Eagles vs. Giants: 7 storylines to watch in Week 18

The Eagles and Giants are set for a season finale full of questions, injury concerns and storylines to watch heading into Sunday.

1. Who will start at QB for Philadelphia

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Head coach Nick Sirianni said that if Hurts is medically cleared by the team’s doctors and training staff this week, he will start against the Giants. Hurts amassed 294 yards of total offense and accounted for three touchdowns in the matchup earlier this season against the Giants, a 48-22 win in Week 14.

“First and foremost, we’re always going to want him to be healthy enough to not put himself at danger. That’s first and foremost,” Sirianni said, “but also so that he can perform at a high level. When you’re talking about throwing the football and an injured shoulder, it’s a little different than other injuries. He’s got to be able to throw the ball down the field. He’s got to be able to throw it accurately. He’s got to be able to throw it with velocity, so that he can be effective as a quarterback.”

The Giants clinched a playoff spot on Sunday against the Colts and are locked into the No. 6 seed in the NFC.

Hurts returned to practice last week and participated during individual and positional drills, and he’s expected to participate in today’s walkthrough.

2. Status of safety C.J. Gardner-Johnson

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Gardner-Johnson had his 21-day practice window activated on Wednesday, but we’ll wait and see if he plays in Week 18.

“Chauncey is a little bit harder to do anything much in there because it’s his body healing. Jalen has done the rehab. He’s always working and I know they are getting better each day as far as what they’ve done because of who they are and how they’re rehabbing, how our trainers and our doctors and our strength coaches help them out because we have top-notch guys right there. They’re all a little bit better than they were even yesterday.”

The versatile defensive back brings calm to the Eagles’ secondary and allows Jonathan Gannon to let Darius Slay and James Bradberry loose on the opposition’s best pass-catchers.

3. No. 1 overall seed is on the line

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The Eagles play the Giants on Sunday at Lincoln Financial Field with a chance to clinch the No. 1 seed in the conference playoffs with a win or a tie against New York.

“We just want to go out there and play a good game, obviously, this next game, and play to our abilities, coach to our abilities,” Sirianni said.

A win on Sunday and Philadelphia is the No. 1 seed, with a week to rest before a divisional matchup against a potential NFC East club.

4. How will Gannon's defense respond

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Philadelphia has watched Dak Prescott, Andy Dalton and Taysom Hill carve his defense up through the air, and even with the six-sack performance from last Sunday, the Birds have to be more aggressive.

Will Jonathan Gannon use Week 18 to shore up a defensive backfield that has looked lost at times, and he could potentially insert C.J. Gardner-Johnson back into the lineup?

5. Eagles looking to break NFL single season sack record

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Following a 7-sack performance in the loss to New Orleans (2nd-highest total this season), Philadelphia has now totaled a team-record 67 sacks. Only four teams have posted more sacks in NFL single-season history – the 1984 Chicago Bears (72), 1989 Minnesota Vikings (71), 1987 Chicago Bears (70), and 1985 New York Giants (68).

The Eagles are the first team since 1982 to post 6+ sacks in 5 consecutive games.

6. DeVonta Smith closing in on Eagles wide receiving record

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Smith (9 catches, 115 yards) is now tied for the most receptions (88) by a wide receiver in single-season franchise history, joining Irving Fryar in 1996. Smith also tied Jordan Matthews (152, 2014-15) for the most receptions by an Eagle during their first two NFL seasons.

Smith is tied for the 3rd-most receptions in franchise history (also Zach Ertz in 2019), trailing only Ertz in 2018 (116) and Brian Westbrook in 2007 (90).

7.A.J. Brown is closing in on Mike Quick's 40-year-old record

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Brown caught 4 passes for 97 yards (24.3 avg.) and one touchdown in the loss and now has 1,401 receiving yards this year, which is 8 yards shy of Mike Quick’s single-season team record (1,409 in 1983).

Brown has matched his career high 11 touchdowns scored in 2020 with the Titans.

Story originally appeared on Eagles Wire