At 10-3, though, the Cowboys are nearly certain to be in the playoff field. That is no longer nearly so clear for the Giants.
They have been one of the surprises of the season, but the Eagles exposed the Giants in a way they haven’t been all season. They were utterly overmatched, falling behind 21-0, unable to stop the Eagles on third down, unable to mount much of a rushing attack, unable to protect Daniel Jones. At 7-5-1, the Giants could certainly still grab one of the NFC’s three wild-card spots. But they are, at their core, still very much a rebuilding team, with seismic personnel decisions to come, and many roster holes that will need to be filled. In the first half of the season, they played well over their heads. They were well-coached, and they were opportunistic, keeping every game close and capitalizing on every chance to seize a victory. But that 7-2 start obscured the Giants’ reality. If opponents can stop the run — a banged-up Saquon Barkley had just 9 rushes for 28 yards — the Giants have no sustainable passing offense to rely on. The offensive line is still leaky and thin (Jones was sacked four times). And while the defense has kept the Giants in most games, it has been repeatedly undermined by injuries and inconsistency. It gave up 253 yards rushing to the Eagles.
The Giants are 1-4-1 in their last six games, and they seem to be finding their level. They are likely not as good as their early record was, and not as bad as their record in recent games. Next week’s contest against the Commanders, who are also 7-5-1 but are 6-1-1 in the last two months, will determine exactly where that level is and if it is high enough to get into the playoffs. Washington could only muster 20 points its last time out — a tie with the Giants — but should be well rested coming off a bye.
Coach Brian Daboll was asked what the loss to the Eagles said to him about where the Giants are in relation to some of the best teams in the league.
“We got beat handily,” he said. “It was 48 to whatever it was. They’re a good football team. Give them a lot of credit. Got to get back to work.”
For the Giants, that work is certain to continue in the offseason. For the Eagles, the offseason looks unlikely to start for quite a while.
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