East NFC reporter
the giants They were once locked in a desperate battle for a spot in the playoffs – a fight they thought would come straight down to their final match. the the Eagles They cruised most of the season, having built up a seemingly insurmountable lead in the race for the NFC’s top seed.
Then somehow, for the past three weeks, the stretch run has become a scene out of the movie Trading Places. Or maybe Freaky Friday. Their fates have failed. Up down now. The Giants are now the team that can rest their players.
And the once-dominant Eagles are suddenly desperate to win Sunday match.
“Nobody said it was going to be easy,” said the Eagles defensive end Brandon Graham. “We know our issues and we know what’s up. I think we’re going to be alright. We’ve got a special team. We just have to get out there and prove it.”
The Eagles spent the first 14 weeks of the season proving it, going 13-1 and looking like an easy favorite to go into the NFC’s Super Bowl. Then the quarterback Jalen Hurts He was hit in the shoulder Chicago And Philly had to scramble behind the reserves Gardner Minshaw. But even then, the Eagles still have a three-game divisional and conference lead from three weeks ahead. Even after they narrowly lost dallas A week later, things were still fine.
It was only after the Eagles lost at home to saints Last Sunday, the count was down to 13-3, when it finally seemed like the panic button had to be hit.
Time for the vultures to panic?
LeSean McCoy weighs in on the Eagles’ 20-10 loss to the Saints in Week 17 and whether it’s time to panic after two straight losses and the top seed on the line.
Sure, Eagles coach Nick Siriani insisted, “I’m never going to be someone who’s going to hit the panic button,” but he knows what’s at stake. If the Eagles lose to the Giants (9-6-1), they are in danger of losing not only the top seed in the conference and the first round, but they could lose the NFC East and their home playoff game, too. There is also the danger of losing all of their momentum after finishing the regular season on a three-game losing streak.
And that’s very possible. The Cowboys (12-4) are playing in Washington, where leaders They are so on their end that they make for a beginner Sam Howell His first start in the middle. and the San Francisco 49ers (12-4) They are at home against Arizona Cardinalswho is riding a six-game losing streak and will be the starting quarterback David Plouffe for the second week in a row.
If the 49ers win and the Eagles fall, the Eagles lose the top seed and forfeit their bye week. If the Cowboys win and the Eagles lose, Philadelphia loses the NFC East and the playoffs begin on the road.
Well, the stakes are high. This is why the Eagles are almost certain to get Hurts back in the starting lineup. They didn’t expect to be in this position until the playoffs had already begun. But this game really is a must-win.
“There is no pressure,” Graham told the media. “I think you’re all going to put the most pressure on about it, because at the end of the day if we have to keep rolling, that’s probably fine too.”
It’s hard to imagine he really believes that, considering where the Eagles were a few weeks ago. But on the bright side, they can still get a break on Sunday from a Giants who won’t need to take this game seriously. Thanks to two wins in their past three games, since the 48-22 defeat they won at home from the Eagles on December 11, they are locked into the #6 seed in the NFC and will go on the road in the first round against any team that finishes third.
Daniel Jones man of the match after earning a playoff point?
Craig Carton makes the case for Daniel Jones winning the MVP award given that the New York quarterback has led the Giants to a spot in the postseason for the first time since 2016.
With nothing to play for, and nothing to change position after the season, it doesn’t look like the Giants will be playing their starters much, if at all.
“We’re going to talk about it and do what’s best for the team,” Giants coach Brian Dabul said. “Whatever we think is best for our team, that’s what we will do in the end.”
What’s best for them is definitely sitting behind the middle Daniel JonesGiven the blows he’s had this season. The same goes for jogging I will be BarkleyWho has been suffering from a shoulder injury for weeks. And a Giants team without its two best players certainly gives the Eagles a chance to get back to normal, especially with Hurts back on display.
Perhaps all of this will work out for the Eagles. Maybe getting a taste of late-season pressure — or whatever they choose — will help them into the playoffs. Maybe some adversity actually helps, too. Because their goals are still the same. They still believe they are on the fast track to the Super Bowl and are good enough to win the championship.
But that’s only if they manage not to lose everything else first.
New York Giants
Top stories from FOX Sports:
Ralph Facciano is the NFC East correspondent for FOX Sports, covering the Washington Chiefs, Philadelphia Eagles and New York Giants. He’s spent the past six years covering the New York Giants and Jets for SNY TV, and prior to that, 16 years covering the Giants and the NFL for the New York Daily News. Follow him on Twitter at @employee.
Get more from the National Football League Follow your favorites to get information about games, news and more