By Kevin McGuire
With their playoff hopes squashed last weekend, the Eagles take to the road one final time to wrap up the 2014 season against the New York Giants. The Giants had their playoff hopes dashed much earlier in the season, but look to end the year on a high note with some promise for 2015. After being embarrassed by the Eagles earlier this season, the Giants hope to pick up revenge on the Birds the way Dallas and Washington already have.
The Giants enter the final week guaranteed to have a losing season with a record of 6-9, but they enter the finale with a three-game winning streak. New York has gone 2-3 in NFC East play this season, with both wins coming against Washington.
Giants on Offense
The running game may not be producing much for the Giants, but the passing game has taken flight with the emergence of rookie wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. Eli Manning is just 19 passing yards shy of a 4,000-yard season for the fourth time in his career. Manning is also one touchdown shy of his second season with 30 touchdown passes, and he has a chance to have his lowest interception total since 2008. The Giants have found a scoring touch lately as well, scoring at least 30 points in each of their three most recent games.
Giants on Defense
The Giants continue to struggle against the run, which would likely mean a big day to come from Eagles running back LeSean McCoy. The Giants rank 30th in the NFL against the run, allowing 133.2 yards per game. They do bring pressure on opposing quarterbacks with regularity. New York enters the final week of the season ranked fourth in the NFL in total sacks with 43 sacks (the Eagles are second with 49, trailing only Buffalo with 50). The Eagles racked up 448 yards in a 27-0 shutout at home earlier this season, but the Giants should be a tougher team this time around with a bit of revenge on the mind with nothing on the line for either team in the final week of the season.
Giants Players To Watch
Odell Beckham Jr., wide receiver: The rookie out of LSU has certainly come of age since the last time the Eagles and Giants clashed. Beckham Jr. has provided many highlights during what should be a runaway rookie of the year caliber season. He leads the Giants with 1,120 yards and 11 touchdowns this season.
Jason Pierre-Paul, defensive end: The leader of the defensive line, Jason Pierre-Paul leads the Giants with 10.5 sacks. The Eagles kept JPP under wraps with just four tackles in the mid-October meeting, but he enters this week with a sack in four straight games.
The Eagles may have had their playoff hopes dashed last week, which could lead to a lackluster performance on the road against the Giants to close out the season. If either team is going to be more likely to play for pride, it should be the Giants after being shut out by the Eagles earlier this season, 27-0. The Giants have developed the offense the last few weeks and now appear locked and loaded to take advantage of a weak Eagles secondary.
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Kevin McGuire is a Philadelphia area sports writer covering the Philadelphia Eagles and college football. McGuire is a member of the FWAA and National Football Foundation. Follow McGuire on Twitter @KevinOnCFB. His work can be found on Examiner.com.