February 6, 2023

Everyone, relax — 5 observations from Giants-Eagles a day later

Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

Was it the 35-0 beatdown everybody wanted to see from the Eagles over the New York Giants’ B-team this week? No. Was it a win? Yes.

All that matters is the NFC East title, number one seed, first-round bye, and home-field advantage throughout the playoffs. And the Eagles got it.

The Eagles did what they had to do, and after 18 weeks the Eagles are on top of the NFC. Win two games at Lincoln Financial Field, where they are 7-2 this year, and it’s off to Arizona for Super Bowl 57.

Here are 5 observations from Sunday’s regular-season finale a day later:

  1. It would have been great to see the Eagles trample the Giants’ backups. The Eagles have not really put together a great performance on both sides of the ball since the first Giants game a month ago. But, let us be honest, there has never been any connection between how a team plays at the end of the regular season and the start of the postseason. Think back to 2017, when Eagles fans wanted to bench Nick Foles for Nate Sudfeld because of the way he played down the stretch. That turned out just fine, huh? Now of course there are things that need to be cleaned up, but that’s true for every team, and the Eagles are the only NFC team with two weeks to do so. The advantage of the bye is huge. When the Eagles open up play in the postseason, they will be completely healthy, fully rested, and entirely prepared. No one expected this to end up a six-point game either, but a win is a win is a win. And the Eagles did all they had to do to get the one-seed.
  2. Jalen Hurts made his return after his shoulder sprain three weeks ago in Chicago. He looked a little hesitant, which makes sense after being out the last two games, and he seemed off most of the game. However, Hurts also made some really nice throws, and it was just good to see him back out there pretty much healthy and doing his thing. He may not have looked quite like himself, and who in the world knows what he was thinking on that interception, but the biggest thing is that he didn’t take any unnecessary risks and came out of the game healthy. Give Hurts two more weeks to knock off the rust at practice, get his timing back with the receivers, and get that shoulder healthier and you will see MVP candidate Jalen Hurts back in the playoffs.
  3. A.J. Brown, wow. What an incredible year he had, as he added a 4-for-95 Sunday and finished with 88 catches for 1,496 yards and 11 touchdowns. Brown broke Mike Quick’s record for most receiving yards in a single season in Eagles history. He did it pretty Quick (get it?). DeVonta Smith was 7-for-67 and became the first Eagles wide receiver ever to surpass 90 catches in a season. It is going to be fun to see what kind of damage they can do this postseason.
  4. Jake Elliott is the absolute man. He went out Sunday and went 5-for-5 scoring 15 points worth of field goals, including a 52-yarder and a 54-yarder. He reminded all of us just how solid he really is. He has always been clutch, going back to his game-winning 61-yarder in his rookie season. Elliott has made seven of his last eight kicks from 52 yards or farther, and he’s now 52% in his career from 52 yards and out. Elliot was my man of the match.
  5. The Eagles’ defense did not get any takeaways against Davis Webb, who was making his first career start. This surprises me. They missed or dropped five interceptions, and missed four or five sacks, finishing with just two and 70 for the season, two away from the all-time NFL record. This defense has been very good all season, but they need to start making those plays instead of flat-out missing them. A dozen interceptions in the first eight games and just five in the final nine. Not good enough. They had so many opportunities Sunday, have to execute.

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