The Giants (0-2) at the Philadelphia Eagles (1-1) at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, Sunday, Sept. 24 at 1 p.m.
As if the heat wasn't already turned up high enough on the Giants, it should be near 90 degrees with lots of sun and not much wind.
WHAT IT MEANS
The Giants should be used to this by now, since they've been 0-2 four times in the last five years, but it is absolutely a must-win game. The season isn't over if they lose, but it pretty much is. History shows it's nearly impossible for a team to start 0-3 and make the playoffs. In fact, since 1990, only five of 168 teams that started 0-3 (3 percent) ended up making the playoffs, and it hasn't happened since 1998. A win and the Giants are right in the thick of the division, though, so this could be one enormous emotional, one-game swing.
PLAYER TO WATCH: Giants LT Ereck Flowers
Flowers and Ben McAdoo seem to think that the struggling left tackle did some good things against the Lions on Monday night, though pretty much everyone else saw otherwise. He not only gave up three sacks to Ziggy Ansah (who had two sacks in 13 games last season) but he gave up plenty more pressures and was little help in the run game. McAdoo is "absolutely" sticking with him, in part because he has little choice, but that's a dangerous play against the Eagles' tough defensive line (eight sacks in two games). The good news, I guess, is that Brandon Graham (2 ½ sacks) usually plays the other side, so Flowers should draw Vinny Curry (0 sacks). But the way the Eagles come after the quarterback, he's still going to have to vastly improve his play to give QB Eli Manning a fighting chance.
MATCHUP TO WATCH: Giants WR Odell Beckham, Jr. vs. Eagles CB Jalen Mills
Beckham was extremely limited in his debut against the Lions Monday night, but more importantly he came through the game fine and believes he can play even more against the Eagles. The Giants, of course, need him to do just that because their offense has been a pop-gun attack without him. The running game doesn't exist and the other receivers aren't getting consistently open, so they need Beckham to save them the way he has pretty much every year since he's been in the league. Now, the Eagles had traded for CB Ronald Darby this offseason and he would've likely drawn Beckham, but he's out with a dislocated ankle. That leaves Beckham against his former LSU teammate Mills. If Beckham is anywhere close to 100 percent it's not a fair fight, so expect Mills to get plenty of help.
The Giants can't be this bad, right? … Right?!? … OK, that's still to be determined, but it's hard to imagine this offensive slump is going to continue much longer. Yes, the under-20-point streak has gone on for eight games and maybe that's the ceiling for this offense. But 13 points in two games is just ridiculous and it's a stretch to believe that it's going to stay that bad for long. Just having Beckham a little healthier should help.
The real problem is that the Giants do not have a recent history of playing well in Philadelphia, and they know it. They are also in dangerous territory, reeling this early in the season when they opened just three weeks ago with big Super Bowl dreams. And they're hurting. Their bad offensive line is in more flux with the injury to right tackle Bobby Hart (which will likely force Justin Pugh to move there from guard again). Beckham may be back, but rookie TE Evan Engram's status is in doubt. The same goes for CB Janoris Jenkins, whose mysterious ankle injury kept him out Monday night and out of practice all week. There are just too many holes and too many problems to expect that they'll go down to Philadelphia and fix it all at once. … Eagles 20, Giants 13.
MY RECORD: 1-1
MY RECORD WHEN PICKING THE GIANTS TO WIN: 0-1
MY RECORD WHEN PICKING THE GIANTS TO LOSE: 1-0