The Eagles are what they are, but that does not mean the Giants have to call them what they are.
It is accurate to call the Giants’ next opponent the Super Bowl champion Eagles, a designation that is difficult for the Giants to utter aloud.
“I haven’t referred to them as that, I don’t think,’’ Eli Manning said, and laughter ensued.
Good line by Manning, who always tries to put a positive spin on the most negative reality.
This is no time for levity around the Giants. There are only so many opportunities a team can have to save its season, and time has run out here. Even amid the get-out-of-the-gates swoon of the entire NFC East, Thursday night’s meeting with the Eagles at what could be rain-soaked MetLife Stadium feels like a line of demarcation. If the Giants win, all four teams in the division will have two victories heading into the full slate of Week 6 games. If the Giants lose, it is sole possession of last place and a record (1-5) that signifies it is getting close to making plans for next year.
Every team in the NFC East lost last week. They all cannot continue to lose.
“I guess you can say that, but none of it matters if we don’t go out and win,’’ Giants defensive tackle Damon “Snacks’’ Harrison said. “No matter what the other teams in the division are doing, we still have to handle our business. We’ve got a job to do this Thursday. It could be a good start for us.’’
The last time these teams tangled, Manning threw for 434 yards and three touchdowns in a 34-29 loss in mid-December, dropping the Giants to 2-12 and moving the Eagles to 12-2. Manning completed 37 of his 57 passes and tossed two scoring passes to a player (Tavarres King) no longer in the league.
It was that performance by Manning that new general manager Dave Gettleman and new head coach Pat Shurmur both identified as the one, upon their study of every game in 2017, that convinced them Manning can still play at a high level. The direction of the franchise was steered in one direction after the new power brokers determined what they saw from Manning that day was worth building around in the present and near future.
Manning is 4-16 in his past 20 starts and finding enough points is the persistent theme to the vast majority of the losses. For the first time in 37 games, the Giants broke through the 30-point barrier in last week’s 33-31 loss to the Panthers, after Manning gave his team a 31-30 lead with 68 seconds remaining with a touchdown toss to rookie Saquon Barkley.
“I’ve been saying from Day 1 since I got here that I believe in this offense, I believe in this team, I believe in the coaching staff and I believe the sky’s the limit,’’ Barkley said. “It wasn’t going to be pretty…