The Philadelphia Eagles have one last chance to claim the No. 1 spot in the league. And, Sunday they go up against the New York Giants to do that.
After losing the last two consecutive games in the absence of quarterback Jalen Hurts, the Eagles have gone from shoe-ins to living on the edge.
Here are five things that will happen during the Eagles vs Giants game.
EAGLES VS GIANTS: 5 THINGS THAT WILL HAPPEN
1. Jalen Hurts will be starting quarterback
Quarterback Jalen Hurts was in the running to become MVP this season, and a shoulder injury has hindered that over the last two weeks. With Gardner Minshew taking this place, the Eagles lost against the Dallas Cowboys and New Orleans Saints, bringing their record to 13-3.
Sunday against the Giants is a must-win game for the Eagles. If they don’t pull off a win and claim the No. 1 seed, they will fall to No 5, and Philly is never going to let that happen.
The Eagles won’t play Hurts the whole game to avoid more issues, but he will certainly start the game, gaining a lead to allow for Minshew to take over.
This week, Minshew stated, “He [Hurts] looks great, man. He’s a freak. He’s right back to where he needs to be. Excited to see him, whatever happens moving forward.”
Wide receiver A.J. Brown also added, “We are all excited to see him back. He is locked in for sure. He definitely had a tempo about him today. He was telling guys, come on, hurry up. I’m glad he’s back.”
2. The Eagles will play their starters until they feel safe pulling them
Going along with starting quarterback Jalen Hurts, the Eagles can’t mess around this game. Philadelphia must start the game with all of their leading players, and it’s likely fans will see them until half-time.
With the receiving trio of A.J. Brown, DeVonta Smith, and Dallas Goedert, the Eagles should be able to gain a large lead early on. It will also give the team a chance to practice before they enter playoffs.
3. C.J. Gardner-Johnson will return for a limited time
C.J. Gardner-Johnson’s 21-day practice window has been activated. He has been out since November when the Eagles played the Green Bay Packers. After suffering a lacerated kidney, he was eligible to return last week, but Philadelphia didn’t want to push their luck.
Gardner-Johnson was leading the league in interceptions. He is now one of four players to be tied for six.
With the playoffs looming, it will be smart to put CJGJ back in the lineup come Sunday. The game will be used as a simple warm-up before it’s time for the real deal.
“I’m going to be happy to see him back out there, you know, having fun,” cornerback James Bradberry said. “I’m sure he’s going to be talking a whole lot. And, of course, his playmaking ability. We definitely miss him out there on the field.”
4. Eagles finish with 5+ sacks
The Eagles have 67 total sacks this season and are one away from making NFL history. Throughout the last five consecutive games, they have finished with six or more sacks — the first team to complete this feat since 1982.
With the Eagles likely to start their key players (and the Giants likely reverting to back-ups), it should be easy for Philadelphia’s defense to accomplish this.
5. Eagles win claiming the No. 1 seed
If you look at overall rosters, the Philadelphia Eagles are the better team. With the previous two games being a fluke, the Eagles have the best winning record with Jalen Hurts at quarterback.
Recently, Vegas changed their betting odds, with 14 points against the spread. And, if anyone knows anything, it’s Vegas.
The Eagles are 8-2 as home favorite under head coach Nick Sirianni, and they haven’t lost to the Giants at home since Chip Kelly led the team.
The Philadelphia Eagles will host the New York Giants at Lincoln Financial Field on Sunday, January 8. Kick-off is scheduled for 4:25 PM.