Eli Manning #10 of the New York Giants throws a...

Eli Manning #10 of the New York Giants throws a pass in the first quarter against the Philadelphia Eagles at MetLife Stadium. (Nov. 20, 2011) Credit: Getty Images

The last time the Giants were in this kind of offensive malaise, it was a game against the Eagles that cured them.

That was last year, when the team was coming off a two-game stretch in which it lost consecutive road games by a combined score of 67-14. They broke out of it with a 42-7 rout of the Eagles at MetLife Stadium that featured three touchdowns in the first quarter by up-and-coming stars Rueben Randle and David Wilson.

But while the future seemed bright on that late December afternoon, the past had caught up to the Giants. They were eliminated from playoff contention, the sins of the previous two weeks too heinous to allow them through the pearly postseason gates.

Now the Giants once again are hoping they can snap out of their offensive funk against the Eagles, whom they host Sunday afternoon. And this time the hope is that it is not too late to matter.

"Now it's an opportunity to pick it up early in this season and keep this train rolling,'' Randle said. "Or get it rolling.''

The Giants are 0-4, and this Eagles game may be the last parachute on the nosediving season. Lose this one and the Giants have a short week before traveling to face the Bears in Chicago on Thursday with 0-6 beckoning. Win, and with a little help from the Broncos -- who play the first-place Cowboys -- they could be one game out of first place. And if they can carry the momentum into Chicago, they could be a half-game back by the time next weekend rolls around.

That's a big swing. But the Giants thought they would have momentum from last year's win over the Eagles, and that hasn't panned out.

"We finished the season strong against them,'' said Wilson, who, like Randle, has not scored a touchdown since the last game against the Eagles. "We looked good as an offense and that's where we wanted to pick up this season. Hopefully we can get back on track here.''

The biggest advantage for the Giants' offense may be the Eagles' defense. Philadelphia (1-3) is ranked 31st in the league in both passing defense and points allowed. The only team that has allowed more points this season is . . . the Giants.

And this isn't the beleaguered Eagles team that rolled into MetLife last year on Andy Reid's fumes. The Eagles are just as much in the NFC East race as the Giants -- more so, with a win in the division -- despite their poor record and statistics. They also have an intriguing new head coach in Chip Kelly and an offensive style the Giants have not yet faced.

The key for the Giants will be scoring points and making plays -- the way they did against the Eagles last year.

"Hopefully I can look forward to another performance like that,'' said Randle, who finished the game with two touchdowns and four catches for 58 yards. "It's in a time of need for this offense.''

And a desperate time for the entire team. Wilson is looking at the positive, though, saying the Giants have "plenty of time to come back and win it.''

Why the optimism?

"I just always looked at the positive side of things,'' he said. "Even if the worst thing happens, there's something you can learn from it. If you're still breathing, you can learn from it and fix it in the future.''

Last year, that was the problem. The Giants fixed things with their last gasp of air. A deathbed conversion.

This year, the hope is that it's early enough to not be too late.

Ross to IR. Veteran CB Aaron Ross was put on season-ending injured reserve with a back injury he suffered last week against the Chiefs and recently-signed C Dallas Reynolds was waived to make room on the roster for two defensive backs. Safety Will Hill returned to the active roster after serving a four-game suspension for violating the NFL's substance abuse policy. Rookie cornerback Charles James was promoted from the practice squad.

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