

Nonetheless, Barkley missed a full three games due to a high ankle sprain. He additionally had an eight-game stretch where he never rushed for more than 83 yards in any game. Therefore, reaching 1,000 yards would be an accomplishment.

In their meeting earlier this season, the Eagles held Barkley in check, limiting him to just 66 rushing yards on 17 carries. With a chance of rain on Sunday, expect the Giants to feed Barkley the ball early and often. This will wear down the Eagles defense and help Barkley surpass the 1,000-yard mark.

How will Daniel Jones finish his remarkable rookie season?

It’s safe to say that Dave Gettleman made the right decision to take Jones with the No. 6 pick in the draft. Even the most optimistic Jones supporter couldn’t have envisioned the success Jones had this season.

In the Week 16 ousting of the Redskins, Jones had the best game of his young career, completing 28 of his 42 throws for 352 yards and five touchdowns. More importantly, he didn’t turn the ball over once.

Sunday will mark the first time he’ll face the Eagles. He missed the previous Week 14 matchup due to a mild high ankle sprain.

“They’ve got a good front. A couple (of) guys, really the whole front, they are experienced guys, guys who can make plays,” Jones said of the Philly defense on Thursday. “Then, guys in the backend, too, who are physical and make a lot of plays. So, they are a good defense. But I thought in the first game, we played well, we did a lot of good things. We’ll hopefully be able to do a lot of those things again and improve on them.”

The Eagles defense has struggled against the pass for much of this season. They’ve allowed 26 touchdown passes this year, a statistic that’s tied for 21st in the league.

How Jones does against one of the team’s biggest rivals will be important for his overall devolvement moving forward.

FOR FULL STORY ON STANDARD WEBSITE: New York Giants, Philadelphia Eagles: Three storylines for the season finale | Elite Sports NY