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Eagles clinch playoff berth with big win over Giants

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ – The gloomy, wintry weather at MetLife Stadium on Sunday indicated that December had arrived in earnest. Teams are at that point in the NFL regular season where it’s too late for them to hide their true nature.

The Philadelphia Giants’ 48-22 rout on Sunday says a lot about where the teams are: The Eagles (12-1) have clinched an NFC playoff berth, while the Giants (7-5-1) are still hoping they can take in one.

Philadelphia took a 24-7 halftime lead, scoring touchdowns on its first three possessions. The Giants dropped punts, appeared to block ineptly and had enough defensive errors to reveal a team that spat until the end.

The Giants’ defense allowed 437 total yards, while the offense struggled to keep pace, converting just four of 13 third downs. Quarterback Daniel Jones completed 18 of 27 passes for 169 yards and a touchdown, but the offensive line allowed seven sacks and 12 quarterback hits. Running back Saquon Barkley, the team’s best offensive weapon, went for just 28 yards. Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts passed for 217 yards and two touchdowns while rushing for 77 yards and a score. Eagles running back Miles Sanders rushed for 144 yards on 17 carries as the team confirmed him as the NFC’s Super Bowl favorite.

Three consecutive streaks in the second quarter seemed to solidify Sunday’s result. On a fourth down near midfield with about 12 minutes left, Hurts fired a 41-yard pass to DeVonta Smith, who beat defensive back Darnay Holmes off the line of scrimmage on a fade route. Safety Julian Love took a bad angle as the ball flew through the air, failing to intercept the pass as it fell on Smith for a touchdown, making it 14-0.

The Giants kicked on the next practice, but Jamie Gillan dropped the ball during his kicking motion, giving the Eagles great position on the court. On the next play, Hurts threw a 33-yard pass to AJ Brown, and the score was 21-0 with just over eight minutes left in the half.

Right after the loss, the Giants’ chances of reaching the playoffs jumped from 64% to 53%, according to The Upshot’s playoff simulator.

The Giants started the season 7-2, a surprising performance under first-year head coach Brian Daboll and general manager Joe Schoen. The Giants staged four fourth-quarter comebacks, led by Barkley, who ranked fourth in the NFL in rushing yards (1,055) on Sunday. Jones has also upped his game, throwing just four interceptions this season. But the Giants have now gone on a four-game losing streak. Starting Nov. 20, they lost to the Detroit Lions and Dallas Cowboys, then last week’s game against the Washington Commanders ended in a 20-20 draw.

Still, entering Sunday, they held the No. 6 seed in the NFC postseason bracket, but the loss knocked them out of playoff position.

The Giants split their two games against the Eagles last season, but Philadelphia has improved a lot. The Eagles’ offense ranked second in scoring, thanks to its powerful option-based system led by a quick offense and the addition of Brown. The Eagles hold the league’s best record and Hurts, a third-year quarterback, has emerged as a contender for the Most Valuable Player award.

With six minutes remaining in the fourth quarter and the outcome no longer in doubt, Sanders earned his second score of the day when he shook the sideline for a 40-yard rushing touchdown. Conceding the loss, Daboll slotted in his backup quarterback, Tyrod Taylor, who lost a fumble on the next drive as the fans left MetLife Stadium in perhaps a more downtrodden mood than the weather.

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