In any other year, the New York Football Giants’ 27-17 win over Philadelphia on Sunday would be something to build on. It would be a sign that the team is growing under first-year head coach Joe Judge and learning how to win against teams other than Washington. In 2020, the victory is those things, but it is also a key win in the NFC East race because of how terrible everyone is.
The difference between the Giants and their flailing rivals is that the Giants are improving, and that can make all the difference in a division that it seems no one wants to win. In fact, New York would be the clear front-runner by now if it hadn’t let that 11-point fourth quarter lead slip away in Philadelphia last month.
Sunday could have been another rough day for Giants fans, but this time around Daniel Jones completed his critical pass that kept the Eagles from getting the ball back late in a one-possession game.
That play set up a Graham Gano field goal to put the game out of reach. I love that Judge and the Giants were willing to take a risk with the lead instead of just relying on the defense to stop Carson Wentz again. They took a similar chance in the first game against the Eagles, but Jones’s ball bounced off of Evan Engram’s fingertips and Wentz threw a game-winning touchdown pass to Boston Scott. This time around, Darius Slayton came up big.
The Giants would win by two scores, but the game was pretty evenly matched throughout. New York jumped out to an early 14-3 lead with touchdowns on its first two drives, but the Eagles scored on their first two drives of the second half to make it 21-17. The key to the Giants holding on was the defense pressuring Wentz and not allowing his wide receivers any separation. That led to Philadelphia failing to convert on third down for the entire game and only going 1-for-3 on fourth downs.
When you look at those conversion stats, it’s kind of amazing that the Eagles scored at all. An effective rushing attack led by Miles Sanders and including a 56-yard touchdown run by Scott kept the Giants from ganging up on Wentz too much.
With three wins, the Giants now have the same amount as the Eagles, but Philadelphia has a tie with Cincinnati and one less game played. That gives the Eagles a two-game edge in the loss column, but the Giants could catch up during their bye week when Philadelphia travels to Cleveland, where they will be underdogs against the 6-3 Browns.
In fact, the Eagles will be likely underdogs for the next month, as after Cleveland they face Seattle, Green Bay, New Orleans, and Arizona before finishing off the campaign with games against Washington and the Cowboys. The Giants only have a slightly easier road with no Saints or Packers on the schedule. They do still have the Cardinals, Seahawks, and three AFC North teams before finishing off against Dallas.
This is all leading up to an NFC East champion with only five wins to speak of. Philadelphia is still in the driver’s seat, but that won’t last long if they don’t spring an upset soon.