Eagles host Giants looking to clinch NFC East title
NEW YORK GIANTS (9-6-1) at PHILADELPHIA (13-3)
Sunday, 4:25 p.m., CBS
FANDUEL SPORTSBOOK NFL LINE: Eagles by 14.
AGAINST THE SPREAD: New York 12-4; Philadelphia 8-8
SERIES RECORD: Eagles lead 89-86-2.
LAST MEETING: Eagles defeated Giants 48-22 on Dec. 11, 2022, in New York.
LAST WEEK: Giants beat Indianapolis, 38-10. Eagles lost to New Orleans, 20-10.
EAGLES OFFENSE: OVERALL (3), RUSH (5), PASS (9), SCORING (3).
EAGLES DEFENSE: OVERALL (1), RUSH (18), PASS (1), SCORING (T8).
GIANTS OFFENSE: OVERALL (17), RUSH (4), PASS (26), SCORING (15).
GIANTS DEFENSE: OVERALL (24), RUSH (28), PASS (15), SCORING (16).
TURNOVER DIFFERENTIAL: Giants plus-2; Eagles plus-9.
EAGLES PLAYER TO WATCH: QB Jalen Hurts. Though coach Nick Sirianni has been coy during his press conferences, Hurts’ presence at practice for the second straight week, the Eagles’ situation that a victory would clinch home-field advantage throughout the playoffs and backup Gardner Minshew’s poor performance in last Sunday’s home loss to the Saints all point to the Philadelphia starter returning from a sprained right shoulder for the regular-season finale. Hurts was a top MVP candidate before getting injured in a 25-20 win at Chicago on Dec. 18. He has been prolific in his second season as starter, throwing for 22 touchdowns, rushing for 13 and combining for 4,219 yards through the air and on the ground while giving defenses fits with his dual-threat ability. If Hurts isn’t physically ready to return, or Sirianni elects to rest him for the playoffs, the Eagles will turn once again to Minshew. The backup has completed just 58.3% of his passes, thrown three interceptions and coughed up a fumble while losing both starts in place of Hurts.
GIANTS PLAYER TO WATCH: Backup QB Tyrod Taylor. With their playoff spot locked in at No. 6, it would be surprising to see starter Daniel Jones on the field — though coach Brian Daboll hasn’t said whether he’ll rest the starters and play backups. Publicly, Daboll said he’ll make that determination on Friday night. In Taylor, the Giants have an experienced backup. The 33-year-old has played in 81 career games, making 53 starts. A sixth-round pick by Baltimore in 2011, Taylor has completed 61.4% of his career passes with 60 touchdowns and 26 interceptions.
KEY MATCHUP: New York’s offensive line against the Eagles’ defensive front. Philadelphia’s front four has wreaked havoc on opposing quarterbacks. Haason Reddick (16 sacks), Josh Sweat (11), Javon Hargrave (11) and Brandon Graham (11) all have reached double-digit sacks, marking the first time that has happened since the league began recording sacks as an individual statistic in 1982. The Eagles have recorded six or more sacks in five consecutive games, helping them set a team record with 68 sacks thus far this season.
KEY INJURIES: The Eagles opened the 21-day practice window this week on S C.J. Gardner-Johnson, who suffered a lacerated kidney against Green Bay on Nov. 27. Gardner-Johnson leads the Eagles with six interceptions. He’s unlikely to play against the Giants, but his return to practice is a promising sign for the playoffs. ... Right tackle Lane Johnson (abdomen) and CB Avonte Maddox (toe) both are expected to miss their second straight contest. Sweat (neck) was injured against the Saints. He has stated that he expects to return this season, though probably not against New York. For the Giants, DL Leonard Williams (neck), C Jon Feliciano (back) and LB Azeez Ojulari (ankle) did not practice on Wednesday. CB Adoree Jackson (knee) has missed six straight games but is close to returning. Whether he plays this week in a meaningless game or rests another week remains to be seen.
SERIES NOTES: The Giants routed the Eagles 56-0 in the first matchup between the longtime rivals on Oct. 15, 1933, at New York’s Polo Grounds. They have met four times in the postseason, with each winning two.
STATS AND STUFF: Daboll, who is in his first season at the helm, has said all week that he plans to do what’s best for the Giants when asked if he plans to play or rest his starters. Two years ago, the Eagles helped their draft position by going to backup Nate Sudfeld in the fourth quarter of a close game against Washington that they ultimately lost, costing the Giants a chance to reach the postseason. ... In addition to a win over the Giants, the Eagles would clinch home-field throughout the playoffs with a tie, or a Cowboys loss or tie and a 49ers loss or tie. ... Jones threw for two touchdowns and rushed for a pair in the Giants’ 38-10 playoff-clinching victory over the Colts last week. This season marks New York’s first trip to the postseason since 2016 and second since winning the Super Bowl in February 2012. The Giants had suffered five straight losing seasons and had just four wins in 2021. In addition to Jones, the Eagles aren’t likely to see Giants RB Saquon Barkley. Barkley has rushed for a career-high 1,312 yards with 10 touchdowns this season. Last month, he was selected to his second Pro Bowl. ... New York will play either Minnesota or San Francisco in the opening round of the playoffs. The Giants lost to the Vikings 27-24 on a last-second, 61-yard field goal on Dec. 24, 2022. They haven’t played the 49ers since dropping a 36-9 decision in the 2020 season. ... Besides Minshew’s struggles against the Saints, Philadelphia’s defense came out flat and allowed QB Andy Dalton to complete his first 13 passes. The play-calling of Sirianni and offensive coordinator Shane Steichen also was questioned, particularly after Philadelphia rushed just twice in its scoreless first half. Miles Sanders, who has run for a career-high 1,236 yards this season, had just 12 carries for 61 yards against New Orleans. ... Philadelphia needs four sacks to tie the NFL record of 72 set by the 1984 Bears. ... The Eagles lead the NFL with 57 touchdowns and 31 rushing scores. ... Reddick’s five strip sacks are tops in the league. ... Wide receivers A.J. Brown (1,401 yards) and DeVonta Smith (1,129) are the first receiving duo in Eagles history to eclipse 1,000 yards in a season.
AP NFL: https://apnews.com/hub/nfl and https://twitter.com/AP_NFL