This could very well be the first meaningless game in Chip Kelly’s career.
But don’t mention that to him.
Kelly intends to play to win against the Giants Sunday (a 1 p.m. start on FOX), despite the fact that the only good that can happen in the Week 17 match up is a Birds loss, giving them a better draft pick.
The 9-6 squad was 9-3 not too long ago, with more than a 90 percent chance of making the playoffs, according to fivthirtyeight.com.
But now, Mark Sanchez, LeSean McCoy and the rest of the second place Eagles will play for pride. And against division rivals New York it might be a bit easier to focus. Afterall, a division game is a division game.
And so, for the last time the season here are Metro’s three keys to victory for the Philadelphia Eagles.
Backed in a corner
The Eagles’ secondary in all likelihood cost them their playoff spot. Huge offensive outputs from DeSean Jackson in Week 16 and Dez Bryant in Week 15 led to the Birds losing both games.
The Giants have a superstar wideout of their own in Odell Beckham Jr. Beckham Jr. is having an outrageous season and has become a viable candidate for NFC Rookie of the Year honors.
With Bradley Fletcher listed as questionable (thankfully for many Birds fans), Cary Williams will be tasked with keeping ODB in check, with Brandon Boykin and Nolan Carroll III also pitching in at cornerback. Keeping Eli Manning in check defensively will be key for the Eagles en route to win No. 10.
Never too late to rush
The Eagles pass rush is among the best in the NFL and perhaps keeping Manning in check by applying pressure via Connor Barwin, Trent Cole (expected to return after hand surgery) and company can help the Eagles prevail at MetLife Stadium.
With Barwin headed to his first Pro Bowl, coach Kelly expressed his disappointment over the snub of Fletcher Cox. The defensive lineman is having a breakout year for Philly but was passed over when the Pro Bowl rosters were announced Tuesday. Maybe he’ll take his frustration out on the Giants.
Don’t expect Marcus Smith II to get many snaps. Despite being the Eagles first-round pick and the Birds out of contention, the Birds’ coaching staff will not give the rookie an extended look.
Padding the stats
The Eagles can still set a team record for points in a season Sunday. Philly has scored 440 points so far, the second-highest total in team history behind last year’s effort of 442. They will in all likelihood beat the mark Sunday.
The Eagles have scored 50 touchdowns, second most in team history, and have picked up 333 first downs, the third most in team history.
LeSean McCoy has already run for 1,220 yards, the ninth best season in Eagles history.
And just for good measure, the Eagles have three receivers with over 50 receptions apiece for just the second time in franchise history – one of whom is Jeremy Maclin, who has collected 1,269 yards, the fourth most in team history.