It all comes down to this for the Eagles: for the third consecutive week, a win will lock up the top seed in the NFC Playoffs, as well as the bye week and home-field advantage that comes with it. The Birds are 0-for-2 with Gardner Minshew under center, but NFL MVP-and-we-don’t-want-to-hear-otherwise Jalen Hurts is on track to play Sunday.
Will the Eagles get the job done, or will they need some other teams to slip up to secure the top seed? Here’s what the guys think.
Joe (5-8-4): This is my last chance to secure two points for a win, so I’d better get this one right. More importantly, the Eagles better get this one right.
Enough fluffin’ around by offensive coordinator Shane Steichen and defensive coordinator Jonathan Gannon. Granted, should Jalen Hurts return, Steichen’s job gets a lot easier, and if the Giants take the standard approach and rest a lot of starters, so does Gannon’s. But while the players on the field have earned the benefit of the doubt, the coaching staff burned up a lot of goodwill over the past two weeks, and they need to redeem themselves in Week 18.
This game comes down to the two factors I just mentioned: does Hurts play for the Eagles? Do Daniel Jones and Saquon Barkley play for the Giants? I will guess yes on the quarterbacks and no on Barkley; the Giants can ill-afford to lose him with a Wild Card game the following weekend, and there’s no need to risk injury or added fatigue. I expect Hurts to be in the game so long as it’s in any doubt, and Jones to play between one and two quarters.
Whoever is under center for the Giants, the Eagles defense will look to tee off. They are one of the most prolific sacking defenses in NFL history, and that will remain the story on Sunday. Miles Sanders needs a bounceback game, and in light of what happened to his close friend Damar Hamlin on Monday night, I envision an emotional and cathartic touchdown for the fellow Western Pennsylvania product.
If the Giants try, it won’t be easy; the blowout at the Meadowlands was more an aberration than an indication. If the Giants don’t try, then the party at Lincoln Financial Field will start around 6:15 p.m. I’ll give Brian Daboll credit that he’s not stupid, and I’ll grab a drink. Eagles 31, Giants 10.
Offensive Standout: Miles Sanders
Defensive Standout: Haason Reddick
John (8-5-4): Well, here we are. We didn’t think Eagles games would still matter in Week 18. The debate about if Jalen Hurts would play was going to center on his rust and rest, not his health.
We learned what the Eagles offense looked like without Jalen Hurts. It turns out he is MVP-caliber…someone should just tell ESPN. With any luck, they’ll run the ball, toss the pigskin to A.J. Brown, and other things that just. keep. it. simple.
On the other side of the ball, it’s about the pass rush again. Look for Javon Hargrave to dazzle on Sunday. Eagles 27, Giants 18.
Offensive Standout: Boston Scott
Defensive Standout: Javon Hargrave