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Giants-Eagles Week 3 preview

Giants head coach Ben McAdoo directs a play

Giants head coach Ben McAdoo directs a play during a preseason game against the Steelers at MetLife Stadium on Aug. 11, 2017. Credit: Kathleen Malone-Van Dyke

IF YOU FIND YOURSELF IN A HOLE, STOP DIGGING

Ben McAdoo knows what everyone thinks of his Giants after just two weeks of play.

“A lot of people are counting us out,” the head coach said this week. “So be it.”

That perception can change quickly if the Giants perform well and win against the Eagles in Philadelphia Sunday. It’s a win the Giants need to help them in the standings, but also to help their psyche. It’s that mental state, after two losses and a total of 13 points scored, that McAdoo seems to be relying on to ignite the team.

“It’s good to have an edge,” he said. “I think working with an edge motivates a little bit more.”

Of course there must be balance.

“You can’t play like crazy,” safety Landon Collins said. “But you pay more attention to details, the little things that matter. You get your head around them . . . We know what kind of expectations we have for each other, as a team and an organization as a whole. An edge? Definitely. Guys are stepping it up.”

There is still time for that. Failure this week might not make that the case.

“I think you’ve just got to believe that going through tough times will make you stronger, will make you stronger as a team,” Eli Manning said. “But you’ve got to get through them. That’s kind of the situation we’re in . . . It’s an important game in this situation, the little hole we’ve dug ourselves in, but you can’t put more pressure on yourself than what’s needed.”

Will the Giants respond to having their backs against the wall? To it being them against the world? To having no one believe in them and every other tired coaching trope McAdoo can trot out?

“We’ll find out,” McAdoo said.

SPAGS: STICK TO THE PROCESS

Steve Spagnuolo may not have been imparting direct advice to his boss, but his reflection on his own situation exactly 10 years ago should reach McAdoo’s ears.

In a week when the Giants are 0-2 and McAdoo is exploring what he called potentially “drastic” changes on offense, including ceding the play-calling, Spagnuolo spoke about the 2007 Giants team that started out in the same way and went on to win a Super Bowl.

At this point in 2007, Spagnuolo was a new defensive coordinator with the Giants and they had allowed 80 points in two games.

“You don’t give up on what you’re doing,” Spagnuolo said. “If you believe in what you’re doing and the way you do it, you don’t all of a sudden bail on it because you failed to win two football games.”

The Giants won in Week 3 that season, on the road against a division opponent to fully set up the potentially parallel narrative you’ll undoubtedly hear if the Giants can beat the Eagles on Sunday. It was a 24-17 win in Washington on Sept. 23, 2007. Spagnuolo stood by his system and rode it all the way to Super Bowl XLII.

The Giants’ 2017 offense is in a bit of a different predicament. This is the fourth year under McAdoo’s system, not the first as it was for the defense in 2007. The learning curve should be flattened out by now. And the troubles when it comes to scoring go back all the way to last year.

The lesson, though, might be the same.

“It’s the old cliché: Stick to the process, stick to what you are doing,” Spagnuolo said. “Believe in it. Trust in it. Trust in each other and move on.”

OBJ ROLLING TO 300

Odell Beckham Jr. needs eight catches in his next two games to become the fastest in NFL history to 300 career receptions. Through 44 games, Beckham has 292 grabs. Here are the fastest to 300:

Player // Games

Anquan Boldin // 47

Jarvis Landry // 49

Julio Jones // 51

Lionel Taylor // 54

A.J. Green // 55

PINT-SIZED SPROLES PACKS PLENTY OF PUNCH

The Eagles have three running backs that they use on a regular basis. Two of them are easy to see coming. The third? He can disappear.

“He’s like five feet tall,” Giants DT Damon Harrison said of Darren Sproles. “The offensive linemen, they’re some pretty big guys. They can just get in your way and that split second is all he needs to find a crease. A guy that short, he’s hard to locate.”

Sproles id listed at 5-6 and 190 pounds. That’s a lot different than the other two backs for the Eagles, LeGarrette Blount (6-0, 250) and Wendell Smallwood (5-10, 208). Sproles, though, leads them all in rushing yards.

“Man, it’s amazing,” DE Olivier Vernon said of Sproles’ longevity as he plays in his 12th NFL season. “You don’t see that too often. And he’s moving like he just got into the league. Props to him. He’s doing the right things.”

To play that long at that size?

“It ain’t about that in football,” Vernon said. “You can be whatever size you want. As long as you got that heart, that’s all that matters.”

SACKTASTIC

Olivier Vernon has recorded 8.5 sacks since Week 9 of last season, or roughly when his broken hand healed. That is the fifth-most in the NFL during that 10-week span. Only Calais Campbell (10), Vic Beasley (10), Mario Addison (9) and Chandler Jones (9) have more.

46.4

Percent of Giants possessions (45 of 97) that have resulted in a three-and-out in their last eight games. That includes seven of their 18 possessions this season. They have scored just nine touchdowns on those 97 possessions.

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