PHILADELPHIA (AP)All the Philadelphia Eagles have to do to stop a three-game losing streak is beat a quarterback who hasn’t played in three months and hasn’t defeated them in three years.
It’s not that easy in the NFL.
The Eagles (5-7) will face a familiar opponent when they host the New York Giants (2-10) on Monday night. Eli Manning is expected to make his first start since Week 2 because rookie Daniel Jones has a high ankle sprain.
Manning, the two-time Super Bowl MVP, is 10-20 against Philadelphia. His last win over the Eagles was on Nov. 6, 2016. He’s now a $23 million backup who could be auditioning for his next team in 2020.
”I’m not worried about that,” Manning said. ”I’m trying to go out there, play hard, compete, and try to get a win for the team. The team is obviously going on a long stretch. Guys are working hard and doing everything right and deserve to feel good about the work that we’re putting in.”
Facing Manning instead of Jones is a different challenge for Philadelphia’s defense, which was picked apart by Ryan Fitzpatrick last week. Jones ran zone-read plays and was a threat to scramble. Manning isn’t mobile but he has a quicker release.
”Jones had been holding the ball a little bit in the pocket,” Eagles defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz said. ”We know Eli is not going to hold it. The ball is going to come out pretty quick. Their playmakers stay the same. They have good playmakers and a good running back. It’s going to be important to cover quick and get to the quarterback quick and knock their timing off of their passing game when Eli is back there, because he’s such a timing quarterback.”
The Giants have lost eight in a row but could spoil Philadelphia’s playoff hopes with a victory. Despite their poor record, the Eagles would win the NFC East by winning their last four games.
Saquon Barkley is back on track after missing three games earlier this season with a high ankle sprain. He had his best game last week, rushing for 83 yards on 19 carries against the Packers. He has not had a 100-yard game since the first two weeks of the season against Dallas and Buffalo. Barkley was hurt in the first half against the Tampa Bay in Week 3. The second-year pro had plenty of success against Philadelphia last year. He had 130 yards and a touchdown on 13 carries in the first meeting and added 101 yards and a touchdown on 13 carries in the second one. The TD runs were 50 and 51 yards. He also caught 16 passes for 140 yards and a score.
Eagles rookie running back Miles Sanders followed Barkley at Penn State and the second-round pick is having an impressive first season in Philadelphia. Sanders has 879 scrimmage yards, third-most by a rookie in franchise history. He has 520 yards rushing, 118 away from breaking LeSean McCoy’s rookie record set in 2009.
Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz connected with Alshon Jeffery nine times for 137 yards and a touchdown against Miami. It was the best game for an Eagles wide receiver since Week 1, when DeSean Jackson had eight catches for 154 yards and a pair of TDs of 50-plus yards.
The Eagles also released another wide receiver this week. Mack Hollins was cut after not making a catch in the past eight games despite playing 204 snaps in that span. Jordan Matthews was let go a week ago after leading the receivers in snaps in his last game.
After holding opponents to 17 points or less in four straight games and allowing fewer than 225 yards passing in five consecutive games, the Eagles were embarrassed by the Dolphins. Fitzpatrick had 365 yards passing, three TDs and led five straight scoring drives to erase a 14-point deficit in the second half.
”That game is 100 percent on the defense,” Schwartz said. ”We always feel if you give us 20 points we should win the game, and we certainly got more than 20. We didn’t do our jobs in that game, and as a result we got a loss.”
Giants kicker Aldrick Rosas had missed either a field goal or an extra point in five straight games before getting back in the groove against the Packers. He made field goals of 27 and 45 yards and an extra point in snowy conditions. Rosas made 32 of 33 field goal attempts last season to make the Pro Bowl. He is 10 of 14 this season. The Giants had a new long snapper last weekend. Colin Holba was signed off the practice squad, replacing Zak DeOssie, who went on injured reserve with ankle and knee problems.
Eagles kicker Jake Elliott missed a 49-yard field goal last week, snapping a streak of 20 in a row.
AP Sports Writer Tom Canavan contributed to this report.
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