EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ — The dreary, wintry weather at MetLife Stadium on Sunday indicated that December had arrived in earnest. The teams are at that point in the NFL regular season where it’s too late for them to hide their true natures.
The Philadelphia Eagles’ 48-22 rout of the Giants on Sunday said a lot about where the teams are: The Eagles (12-1) clinched an NFC playoff spot, while the Giants (7-5-1) are still hopeful they can get one
Philadelphia stormed to a 24-7 halftime lead, scoring touchdowns on its first three possessions. The Giants dropped punts, looked inept blocking and had enough defensive miscues to reveal a team sputtering to the finish.
The Giants’ defense allowed 437 total yards, while the offense struggled to keep pace, converting just four of 13 third downs. Quarterback Daniel Jones completed 18 of 27 passes for 169 yards and a touchdown, but the offensive line allowed seven sacks and 12 quarterback hits. Running back Saquon Barkley, the team’s best offensive weapon, rushed for only 28 yards. Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts passed for 217 yards and two touchdowns while rushing for 77 yards and a score. Eagles running back Miles Sanders rushed for 144 yards on 17 carries as the team further cemented that it is the Super Bowl favorite in the NFC
Three consecutive sequences in the second quarter seemed to solidify Sunday’s result. On a fourth down near midfield with about 12 minutes to go, Hurts fired a 41-yard pass to DeVonta Smith, who beat defensive back Darnay Holmes off the line of scrimmage on a fade route. Safety Julian Love took a bad angle as the ball sailed in the air, failing to intercept the pass as it fell to Smith for a touchdown, bringing the score to 14-0.
The Giants punted on the next drive, but Jamie Gillan dropped the ball during his kicking motion, giving the Eagles great field position. On the next play, Hurts lofted a 33-yard pass to AJ Brown, and the score was 21-0 with just over eight minutes remaining in the half.
Right after the loss, the Giants’ odds of reaching the postseason dropped to 53 percent from 64 percent, according to The Upshot’s playoff simulator.
The Giants started the season 7-2, a surprising performance under their first-year head coach, Brian Daboll, and general manager, Joe Schoen. The Giants engineered four fourth-quarter comebacks, led by Barkley, who ranked fourth in the NFL in rushing yards (1,055) entering Sunday. Jones has also improved his play, throwing only four interceptions this season. But the Giants have now experienced a four-game winless skid. Starting on Nov. 20, they lost to the Detroit Lions and the Dallas Cowboys, and then last week’s game against the Washington Commanders ended in a 20-20 tie.
Still, entering Sunday, they held the No. 6 seed in the NFC postseason bracket, but the loss dropped them out of playoff position.
The Giants split their two games against the Eagles last season, but Philadelphia is much improved. The Eagles’ offense ranked second in scoring, thanks to its potent option-based scheme led by a stout rushing attack and the addition of Brown. The Eagles hold the best record in the league and Hurts, a third-year quarterback, has emerged as a candidate for the Most Valuable Player Award.
With six minutes remaining in the fourth quarter, and the outcome no longer in doubt, Sanders got his second score of the day when he jolted down the sideline for a 40-yard rushing touchdown. Conceding defeat, Daboll inserted his backup quarterback, Tyrod Taylor, who lost a fumble on the next drive as fans departed MetLife Stadium in perhaps a mood that was more downtrodden than the weather.
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