The stakes couldn’t be any more different for the Philadelphia Eagles and New York Giants heading into their Week 17, regular-season-finale matchup on Sunday afternoon.
The Giants are one final step from ending the torture that was the 2019 season as the 4-11 side has become nothing short of an embarrassment under head coach Pat Shurmur and general manager Dave Gettleman.
Of course, the wins are coming at the most inopportune time of this lost season. After starting the year 2-11, the Giants have reeled off two-straight wins to hurt their draft stock.
Obviously, the notion of tanking is drawn out and overplayed. Current coaches and players are going to do everything possible to win because their jobs are seldom guaranteed.
But these recent victories mean that the Giants could lose out on Ohio State defensive end Chase Young, who is forecasted to be a game-changer wherever he lines up next season.
Granted, Shurmur is not likely to see the benefit of whomever the Giants draft in the spring considering his job is very much on the line. As is Gettleman’s, at this point.
Regardless, they’ll try to spoil the Eagles’ path to the playoffs on Sunday evening.
Philadelphia is firmly in the driver’s seat in the NFC East following their victory last week over the Dallas Cowboys. With a one-game lead in the division (ignore the subpar 8-7 record), all the Eagles have to do is beat the Giants and they win the East and make the playoffs.
If they lose and the Cowboys defeat the Washington Redskins, it’s Dallas in the playoffs and the Eagles heading home.
The Giants gave the Eagles plenty of trouble three weeks ago on Monday night when Eli Manning paced New York to a surprising 17-3 first-half lead.
But Carson Wentz showed the first inklings of what has become the clutch gene for him over the past month.
He led the Eagles back from the brink to beat the Giants in overtime before pulling out a last-second win in Washington over the Redskins. Last week, he went off for 319 yards on 31-of-40 passing in a 17-9 win over Dallas.
And he’s getting it done with a second-rate group of playmakers ranging from Miles Sanders (who is emerging as a legitimate No. 1 back), to Greg Ward, to Boston Scott.
Philadelphia’s defense, however, is owed plenty of credit considering they held the likes of Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott to just nine points in Week 16.
While the standings suggest they have an easier matchup against the Giants, New York’s attack is still a daunting one.
Rookie quarterback Daniel Jones is healthy and firing on all cylinders after scoring the Redskins for five touchdowns last week.
Second-year running back Saquon Barkley also looks like his old self — shaking off the lingering effects of a high ankle sprain that saw his production muted from Weeks 7-14.
Barkley posted 112 yards on 24 carries against the Miami Dolphins in Week 15 before he went off for 279 total yards (189 rushing) and two touchdowns.
If the Eagles want to secure their playoff spot, they have to take down two of the bright young stars in the division.
Here is how to watch:
Eagles vs. Giants Week 17 viewing information
Date: Sunday, Dec. 29
Time: 4:25 p.m. ET
Live Stream: Fox Sports Go