Giants Face Make-or-Break Showdown vs. Rival Eagles

The biggest game of the New York Giants‘ season awaits them on Thursday night.

The midweek showdown against the rival Eagles might just be the game that definitively makes or breaks the team’s playoff chances.

Coming on the heels of a last-second 33-31 loss against the Carolina Panthers on Sunday, the Giants (1-4) need to start stacking the wins. As with any team, the key to a Giants revival is their defense. Despite surrendering 33 points in the shootout, Big Blue’s defense has shown through the first five games of the season that it is improved and better than anticipated.

If the defense can get on the same page with an offense that had 432 total yards and three touchdowns against the Panthers, then a turnaround is inherantly possible. Against the defending Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles (2-3) on Thursday night, the Giants will be facing a team that also needs to start ticking off a couple more wins to stay relevant in a tight NFC East.

Everything will be on the line in Week 6, including any hope of making the postseason.

“Every week is a must win,” linebacker Alec Ogletree said on Monday. “We don’t take any week for granted. We want to win each and every week and this is the week that we have to play Philly and it’s a must win for us just because it’s this week. If it was down the road it’d be the same thing. Every week is a must win week for us.”

It was a 63-yard field goal at the end of the game on Sunday that doomed the Giants against the Panthers. Now they need to regroup as their collective backs are against the wall.

There is no denying that the Giants will still have to make difficult decisions as they continue to reshape their roster. This isn’t a final or finished product and the record clearly indicates as much.

While the record for the Giants is disappointing, this team is trending in the right direction. Three of their four losses have been by a touchdown or less. Those three losses have come by a combined 14 points.

It all boils down to this: the Giants must play a complete game in all three phases. They’ve yet to have a week where the offense and defense simultaneously have played well. There are also continued concerns about a running game that sputters at times and an offensive line that has had some carryover from last year’s struggles.

In a rebuilding year, it is more about trajectory and performance than actual wins and losses. It still doesn’t mean though that this team isn’t going to push for the playoffs.

A loss likely will doom the Giants to another season without the playoffs. But at this stage in the rebuild, the fact that they are hanging with some good teams and making strides might simply be enough.

“I love my team,” Giants head coach Pat Shurmur said. “I love our team. I think our guys are competitive, they fight, and I think our improvement was on display yesterday. There’s no moral victories, so we’ve got to improve this much more.

“We’ve got to improve 63 yards more and get that victory. That’s what it is. I watched a bunch of guys battle from the first play to the last, I watched a bunch of guys make more plays on both sides of the ball, I watched when we didn’t make it on fourth down our defense go in and stop them, I watched a couple of turnovers on their part, I watched the offense score points, I watched contributions in good ways, but not to the point where we won the game. So, we just keep trying to get in this case, 63 yards better.”

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