Eagles aim for NFC East lead against rival Giants
For all of the negatives surrounding the Philadelphia Eagles, they hang their hat on a positive heading into Thursday’s game against the visiting New York Giants.
The Eagles have won seven straight games against the Giants and haven’t lost at home to their NFC East rivals since a 15-7 setback in 2013.
Injuries are once again plaguing Doug Pederson’s club. Philadelphia overcame plenty of those to defeat New York on two occasions during the final four games of the 2019 season. That strong surge allowed the Eagles to win the NFC East title.
The NFC East this season is a punch line, with four teams combined to go a paltry 5-18-1 overall. The silver lining for the Eagles (1-4-1) is they can ascend into first place with a victory on Thursday.
Philadelphia is stockpiling injuries at an alarming rate. Three-time Pro Bowl tight end Zach Ertz (ankle) and running back Miles Sanders (knee) joined the growing list during Sunday’s 30-28 loss to Baltimore.
Running back Boston Scott is expected to see an uptick in workload on Thursday. The 5-foot-6 Scott tormented the Giants in his last encounter, rushing for three touchdowns in the second half of the Eagles’ 34-17 win on Dec. 29.
Carson Wentz threw for 614 yards and three touchdowns in the two games last season versus New York. This season, however, hasn’t started off well for Wentz, who enters Thursday’s game on the heels of being sacked six times versus the Ravens and 25 times in 2020.
“You always got bumps and bruises from games,” Wentz said. “I think you notice them a little bit more on a Thursday night game, knowing you’ve got a quick turnaround. I feel good. I’m fortunate I’m still playing, I’m still feeing great. It’s a quick turnaround. I got no excuses. I’ll be just fine when I get out there.”
Wentz may see some familiar faces on Thursday, as wide receivers Alshon Jeffery (foot), DeSean Jackson (hamstring) and Lane Johnson (ankle) were deemed as limited during Tuesday’s walk-through. Jeffery would be making his season debut.
Cornerback Avonte Maddox (ankle), safety Marcus Epps (ribs) and linebacker Duke Riley (rib) were also estimated as limited while Ertz, Sanders, offensive tackle Jack Driscoll (ankle), defensive tackle Malik Jackson (quad) and safety K’Von Wallace (shoulder) did not practice.
While New York recently has been dominated in the series, a win on Thursday would put the Giants (1-5) a half-game behind Dallas for first place in the division.
Daniel Jones rushed for 74 yards in New York’s 20-19 victory over the Washington Football Team on Sunday. The second-year quarterback is getting it done with his legs, rushing for a team-leading 204 yards and a 7.6-yard average.
“Yeah, I think it helps the running game, opens things up for backs and helps the passing game, too,” Jones said about his willingness to tuck the ball and run. “… When my number is called to run it, I’m certainly excited for those opportunities. You’re seeing what this offense can do, and we need to continue to improve, continue to execute.”
Jones may see the return of wideout Sterling Shepard, who has begun practicing after being placed on injured reserve with an ailing toe.
“He’s an extremely explosive guy, he’s good in and out of cuts,” Jones said of Shepard. “I think he’s as good of a route runner as there is in the league with what he can do in getting open and then catching the ball. You can trust him to separate from guys. He’s a tough guy to cover one on one.”
Running back Dion Lewis (hand) was estimated to be a full participant in practice for the second straight day on Tuesday. Wide receiver Darius Slayton (foot) and cornerback Darnay Holmes (neck) were limited, while wide receiver C.J. Board (concussion), defensive back Adrian Colbert (shoulder) and linebacker Tae Crowder (hamstring) did not practice.
–Field Level Media