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Giants Battle Eagles With First Place on the Line

Tonight, the Giants (3-2) head to Philly to take on the rival Eagles (2-3) in New York’s fourth primetime game of the season.

The winner of tonight’s Monday Night Football matchup will have sole possession of first place, so a lot is one the line. Here’s what you need to know before the big NFC East matchup.

Injury Report

As has been the case for most of this season, the Giants are seriously banged up.

WR Victor Cruz (calf), LB Devon Kennard (hamstring) and CB Prince Amukamara (pectoral) have all been ruled out. Mark Herzlich and Jayron Hosley will start for Kennard and Amukamara, respectively.

The Giants’ receiving corps is a little less clear. Cruz is out, while Odell Beckham (hamstring) and Rueben Randle (hamstring) are both questionable after suffering injuries in last week’s game against the 49ers. Beckham returned on the Giants’ final drive, but did not record a catch. Randle did not return at all.

The good news is both have been trending upward, and Randle is expected to play while Beckham is looking at a game-time decision. There’s a good chance both play.

LB Jon Beason (concussion) is questionable, but has been cleared and will start tonight.

DE Robert Ayers (hamstring), LB Jonathan Casillas (calf) and CB Trumaine McBride (groin) are all questionable.

Stopping the Eagles

The dormant Eagles offense finally came to life last week against the Saints, as QB Sam Bradford found his groove and threw for 333 yards, two touchdowns and two picks. RBs DeMarco Murray and Ryan Mathews scored touchdowns, while Murray rushed for 83 yards on 20 carries and Mathews tallied 73 yards on eight carries.

The Saints have had the worst defense in the NFL this season, so those numbers may be a little inflated, but the Giants haven’t been much better. The defense almost blew the game last week against the 49ers, letting the struggling Colin Kaepernick drive his team down the field to take a late-game lead.

The Eagles offense works best when they can beat teams through the air, so the secondary play for the Giants tonight will be key. Without Amukamara, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie will likely be tasked with keeping Eagles WR Jordan Matthews in check.

The front seven will have their hands full with the duo of Murray and Mathews, and with Kennard out and Ayers questionable, expect the Eagles to run the ball plenty tonight.

Change the Script

The Eagles have dominated the Giants recently. Dating back to 2009, the Giants are just 3-9 against the Eagles, losing both matchups last year.

Big Blue will look to change their luck against Philly tonight. The Giants have been red hot, winning their last three games, but the Eagles are proving they are no slouches.

A win means first place for both teams, so expect a hard fought battle. I think the Giants will have a little extra incentive going into tonight’s game, given their recent struggles against the Eagles.

The Verdict

This is a tough one to predict. The Giants are coming off a late-game win over a team they probably should have beaten handily. The Eagles began the season very slow, but may have gotten over the hump last week.

Whether or not Beckham and Randle play could be the difference maker. Even if Randle plays, without Beckham, Eli Manning could have a hard time moving the ball. At the very least, he will lose his deep threat.

I’d say the Eagles are slight favorites even if Beckham plays. But I really get the feeling this is going to be a good, back-and-forth game. I see the Giants defense stepping up on the road and keeping Big Blue in this game until the very end.

Giants 34, Eagles 31

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