The New York Giants face the Philadelphia Eagles on “Thursday Night Football” on the road with a playoff berth on the line.
- New York Giants (10-4)
- Philadelphia Eagles (5-9)
- NFL, Thursday, Dec. 22, 8:25 p.m. ET, NFL Network
- Lincoln Financial Field, Philadelphia, PA
New York has won seven of its last eight games, a run that has lifted them to the second-best record in the NFC. More importantly, their winning run has put them one win away from clinching a playoff berth outright. They can still clinch this week if results elsewhere go their way, but the message should be simple enough: Win and you’re in.
The Giants can also continue to put pressure on the Dallas Cowboys with a win. New York is the only team in the NFC who can overtake the 12-2 Cowboys in the standings. If the Giants win out, and the Cowboys lose their remaining two games (home to Detroit, at Philly), the Giants would win the NFC East and clinch the top overall seed in the conference, due to their 2-0 head to head record over the Cowboys.
Unlikely, but possible.
A big reason for the Giants rise has been their tremendous defense, which has peaked in recent weeks. The Giants defensive unit has allowed 13 points, including only one touchdown, in their last two games. They’ve only surrendered three points in the second half of those two games, and have allowed zero points in the fourth quarter (against two teams, Dallas and Detroit, that are in the playoff picture).
The Philadelphia Eagles, on the other hand, are a team in disarray. In the first year of the Doug Pederson era, Philly has lost five games in a row and currently sit at 5-9 after a 3-0 start. Rookie quarterback Carson Wentz has thrown four touchdowns and eight interceptions during the Eagles five-game skid.
Last weekend, the Eagles opted to go for a two-point conversion in their game against the Baltimore Ravens. After Wentz ran in a touchdown with 4 seconds left, Pederson opted to go for two and win the game, but the Ravens held firm and handed the Eagles yet another loss.
Despite the discrepancy in recent form and records, this game will likely be tightly contested. A divisional game between two hated rivals suggests that despite the Giants hot streak and the Eagles poor record, the game will be extremely hard fought and could come down to one play or coaching decision, similar to last week’s Eagles contest.
Each team has incentive to win the game. The Giants can clinch a playoff berth– additionally, how sweet would it be for them to clinch on the field of their arch rivals — and can continue to put pressure on Dallas. Additionally, it would help to inflict further damage on the Eagles, and to rack up a season sweep against Philly, the first since 2007.
The Eagles would love to snap their losing streak, and would also salivate at the opportunity to deny the Giants a chance to clinch, even if it would hand the division to the Cowboys (who the Eagles hate, arguably, more than the Giants).
Here is a preview of Thursday’s game: