The Eagles beat the Giants 24-19 on the final Thursday Night Football game of the 2016 season. As always, there’s winners and losers in every game. This one has lots of winners.
The Eagles won, snapping a five game losing streak, and winning their first one score game and first NFC East game. And because they don’t hold their own first round pick, you don’t have to worry about it effecting their first round draft position. And since it’s a Thursday night game, you get a few extra days to enjoy it. Happy holidays.
People who watch the Eagles know that Wentz is a rookie who has a terrible set of wide receivers and an inconsistent running game, and that Wentz is unafraid to throw deep and is capable of magic with his legs. He hasn’t played his best football since the Eagles 3-1 start, but he hasn’t been as bad as the stats make him look.
But many people do not watch the Eagles, and this was a chance for Wentz to show them who he is. And he and the Eagles offense played and looked pretty much as he has all season: the wide receivers were pretty bad, the run game was inconsistent, and Wentz showed that he was capable and unafraid to throw deep and produced more dazzling scrambles. And on top of that, he seemed to clean up his back foot throws that have been an issue for him the past few weeks. Wentz looked like a rookie with a lot of potential but who also needs a better supporting cast. Which is exactly what he is.
Pederson has gotten a lot of criticism during the Eagles losing streak, some fair, most of it over the top. A win would do him wonders, and he got it. He ran the ball early, and with it got a lead his team never gave up. His used his challenges well, forcing a fourth down and improving a field goal attempt.
Pederson wasn’t in danger of getting fired, but a divisional win should silence the critics. A six win season is a respectable total for a rebuilding season in a tough division.
Jim Schwartz and his unit haven’t had their best games lately, and against Odell Beckham Jr. and Sterling Shepard, there was a pretty good chance they wouldn’t again. But they picked off Eli Manning three times, including a game sealer with the Giants threatening to score.
The counting stats will say they played a bad game: Odell Beckham had 150 yards and Eli Manning had 356. But it took Manning 63 attempts to do that, which is just 5.7 yards per attempt. Beckham’s 150 came on 11 catches, an average of 13.6, which is about what you would expect a WR with 11 catches to get.
There’s a case to be made that Malcolm Jenkins deserves to be a Pro Bowler. With a pick six and another interception, Jenkins was playing like one.
Johnson came off a 10 game suspension and went straight into the starting line up, and adding to the degree of difficulty, it was on a short week. Even the Eagles weren’t sure how rusty he would be. Turns out there wasn’t much. It wasn’t Johnson’s best game, but it was good enough, and all things considered that’s pretty good.
Pro Bowler vs Pro Bowl snub? Olivier Vernon had 7.5 sacks in his last 7 games. He and the Giants had none, as Peters shut Vernon down in the passing game. Reputation pick? Nah.
Picked up off the waiver wire at the beginning of the season, Brooks had himself a game. He has established himself as special teams contributor, getting double digit special teams snaps in 8 of his 9 games played. Against the Giants, he had a coming out party: he forced a fumble by Dwayne Harris on a punt return (that was recovered by the Giants) and then in his debut on defense, had the interception to put the game away. That’s a hell of a game for a role player.
The Cowboys, sadly
The Giants loss clinched the NFC East and the #1 seed in the NFC for Dallas. You’re begrudgingly welcome. Do the Eagles a solid and rest all the starters next week.
The Giants lost, and with it the division and a first round bye.