Eagles stand in way of Giants clinching playoff berth
PHILADELPHIA | All the New York Giants have to do to secure a playoff berth is beat a struggling division rival headed nowhere.
That’s no simple task in front of a hostile crowd and a national audience.
There’s plenty at stake when the Giants (10-4) visit Philadelphia (5-9) on Thursday night.
A victory would secure New York’s first playoff berth since 2011 and also keep pressure on NFC East-leading Dallas (12-2). But prime-time games in Philly have been tough on the Giants lately. They lost 27-0 on a Sunday night in 2014, and 27-7 on a Monday night in 2015.
“I’ve been called every name in the book in Philly, but you have to embrace it,” wide receiver Odell Beckham, Jr. said. “They don’t want to see you win. It is a pretty ruthless place down there.”
The Eagles have lost five straight games and they’re 2-9 since a 3-0 start, but six of those losses were one-score games. Among them was a 28-23 loss to the Giants on Nov. 6.
Eli Manning nearly gave that game away. The Eagles had four chances to score the winning touchdown from the Giants 17 in the final minutes after Jordan Hicks made an acrobatic interception of Manning’s pass. However, Carson Wentz threw four straight incomplete passes .
“We’re in all these close games,” Wentz said. “To come up short time and time again, that (stinks). It’s tough and there are things we keep saying we have to learn from. At the end of the day, we have to find a way to win these ballgames.”
They also want to prevent the Giants from celebrating in their house. Last year, the Cardinals and Redskins clinched playoff berths in consecutive games at the Linc.
“There is motivation to definitely make sure that that playoff spot isn’t clinched here in Philly if we can control it,” safety Malcolm Jenkins said.
Eagles right tackle Lane Johnson returns after serving a 10-game suspension for violating the league’s performance enhancing drugs policy.
The team was 2-8 without him and used four guys to fill his spot. Halapoulivaati Vaitai, Matt Tobin, Allen Barbre and Isaac Seumalo each had a turn.