The Giants got to enjoy their Thanksgiving meals with their families off the field this season, as they weren’t one of the six teams that played on Thursday. But you can bet they were watching one game in particular closely.
The Redskins faced off against the Cowboys, and though they wouldn’t necessarily root for either team, the Giants needed Dallas to come away with a victory. Why? It would give another loss to the division leader in the Redskins, while making the NFC East race even tighter than it already is.
Well, the Cowboys got the job done, and now both teams are 6-5 in the division. So did head coach Pat Shurmur like what he saw while finishing his turkey?
“I don’t know. You would have to tell me,” he said after practice on Friday.
Shurmur knows that was the exact result his team needed if the belief the division race is still in reach stands true. And the Giants will have their own divisional opponent to deal with on Sunday to keep that hope alive — the Philadelphia Eagles.
The Eagles haven’t made this matchup much of the back-and-forth rivalry fans are used to seeing in their recent games. Even star WR Odell Beckham Jr. admitted that fact.
“I was really looking back on my career, I was trying to think of the last time we beat the Eagles, and I know that they’ve been giving it to us,” Beckham said. “So, it’s time for that to all turn around. Same thing I’ve been saying. We got to win all six games that we have left. That’s going to be the goal.
“I don’t like losing, period. It doesn’t matter who it is. The nature of it – Philly, Giants. It can’t go on forever.”
The last time Beckham saw a victory against the Eagles came back in 2016 when the Giants defeated their rival 28-23 in Week 9. Overall, since the Giants lost badly on their home turf earlier this season, Big Blue is a lowly 1-8 against Philadelphia since Beckham entered the league in 2014.
But that was then. Now, the Giants find themselves on an upswing, having won their last two games to form their first win streak in two years. As for the Eagles, they’re down in the dumps with back-to-back losses to go with a banged-up defense — particularily in their secondary.
Watching what the Saints wide receivers could do last week against the Eagles, it’s safe to say the matchup heavily favors Beckham, who could eclipses 1,000 yards for the fourth time in his career this week. However, Shurmur knows the Eagles controlled him last time around (six catches, 44 yards).
“But there’s tactics and strategies,” he explained. “Certainly, you can double someone, and we see it all the time. They doubled Odell last time we played them – they’d either cloud him or if it was man-free, Malcolm Jenkins would double him. That’s why it’s important that other guys come alive. There’s ways to still get him the ball, certainly when he’s in a one-on-one scenario, but that’s why it’s a team. If they choose to take one player away, then the other guys got to come alive.”
And how does Beckham feel about this matchup that any top wide receiver would salivate over?
“I don’t care if they’re on the roster, highest-paid, rookie, 12 years in, I’m going to approach it the same way,” Beckham said. “I’m out there to beat them on any route I can, block them when I get the chance, and score on them any time I can. I’m out there to win on everything. It doesn’t matter who it is out there.”
That seems to be the mindset of every Giant at the moment: It doesn’t matter who’s in the way because we need to win every game if we want a crack at the division title.
It was a proclamation Beckham began coming out of the bye week, and the Giants haven’t disappointed yet. But, even though the matchup may lean their way ever so slightly this time around, the Eagles have had New York’s number in this one-sided rivalry.
So is it time for the Giants to get back in the win column, and make it even once again?
“It’s time” Beckham said. “Time’s now.”