Philadelphia Eagles @ New York Giants, live on Sky Sports
Watch live on Sky Sports Action & Main Event from 12.30am, Friday
By Kalika Mehta
Last Updated: 12/10/18 4:46am
Week Six in the NFL opens with an NFC East rivalry match-up between the defending Super Bowl champions Philadelphia Eagles and New York Giants on Thursday Night Football, live on Sky Sports Action and Main Event from 12.30am. Here's what you can expect...
Neither side will be happy with their losing record through the first five weeks of the season; the Eagles are a surprise 2-3, while the Giants are a somewhat less surprising, but still thoroughly disappointing, 1-4.
Although Eagles star quarterback Carson Wentz has returned to the starting line-up, recovering from the knee injury that kept him out of their Super Bowl run but, while he won his first game back against the Indianapolis Colts, Philly have lost their two games since, with the offense struggling to recreate the form it showed last season.
The Giants too come into this contest on the back of a two-match losing streak. Their own offensive struggles have been well documented - their last-gasp defeat on Sunday to the Carolina Panthers was the first time they'd scored more than 30 points since Week 17 of the 2015 season.
A silver lining for both teams to hold on to is that the Washington Redskins (2-2) and Dallas Cowboys (2-3) have also failed to set the NFC East alight and a win for either outfit on Thursday night could kick-start their season and see them bang in contention.
The Eagles are the eighth defending Super Bowl champion to start a season 2-3. Only one of the previous seven went on to make the postseason, the 1996 Dallas Cowboys.
Stopping Zach Ertz for the Eagles: Though neither offense has showered itself in glory consistently this season, an impressive showing from the Philadelphia tight end could well be the deciding factor in this match. Ertz is on fire! He is one of just three players - alongside Adam Thielen and DeAndre Hopkins - to snag double-figure catches in all five matches he has played this season. Rookie Dallas Goedert also has the third-highest snap count for Philly.
Meanwhile, it is a position where the Giants are struggling, with Evan Engram still sidelined, having sat out the previous two matches with a knee injury.
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Ones to watch
For the Eagles, it's Carson Wentz, particularly given the season-ending injury to running back Jay Ajayi. The quarterback has performed well so far, throwing five touchdowns to just one interception through his first three starts, but he has also been sacked 12 times. The Eagles offensive line needs to do a better job of protecting their QB and keeping him healthy. Also, as mentioned, Zach Ertz has been in blinding form all season and it would be no surprise to see another double-digit catch count.
For the Giants, Odell Beckham Jr. continues to be their biggest offensive weapon - throwing touchdown passes as well as catching them - despite his well-documented squabbles with the team. Rookie running back Saquon Barkley, the No 2 overall pick in the 2018 draft, has impressed so far with five touchdowns, including three as a rusher to go with 308 yards on the ground. Week Five, meanwhile, was Barkley's biggest game catching the ball out of the backfield, hauling in two TDs, including the one thrown by OBJ.
Watch the Philadelphia Eagles at the New York Giants on Thursday Night Football, live on Sky Sports Action from 12.30am on Friday morning.