Giants must deliver better run defense vs. Eagles
Leonard Williams doesn’t need a wealth of playoff experience to know that the Giants need to be better at stopping the run or their season will end Saturday.
After playing in 114 consecutive games to start his career, Williams (knee, neck) missed five this season, including both against the Eagles, who averaged 194 rushing yards per game against the Giants. The Eagles rushed for 253 — their second-highest total of the season — on Dec. 11, when the other three defensive line starters played.
“The defensive line always takes the [responsibility] for everything,” Williams said. “Whether we’re not getting enough pressure on the quarterback, whether we’re not stopping the run, we’re going to put it on our backs. That obviously is not going to be enough going into this playoff game if we allow them to do that again. Our goal this week is to try to make them one-dimensional and stop the run as early as possible.”
After a seven-year wait, Williams made his playoff debut last week against the Vikings. That was new. Facing Eagles’ All-Pro center Jason Kelce for the seventh time since he joined this rivalry is not, even if this one is in the NFC divisional round of the playoffs.
“A lot of people call him the ‘Tom Brady of centers’ because he knows protections,” Williams said. “He just has feelings for pressure and blitzes and all type of stuff like that. Give him credit where it’s due. We’re going to have to attack this offensive line.”
OLB Azeez Ojulari (quad) is questionable. ILB Landon Collins (ankle), WR Isaiah Hodgins (ankle), CB Fabian Moreau (hip) and S Julian Love (hamstring) were limited in practice Thursday, but all are expected to play.
“I’m confident,” Ojulari said. “Definitely way better than I was postgame Sunday. I’m trying to get to the game and see what happens.”
Moreau missed the final two defensive plays against the Vikings. Rookie Cor’Dale Flott came off the bench for a key pass break-up. How?
“That staying-ready mentality,” Flott said. “Seeing the guys in front of me and playing through the plays in my head mentally so I was able to do it physically when I got out there. I don’t feel like a rookie anymore. That’s not held over our head. I’m going to be ready to keep playing.”
For the Eagles, CB Avonte Maddox (toe) will not play. RT Lane Johnson (groin) and DE Robert Quinn (back) were full participants Thursday after limitations earlier in the week. DE Brandon Graham (illness) did not practice, but is expected to play.
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