PHILADELPHIA (AP) — The Philadelphia Eagles haven’t won a home game since the New York Giants last visited the Linc.
That was 13 months ago.
The Eagles (3-4) will try to snap a franchise-worst, nine-game losing streak at home when the Giants (1-6) return to Philadelphia on Sunday.
“It’s tough, but we know our fans are still behind us,” linebacker DeMeco Ryans said. “We’re not getting it done at home right now and that’s disappointing not to win games when you have the home-field advantage. We have to do a better job of winning the games at home.”
With first place in the NFC East at stake last week, the Eagles turned in their worst offensive performance since the final game of 2009 when the division was on the line and they lost 24-0 at Dallas. It was the Cowboys who became the first team to shut down Chip Kelly’s prolific offense in a 17-3 win over the Eagles last Sunday.
San Diego and Kansas City have also won games in Philadelphia this year. The Giants haven’t won much of anything, however. They avoided an 0-7 start by defeating Minnesota 23-7 Monday night in Josh Freeman’s nightmarish debut as Vikings quarterback.
“I just wanted to get that winning feeling back,” said two-time Super Bowl MVP Eli Manning, who has an NFL-worst 15 interceptions. “You work so hard each and every week and you try to have a good game. You keep playing and you go and compete hard and try to make plays, and feel like you put a lot of work into it, and not always get the results that you want. If we do the right things, it will come around.”
Michael Vick should be under center for the Eagles after missing the last 2½ games with a hamstring injury. Nick Foles sustained a concussion against the Cowboys after a dismal performance.
Here are five things to watch when the Giants play the Eagles:
RUN STOPPERS: Though they’re only ranked 21st against the run, the Giants have fared well against some of the top backs in the league. They’ve held LeSean McCoy, Jamaal Charles, Matt Forte and Adrian Peterson to under 67 yards rushing each. McCoy, who leads the NFL with 685 yards on the ground, had a season-low 46 yards on 20 carries vs. the Giants three weeks ago.
Former Eagles Mike Patterson and Cullen Jenkins, along with 350-pound Shaun Rogers and Linval Joseph, are the Giants’ defensive tackles.
“You’ve got four big bodies inside that aren’t what we normally see in this league,” Kelly said. “Shaun Rogers is a big dude that can run. (Eagles offensive coordinator) Pat Shurmur said he looks like the state of Rhode Island out there when you look at the tape.”
VICK WON’T SLOW DOWN: Vick had 79 yards rushing vs. the Giants before injuring his left hamstring late in the second quarter. He doesn’t plan to sit in the pocket now that he’s been hurt.
“I’ve pretty much set my mind to play the way I want to play,” Vick said. “I’m giving it everything I got. No holding back. I don’t want to play that way.”
ELI TO PEYTON: No, not his brother. Peyton Hillis ran 18 times for just 36 yards, but had five receptions for 45 yards vs. the Vikings in his first game with the Giants. Hillis, who signed just days earlier, also scored on a 1-yard run. He was an excellent check-down option for Manning coming out of the backfield.
“There’s a lot of room for improvement on my side,” Hillis said. “I think that I did some things to help the team win, and other things, I didn’t.”
GETTING DEFENSIVE: Since allowing 52 points to Peyton Manning and the Broncos, the Eagles have held three straight opponents to 21 or less. The Cowboys were the second-highest scoring team in the league, but Philadelphia held them to 17.
Defensive coordinator Billy Davis asked for trust when his unit was struggling. They’re certainly getting better.
“I feel a lot more comfortable,” Davis said. “I think the players feel more comfortable in the calls. All of it is a growth that’s happening.”
FAMILIAR FOES: There are advantages and disadvantages to playing division rivals twice in a season. Playing each other twice in a month makes it more challenging, especially for the Eagles, who prefer some mystery with their up-tempo offense.
“I think can you stay up late at night going, ‘They did this last game and we did this, and they know that we did this, so we need to change because we think they’re going to do that,’ ” Kelly said. “But they’re in the same room saying the same exact thing.”
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