Will Giants rest starters vs. Eagles in Week 18?

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Will Giants rest their starters vs. Eagles in Week 18? originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia

It’s decision time for the Giants.

After making it into the playoffs on Sunday, the Giants are locked in as the No. 6 seed in the NFC ahead of their Week 18 game against the Eagles at the Linc. The Eagles can earn the top seed in the conference with a win, but the Giants have nothing to play for.

So what is the Giants’ plan? Are they going to play or rest their starters?

“We’ll talk about it and do what’s best for the team,” Giants head coach Brian Daboll said to reporters on Monday afternoon. “It’s early Monday, go out there and try to have a good week of practice. Prepare like we normally do and decide what we want to do relative to who’s playing, who’s not playing.

“Whatever we think is best for our team, that’s what we’ll end up doing.”

The Eagles beat the Giants 48-22 a few weeks ago so they might be able to beat them again with everyone playing, especially if Jalen Hurts returns in Week 18. But it would be a lot easier if the Giants pack it in to prepare for their first-round playoff game.

And after the way things have gone for the Eagles in back-to-back losses, they’ll take any advantage they can get as they try to earn that No. 1 seed and the first-round bye week that comes with it.

Daboll said he’ll have conversations with Giants general manager Joe Schoen and his coaching staff to come up with a plan this week.

“I don’t think we need to make that decision right now,” Daboll said. “Again, we’ll do whatever we think is best for our guys and our team come this week.”

It is worth noting how many times Daboll said he’d do what’s best for his team. And the fact that he didn’t just come out and say they’re playing starters probably lends itself to the idea that they won’t.

For what it’s worth, the oddsmakers clearly think the Giants are going to take it easy in Week 18. The Eagles opened up as 14-point favorites, according to PointsBet.

Daboll said he’d draw on some past experiences with other teams who have been in similar situations. Most recently, he was the offensive coordinator with the Bills in 2019 when Buffalo had to make a tough decision. Already locked in as the No. 5 seed in the AFC that year, head coach Sean McDermott played a lot of his starters in the regular season finale but pulled them pretty early and the Bills lost to the Jets 13-6.

Then the Bills lost to the Texans 22-19 in the first round of the playoffs the next week after blowing a 16-0 lead.

“I think each year is different,” Daboll said. “What we have to make decisions on is what’s best for our team, not any other team that I’ve been a part of. I think those decisions need to be talked about and well thought out. And by the end of the week, you should have a plan that you want to go with and it’s not just, ‘Hey, let’s do this.’ There’s obviously reasons behind it and take your time to make those decisions.”

The Eagles could technically still get the top seed in the NFC even with a loss next Sunday. But that would require the Cowboys to lose to the Commanders and the 49ers to lose to the Cardinals. If the Eagles lose on Sunday, they’d likely be the No. 5 or No. 2 seed and have to play in the first week of the playoffs.

A couple years ago, you might remember that the Eagles rested their starters in the meaningless 2020 regular season finale, which resulted in a loss to Washington, keeping the Giants out of the playoffs.

The word “integrity” was tossed around a lot after that decision and the Giants, then coached by Joe Judge, were not pleased. But that case was different because the Eagles weren’t resting up for a playoff run. Many thought they were simply trying to boost their draft status.

Daboll on Monday was asked if he’ll consider integrity as he makes this decision.

“No, I just try to consider what’s best for our team,” he said. “That’s what I always consider.”

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