The New York Giants (9-6-1) face off against the Philadelphia Eagles (13-3) in their 2022 regular-season finale at Lincoln Financial Field on Sunday.
Here are the top storylines we’re following in Week 18.
Eagles can clinch the No. 1 seed
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With a victory, the Eagles can clinch the NFC East and home field throughout the NFC Playoffs. They are 14-point favorites over the Giants and oddsmakers are making them so much of a sure thing this week, the money line is a ridiculous Eagles -1100, Giants +750.
They can also clinch the top seed if they lose and both the San Francisco 49ers and Dallas Cowboys lose. The odds are long on one of these three teams losing and almost impossible on all three losing.
Giants will rest some key players
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Resting players in the regular season is not as much of an option as people make it out to be. Teams can only dress 47 players on game day as it is, so most starters have to play at least some snaps.
In this game, defensive tackle Leonard Williams (neck) and outside linebacker Azeez Ojulari (ankle) have already been ruled out and cornerback Adoree’ Jackson (knee) will likely be held out again this week.
The Giants would like to limit the use of their key players since the game is meaningless to them in the standings. They are locked into the 6th overall seed and cannot gain anything by going all out to win this game.
Head coach Brian Daboll has been cagey about how much — if any — players such as quarterback Daniel Jones and running back Saquon Barkley will play as well as some others.
Jalen Hurts is questionable
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Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts (shoulder) is questionable for this game after missing the last two games — both of which have been Eagles’ losses.
Head coach Nick Sirianni said this week that Hurts is ‘trending in the right direction’ and hopes that he can face the Giants. We likely won’t know until close to game time, which is 4:25 p.m. ET on Sunday.
In the first meeting between the two teams this year on December 11, a 48-22 Eagles win, Hurts threw for 217 yards on 21 of 31 passing with two touchdowns. He also rushed for 77 yards and another score.
The Damar Hamlin effect
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The on-field injury to Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin has affected us all in one way or another but it has especially hit home to many Giants players and coaches, who have played and worked with Hamlin during their years in Buffalo.
This week has been a reflective one for a lot of people and the positive news on Hamlin’s condition has been inspiring. Daboll was the Bills’ offensive coordinator the past few seasons and knows Hamlin very well. The good news on Friday that Hamlin was improving was uplifting.
“Awesome. It’s probably uplifting for the entire league, hearing what you just heard when I was coming out here. Just so thankful that he’s trending in the right direction. But it gives you a boost because you’re praying so hard for the young man. To see him improve, or to hear about him improving the way he’s improving, it’s just, it’s an awesome thing. It’s awesome,” he said.
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Sunday’s game is a formality for the Giants. They are hoping they can get through it without any further injuries and keep somewhat sharp in the process.
They will likely lose this game and finish with a 9-7-1 record, their best since going 11-5 back in 2016. They are locked into the 6th seed in the NFL playoffs and will hit the road next week in the wild-card round against the No. 3 seed.
Who will that No. 3 seed be?
It will be either the San Francisco 49ers, the NFC West champs, or the NFC North winners, the Minnesota Vikings.
If the Niners beat the Cardinals this week, they stay at No. 2 and the Vikings at No. 3. If Minnesota wins and San Francisco somehow loses, the Giants will head out to Santa Clara next week.
Giant fans are hoping things remain status quo and they get to face the Vikings, who they almost beat two weeks ago in Minneapolis.