EAGLES 24 / GIANTS 19
It was not a good night Thursday for the New York Giants as Big Blue blew their shot at clinching a playoff berth in Philadelphia. Not only was the game disappointing, but it ended any thought that this team is a truly serious Super Bowl contender, at least for the moment. The Giants can still get into the playoffs if they get one of four teams to lose on Saturday, but the opportunity was there for the Giants to make a statement and they failed totally.
Eli Manning was a disaster: It has been a horrible year for Manning. Take the stats and throw them out the window, because Manning has been horribly inconsistent all season. Whether it has been overthrowing his receivers, lacking the appropriate timing with his wide outs or turning the ball over, Manning did that and more on Thursday. He threw three interceptions, with none bigger than the one he threw to Malcom Jenkins for a 34-yard Pick-6 that gave the Eagles a 14-0 lead. This right off the heels of the Eagles completing a 78-yard scoring drive for the first score of the game.
It got worse from there. The Giants offense couldn't move the football at all against the Eagles in key situations. Yes, the stats say the Giants were 10-of-22 on third down, but no team should EVER have to convert 22 different third down opportunities. In short this night rests on Eli Manning's shoulders.
Field Goal Party: There is an old saying in football, you can't win games by settling for field goals all the time. The Giants settled for 3 points way too often. They had four lengthy drives come to a screeching halt deep inside Eagles territory because Manning threw costly incompletions on third down. The result, the Giants were always knocking on the door, but never kicked the door in.
More Giants miscues: Speaking of Eli Manning mistakes, he wasn't alone. The Giants offensive line was also bad. They had a huge false start penalty on fourth and one at the Eagle 32 yard line, when the offense was actually trying to go for it. Instead the penalty pushed the G-Men back five yards, and Manning threw yet another incompletion.
Defense Didn't Step Up: The Giants defense has been front and center for this team in the second half of the season, particularly the past two weeks. On Thursday, they came up small. They allowed Carson Wentz to pick them apart, and allowed 118 yards rushing on the day. Not to mention a guy like Nelson Agholor was wide open in the back corner of the end zone for a touchdown that pushed the Eagles lead to 21-6.
Are the Giants Done? No. They can still get into the playoffs IF the Packers, or Redskins, or Lions or Buccaneers lose this weekend. If one of those teams should fall, the Giants are in the playoffs. The most likely team to fall this week is Detroit. The Lions are in Dallas Monday night. The Lions are reeling and could let the Giants into the playoffs.
If the Giants don't get help this weekend, they would need to beat the Redskins next week in order to get in by themselves.
There is a scenario where the Giants could miss the playoffs. If the Giants lose to Washington, and Tampa Bay, Green Bay and Atlanta win out, and the Lions beat the Cowboys then the Giants would be out of the playoffs. Not a likely scenario, but it does exist.
Last Take: The Giants aren't as good as people were beginning to believe. The Giants problems up front on the offensive line, combined with a horrid running game, and a quarterback who has been woefully average is holding this group back. The Giants will likely make it to the playoffs this year, but their stay won't be long if the offensive woes continue.