The New York Giants blew a chance to clinch a playoff berth Thursday night as they were defeated by the Philadelphia Eagles 24-19. The loss also clinched the NFC East title and the No. 1 seed in the playoffs to the Dallas Cowboys.The New York Giants had their chances, especially late in the game to pull off the victory, but they were ultimately undone by three interceptions by Eli Manning, settling for field goals instead of touchdowns in the red zone, and a costly false start by John Jerry on a 4th-and-inches at the Eagles 32-yard line on their second to last possession.
There were also some questionable calls and non-calls that did not go their way.
The Giants may not have needed calls to go their way if they started the game better. For whatever reason, the Giants get off to slow starts on the road, and Thursday night was no different.
The offense started the game with a three and out, and the defense allowed the Eagles to drive 78 yards on seven plays culminating in a Darren Sproles 25-yard touchdown run. On that drive, the Giants allowed 62 yards on the ground, which was more than they gave up last week to the Detroit Lions (56).
Three plays later, safety Malcolm Jenkins intercepted Manning and ran it back 34 yards for the touchdown to put the Eagles up 14-0.
But the Giants battled back and cut the deficit to 21-16 in the third quarter thanks to a goal-line stand by the defense and Odell Beckham Jr., who had a season-high 11 receptions for 150 yards.
In the end, it was too little, too late.
The loss drops the Giants to 3-4 on the road this season. Those wins came against the Cowboys when Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott were making their NFL debut, against the Los Angeles Rams at a neutral site in London, and against the winless Cleveland Browns. This is not a good sign considering they’ll be on the road next Sunday against the Washington Redskins who are still in the playoff hunt.
The good news for the Giants is, despite the loss, they still have a strong chance to clinch a wildcard spot before their game against Washington. Below are the scenarios in which the Giants can still clinch a wildcard spot this week:
Vikings win or tie vs. Packers
Saints win or tie vs Buccaneers
Panthers beat Falcons
Cowboys win or tie vs Lions (on Monday Night Football)
If any of these four scenarios occur, then the Giants will be back in the playoffs for the first time since winning Super Bowl XLVI. If by chance none of these things happen, then all the Giants would have to do is beat Washington next Sunday to clinch.