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Giants vs. Eagles Preview: Finding meaning in a meaningless game

Mike Kaye and Dan Klausner preview Sunday's season finale against the Giants.

Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

The season is all but over for the Eagles as they prepare to face the Giants on Sunday. Out of the playoff race and with not much to play for, the Eagles will compete to win a game of pride. The Eagles-Giants rivalry is historic and the two teams tend to take it very seriously.

The Eagles will have Mark Sanchez at quarterback again and will avoid checking out future assets like Jaylen Watkins, Taylor Hart and others. Chip Kelly wants to finish with a 10-6 record for the second straight season, but the Giants will serve as an interesting challenge. The Giants have rebounded from their early struggles and are looking to finish this season strong.

Here are some of the important questions heading into Week 17:

Is the three-game skid the start of something awful or will the Eagles see this as a bump in the road moving forward? What can the Eagles take away with a win against the Giants?

Mike Kaye: I think this is a bump in the road for a franchise with major questions at quarterback. While I think it will prove extremely difficult to find a solution at the position, I also would find it hard to believe that Chip Kelly would have another major tailspin in 2015.

I am not really sure what you take away from a win against the Giants, except for a second season of 10-6. Double digit wins are nothing to take for granted, despite not making the playoffs.

Dan Klausner: It doesn't have to be the start of something awful, so long as the Eagles don't pretend for a second straight offseason that the answer to the quarterback question is already on the roster. There is a foundation for success with the head coach and at a majority of the positions. That said, Nick Foles' historic 27-2 campaign in 2013 delayed the inevitable for a year, and while I think he'll be the starter going into 2015, it won't be on the "we have our franchise quarterback" level that so many people believed five months ago. The franchise cannot afford to fool itself and waste another year with the same crop of quarterbacks. That includes Chip Kelly, who has the ultimate say in handpicking his quarterback with the Eagles and punted on an opportunity this past draft to select, say, Teddy Bridgewater. There needs to be a promising rookie quarterback on the roster in 2015. Period. End of story.

The Eagles can take away from this Giants game something that Mike brought up in his opening lede: Pride. It is still a fierce rivalry, and I'm sure deep down the players and coaches, despite the disappointment of the last three weeks and inability to continue on into the playoffs, don't want to slap themselves with the "loser" tag. Get that sour taste out of your mouth, end what was once a promising season on a positive note and come back hungry to erase this feeling in 2015.

The Giants have become an offensive force over the last few weeks. How scary and real is Odell Beckham, Jr?

MK: ODB is very, very real. It will be a nightmare to cover him for the next 5-10 years as he blends strength, speed and playmaking ability into one turd sandwich for defenders. Beckham is already a Top 10 wide receiver in my humble opinion.

DK: Yeah, what Mike said, this is reeeeeeeeeeal bad for us moving forward. The Eagles understood Beckham's unique skill set and stratospheric potential, it's just unfortunate a division rival with an earlier pick felt the same way and addressed a need at wide receiver. Way to go, Cleveland, ya morons. Speaking of the Browns, they could have selected Beckham and Bridgewater. Oops.

Who are your offensive and defensive MVPs for the season? Why?

MK: On offense, I'd say Jeremy Maclin. There is no way this team has a winning record with the type of inconsistent quarterback play the Eagles have had without a star receiver. Maclin had a Pro Bowl-caliber season but was snubbed because Sanchez didn't look his way for most of his time at quarterback. He was on pace for a ridiculous season in the first eight games.

On defense, let's go with Connor Barwin. The guy wasn't considered a talented pass rusher or even a Pro Bowl talent until this season and literally made the pass rush come alive. His ability to get to the quarterback was huge in at least a handful of wins. You could definitely make the case for Fletcher Cox here because he does so much and allows for Barwin to get to the quarterback at times, but my money is on CB98.

DK: I understand the Maclin selection, but I have to go with Jason Peters. He was the only member of the offensive line to play in all 16 games and, for my money, is the best player at his position in the entire league. In his second full season back from what was (rightfully) thought to be an injury that would sap his superior effectiveness for the rest of his career, Peters was at peak performance level. Run blocking, pass blocking, out in space -- it didn't matter, he excelled. How many times did you find yourself saying, man, Peters didn't look good on that play or Peters is struggling in this game? I think I remember two times, total.

On defense, there is simply just one acceptable answer: Bradley Fletcher. But really, as Mike said, it's between Cox and Barwin, and I'm going with the former despite the latter's gaudier stats.

What is your prediction for Sunday's game?

MK: I think the Eagles win out of anger, 31-27. ODB scores three touchdowns on Bradley Fletcher...

DK: I think the Eagles come out strong but ultimately fade in the second half because of the things that have plagued them all season: turnovers and penalties. Beckham torching Fletcher is a given, and the Giants have been on a roll offensively. They've also been playing "meaningless" games since mid-November and aren't dealing with the sting of an embarrassing late-season collapse -- in fact, they're on the exact opposite trajectory of the Eagles, having been 3-9 before reeling off three straight wins in December. I'm sure they also have revenge on their minds after getting shut out in Philadelphia in October, which initiated the seven-game losing streak to torpedo their season. 34-24, Giants.

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