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Eagles take early flight to soar over sloppy Giants

(The Sports Xchange) - The Philadelphia Eagles took an early lead, then held on to defeat the Giants 24-19 at Lincoln Financial Field on Thursday, a victory that prevented New York from clinching a first playoff berth since 2011.

The Giants (10-5) had two chances to pull out a victory in the fourth quarter but came up short both times.

First, they drove to the Eagles' 37-yard line but a fourth-down pass from quarterback Eli Manning was batted down by Nolan Carroll. Then, with five seconds to play, Terrence Brooks picked off Manning on the Philadelphia 11-yard line.

The result allowed the Dallas Cowboys to clinch the NFC East title and the top seed for the NFC playoffs.

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The Eagles (6-9) lost quarterback Carson Wentz briefly in the third quarter when they led 21-16. Wentz was dropped by Giants defensive end Olivier Vernon after he threw an incomplete pass, and the QB's shoulder hit the ground hard.

Vernon was flagged for unnecessary roughness and Wentz left the game with what was diagnosed as a head injury.

He was replaced by Chase Daniel for one series -- the Eagles drove to the New York one-yard line and were stopped short on fourth down -- before returning for the next series. Those were the only snaps Wentz has missed all season.

Wentz finished the game completing 13-of-24 passes for 152 yards and a touchdown with an interception. Manning completed 38-of-63 passes for 356 yards, one touchdown and three interceptions.

Two of those picks were by safety Malcolm Jenkins, who returned the first one 34 yards for a touchdown that gave the Eagles a 14-0 lead.

The Eagles have made slow starts most of the season but they marched 78 yards in seven plays on their first possession and capped the drive with a 25-yard touchdown run by Darren Sproles to make it 7-0 with 9:48 left in the first quarter.

The Eagles did not need long to make it 14-0. On the Giants' ensuing possession, Manning tried to pass to tight end Will Tye over the middle but Jenkins cut in front of him, intercepted the pass and returned it for the touchdown.

The Giants had two good chances to get back in the game, driving to the Eagles' 17 both times but had to settle for field goals.

The Eagles, meanwhile, sputtered on offense until Wentz connected with wide receiver Nelson Agholor on a 40-yard TD pass to give Philadelphia a 21-6 lead with 4:59 left in the second quarter.

The Giants had one last shot before the half and took advantage, driving 84 yards in 12 plays and scoring on a 13-yard pass from Manning to wide receiver Sterling Shepard to head to the locker room trailing 21-13.

(Editing by John O'Brien)