The Philadelphia Eagles snapped their three-game losing streak on Sunday, defeating the New York Giants 33-25 on Christmas to take a one-game lead in the NFC East. Quarterback Jalen Hurts led the Eagles offense, rushing for 77 yards and a touchdown while passing for 217 yards.
Back-and-Forth Battle Goes Down to the Wire
The game was close throughout, with four lead changes in the first half alone. The Giants struck first with a field goal, but Miles Sanders answered with a 40-yard touchdown run to put the Eagles up 7-3. New York responded with a touchdown of their own to retake the lead 10-7.
Hurts put together an impressive two-minute drill at the end of the second quarter, finding DeVonta Smith for a 41-yard completion and later scrambling for a 9-yard touchdown. The Eagles took a 20-17 lead into halftime.
The second half saw more lead changes. The Giants went back in front 22-20 after a blocked punt led to a short Daniel Jones touchdown run. But Hurts engineered another scoring drive capped off by a Jake Elliott field goal for a 23-22 Philadelphia lead.
In the fourth quarter, the Eagles extended the lead on another Hurts touchdown run, his 13th rushing score of the season to set a franchise record for quarterbacks. The Giants cut the deficit to 30-25 with five minutes left on a Jones touchdown pass to Isaiah Hodgins. But Philadelphia was able to run out most of the remaining clock. The Giants got the ball back with 28 seconds left, but the Eagles defense held on.
Key Performances Keep Playoff Hopes Alive
Several Eagles players stepped up with crucial performances to get Philadelphia the must-win game.
In addition to his 77 rushing yards, Hurts went 21 of 31 passing for 217 yards, no touchdowns and one interception. He made key throws when it mattered most to move the chains. Sanders was hugely impactful, racking up 144 yards on just nine carries thanks in large part to his long first quarter touchdown.
On defense, cornerback James Bradberry got revenge against his former team, picking off Jones in Giants territory which set up Sanders’ score. Rookie defensive tackle Jordan Davis made one of the game’s biggest plays, blocking a Giants punt to give New York a short field and temporary lead in the third quarter.
For the Giants, Jones played well in defeat. He passed for 252 yards and a touchdown while adding 77 rushing yards and an additional score. Running back Saquon Barkley totaled 133 yards from scrimmage on 28 touches with one touchdown. New wide receiver addition Isaiah Hodgins hauled in eight passes for 105 yards and found the end zone.
But ultimately Jones’ two interceptions, including Bradberry’s pick, proved too costly. And the Giants defense had no answers for containing Hurts and the Eagles rushing attack.
What This Means for NFC East, Playoff Picture
With the win, the Eagles move to 13-3, putting them one game up on Dallas for first place in the NFC East. Meanwhile the Giants fall to 8-7-1 but remain in position for an NFC wild card spot.
If the regular season ended today, the NFC playoff bracket would look like:
The Eagles are still shooting for the NFC’s #1 seed and lone first-round bye. But securing the division crown is critical not just for playoff positioning but also to maintain home field advantage. Philadelphia finishes the regular season at home next week against New Orleans while Dallas hosts Tennessee.
As for the Giants, their focus now turns to trying to lock up their wild card position to end a six-year playoff drought. They conclude the season on the road against Indianapolis.
What’s Next for Eagles and Giants after Christmas Clash
For the Eagles, Sunday’s win means little time to revel in victory with a game against the Saints only six days away. Maintaining momentum will be critical as Philadelphia tries to snap a two-game home losing skid. New Orleans has struggled this season but did shut down the Eagles two years ago.
Hurts must continue to pace the league’s fourth-ranked rushing attack, which oddly has posted its three worst outputs of 2022 in the last three games. Miles Sanders needs to keep making explosive plays like his early touchdown gallop. And the Eagles defense has to cut down on allowing chunk plays while generating more takeaways.
If Philadelphia takes care of business against New Orleans, it can start making serious Super Bowl plans. With the Eagles back on track, they are again looking like a formidable NFC contender behind Hurts’ MVP-caliber campaign.
The outlook is murkier for New York after dropping a heartbreaker that could have pulled even atop the NFC East. While still in playoff position, the Giants now need help to win the division and must avoid an upset loss to Indianapolis to clinch a wild card spot.
Rookie head coach Brian Daboll has to rally the troops after the emotional setback of seeing a potential go-ahead touchdown drive stalled late by a questionable offensive pass interference call. New York can take solace in generally outplaying Philadelphia for stretches. But critical mistakes proved too much to overcome.
Getting after Eagles backup quarterback Ian Book will be imperative next week as New York tries to finish the regular season strong before its first playoff appearance since 2016. The sting of narrowly falling short on Christmas Day must fuel Big Blue the rest of the way.
There you have it – the full story on the Eagles defeating the Giants 33-25 on Sunday. Philadelphia took control of the NFC East while keeping Super Bowl aspirations intact. New York still has playoff hopes alive but saw its long division title shot chances severely diminished. This Christmas clash shook up the NFC playoff picture with one week left in the regular season.
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