In Week 18, the Giants and Eagles took a sudden ironic turn

As this season took shape, it was only natural to look ahead and try to figure out how the stretch run would play out for the Giants. It was only natural to look at the schedule and wait for the holiday season to arrive and wonder about the Christmas Eve game in Minneapolis and the New Year’s game at home against the Colts.

It was even more compelling to think about what the Week 18 season finale in Philadelphia would mean for both teams. With the Giants building a 6-1 record, thoughts of the playoffs were inevitable. With the Giants on a four-game losing streak, losing three and tying one, the postseason transition became even more difficult.

There was a sense that the final game of the regular season, against the Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field, would mean something to the Giants and nothing to the Eagles. The Giants were in contention for the bottom two spots in the NFC Tournament, and the Eagles, who were flying high at 13-1, seemed to have no problem clinching the No. 1 seed in the conference. The most likely scenario: The Giants need a game to clinch a playoff spot, and the Eagles have everything they need and sit players. they rest for the playoffs.

Giants safety Julian Love celebrates as the team clinches a playoff berth with a win over the Colts on Jan. 1, 2023.
Giants safety Julian Love celebrates as the team clinches a playoff berth with a win over the Colts on Jan. 1, 2023.
Corey Sipkin

Going into Sunday’s game at the Linc, one team needs a game and the other doesn’t. What an extraordinary season it’s been for the Giants with nothing to play for and the Eagles coming off back-to-back losses to clinch the No. 1 seed and only NFC bye in the first round of the playoffs. they have to win.

If the Eagles (13-3) win, they will take over the No. 1 seed. The 49ers (12-4) and Cowboys (12-4) are still in contention for the top seed, but they need to win this weekend and the Eagles need to lose.

The Giants (9-6-1) are locked into the No. 6 seed. They cannot go up or down. It’s a classic “nothing to play for” game, although coaches never use the word “pointless” to describe these scenarios. Sometimes their actions – initial sitting – belie their words.

The Giants are seeded 6th in the NFC for the 2023 NFL playoffs.
The Giants are seeded 6th in the NFC for the 2023 NFL playoffs.
NY Post composite

After the Colts’ 38-10 playoff run, Giants coach Brian Daboll said he planned to go home, smoke a cigarette and spend time with his family. He did not reveal his plans for the next game.

“He makes the right calls no matter what,” safety Julian Love told The Post. “Dabes has been in this situation many times in his career, we believe in him no matter what he does. He led us on the right path throughout the season.”

Yes, Daboll has been a part of many playoff teams in his time in the NFL, but never as a head coach. For the first time, this is his call. Most recently, Daboll was the offensive coordinator in Buffalo, working for head coach Sean McDermott. When the Bills failed to improve their playoff position at the end of the 2019 season, they rested their starters. The following year, they played part of the starting line-up to retain 2nd place. In 2021, they played the entire starting lineup to win the AFC East. Daboll may or may not do everything the way everyone else does. He is in charge now.

Eagles center Jason Kelce will retire on January 1, 2023 after a loss to the Saints.

“I think the way we play, for the most part, we run at them,” Love said. “You want to keep the momentum going. With analytics and things these days, you never know if it’s going to shake out. I want to play for myself.”

More from the Giants’ most lopsided win of the season:

– The Giants have had no trouble posting a career-high 43 games, but Saquon Barkley hasn’t put up big numbers. He was only called upon to run the ball 12 times, and he produced 58 rushing yards, third behind Daniel Jones (11-91) and Matt Breyda (9-59). Barkley averaged 4.8 yards per attempt and his longest run was 19 yards. The Giants didn’t need more from their franchise tight end — he also caught two passes for a loss of 5 yards — and his head coach admitted there was disappointment if Barkley didn’t break much or any long distance.

“Saquon ran hard,” Daboll said. “Saquon — he’s always on the edge, and you can see it in his eyes, every time he touches the ball, he wants to go 80. So I’m like, ‘Hey, dude. It was a very nice 2 yard run. And he [gets upset]. So I said, “Calm down, my friend. It was a nice 2 yard run. Will come. Let’s not go beyond doing the right thing.” “

Giants running back Saquon Barkley (26) carries the ball against the Colts on Jan. 1, 2023.
Giants running back Saquon Barkley (26) carries the ball against the Colts on Jan. 1, 2023.
Robert Sabo

– In the days leading up to the game, it was a bigger deal than it was during the game itself. Yes, Azeez Ojulari was in uniform and able to play against the Colts a week after losing to the Vikings with a sprained ankle. Ojulari didn’t start, with Jihad Ward taking his spot at outside linebacker. In fact, Ojulari hardly played. He started on the first defensive series in the first clear pass situation for the Colts. There was no real rotation as Ojulari played just seven times. Going forward, it remains to be seen if this was all a precaution — the Giants didn’t need to beat him — or if Ojulari felt uncomfortable enough to limit his playing time.

– If it’s not broken… stay with it. The rotation continues at left guard, and it was a nearly even split in this game, with Nick Gates starting and playing 37 of 63 snaps and Ben Bredeson turning over 36 snaps. General experience. Let’s not forget that Gates is coming back from a gruesome foot injury that nearly cost him his career, and Bredeson injured his knee earlier this season. The coaching staff must have decided to share the work rather than giving one player the full load. Keep both fresh.

– How rare is this route for giants? Their 28-point victory was their biggest in more than eight years since they beat the Titans 36-7 on Dec. 7, 2014 in Nashville. Prior to this game, the Giants’ biggest margin of victory this season was eight points, and they had accomplished it three times. That’s why Daboll’s veil to Daniel Jones was so special. The Giants have never been able to get him out of a game where he’s been this dominant before.

— Xavier McKinney completed 83 percent of the defensive snaps (48 snaps) in his first game on the non-football injury list recovering from a weeklong ATV accident that broke three fingers on his left hand. He had seven tackles, misplayed a ball in the air that resulted in a 49-yard reception by Parris Campbell and didn’t catch what should have been an interception. “I’m so tired,” McKinney told the Post after his first action since Oct. 30, but he said it with a smile.

– Once upon a time, this would be a big deal. Now this is just a comment. Kenny Holladay played seven snaps. The Giants were rolling and they were able to rest players in the final minutes of the fourth quarter – Evan Neal was the only player on offense to make 63 straight snaps. it has been. Golladay took cleanup time — “gar-BAGE time,” as Marv Albert said on Knicks broadcasts. Tyrod Taylor was at quarterback and the Giants passed the ball with the clock running out. Yes, Golladay is still on the list. He comes and goes, practices and sits in front of his locker during media periods. He politely declines to be interviewed. He would soon be deregistered and his career with the Giants would be over.

– The answer to the question, “How many touchdowns does the ‘Foursome’ lead the team this season?” should not be the answer. That’s the answer for the Giants. Richie James and Isaiah Hodgins both caught a touchdown against the Colts, giving them four touchdowns. James has a total of three receiving touchdowns in his first three NFL seasons with the 49ers, and he has four TDs in his last seven games this season. Hodgins signed with the Giants in early November. without a career touchdown.Hodgins has four catches in his last five games.

– Pick six for Landon Collins? It was the second of his NFL career and the first in the US territory. Collins scored his first touchdown on October 23, 2016 against the Rams when he returned Case Keenum’s interception 44 yards. That match was played at Twickenham Stadium in London, the home of English rugby. Collins had two interceptions in that game and was named NFC Defensive Player of the Week for his career. He was a great player for the Giants that season – the last time the Giants made the playoffs. Six years later, after a stop in Washington, Collins is contributing to another Giants playoff team.


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