The Philadelphia Eagles (2-3) at the Giants (1-4) at the Meadowlands in East Rutherford, N.J. on Thursday, Oct. 11 at 8:20 p.m.
Right now it looks like a warm, wet and humid day and night. Temperatures should be in the low 70s or upper 60s at kickoff with lots of thunderstorms in the forecast. That explains why the Giants were practicing with water-soaked balls in practice on Tuesday.
WHAT IT MEANS
Well, almost every game is turning into a must-win for the Giants, but given the decrepit state of the division, this one has some added importance. A win and the Giants could finish the weekend just a half-game out of first place in the NFC East. A loss, though, and they're 1-5 and will really be looking at a desperate situation.
Sure, they won't be out of it, but they'll already be 0-2 in the division and looking at the absolute necessity of winning 8 of their final 10 games if they want to make the playoffs. Unless you believe in that miracle, then consider Thursday night to be their last stand.
PLAYER TO WATCH - DE Olivier Vernon
Could this finally be the week he plays? The Giants have certainly sounded optimistic. Then again, they've sounded that way several times before. Regardless, even if he does play, it might be a lot to ask a player coming off a high ankle sprain to rescue a terrible Giants' pass rush. But they need something - anything - to give them a boost.
They have just six sacks in five games, which is atrocious and not at all what anyone expected from what was supposed to be a very aggressive James Bettcher defense. Maybe with a healthy Vernon, Bettcher can be free to unleash some of his other weapons. Or maybe Vernon can get some pressure on his own. He's been a very good player with the Giants, but he's hardly been a sack machine with just 15 in his 28 games.
The Giants need him to turn it up a notch. More importantly, they just need him on the field.
Forget the final score. Do you believe what you saw in Carolina? Were those 31 points by the Giants a mirage, an anomaly, or perhaps a sign of things to come? If that was the Giants' offense finally kicking into gear and they can sustain it, they are capable of hanging with almost any team in the NFL - including an Eagles team that has its own offensive problems.
But other issues remain. For one, the Giants still can't run the ball. Glow all you want about Saquon Barkley, but they're averaging just 75.6 yards per game on the ground, and an astonishing 18 percent of their rushing yards through five games came on one run (Barkley's 68-yard touchdown run). The Eagles have the NFL's second-ranked run defense (66.4 yards again), so don't expect that to change on Thursday night.
Worse for the Giants is that Eagles QB Carson Wentz has been outstanding the last two games (even though both were losses), and he figures to only get better as he continues his comeback. If you assume the Giants won't pressure him - a good assumption based on the first five games of the season - it's hard to see how they'll stop him. Their best hope is that Eli Manning and Odell Beckham Jr. continue their roll, and then maybe the Giants can at least keep up.. … Eagles 34, Giants 27.
MY RECORD: 2-3
MY RECORD WHEN PICKING GIANTS TO WIN: 0-2
MY RECORD WHEN PICKING GIANTS TO LOSE: 2-1.