Could the Philadelphia Eagles put resting key starters for the playoffs above going all-out in an effort to win the NFC East title on Sunday when they face the New York Giants? Eagles coach Nick Sirianni admitted on Monday that it is a consideration.
“Obviously, we always try to think through everything at all times and we are always thinking about those things,” he said. “We’re going to do whatever we need to do to win this game. But still, that’s a consideration, what you’re saying, because we think through all those different things. So, we understand we are at the mercy of another team to win the division, all those different things. But we still know that we’ve got to — like you can’t control that (Commanders-Cowboys) game, right.
“There are so many different things that you can’t control in there, so you’ve got to do what you’ve got to do to win this game.”
The Eagles can win the division for the second year in a row if they beat the Giants, but for that to happen they need the Washington Commanders to defeat the Dallas Cowboys. Both games kick off Sunday at 4:25.
The Eagles, once 10-1 and seemingly coasting to a division title, have dropped four of their last five games. Their only victory was 33-25 over the Giants in Week 16, a game in which Philadelphia nearly surrendered a 20-3 halftime lead. In Week 17, the Eagles lost to the 4-12 Arizona Cardinals.
Sunday’s game at MetLife Stadium against the Giants could be viewed by the Eagles as a last chance to try and get themselves straightened out before entering the playoffs and trying to defend their NFC championship.
“Hey, we’ve also got to get out of the rut that we’re in, and so I’m not saying to you yes, I’m not saying to you no,” Sirianni said regarding whether or not he’ll rest players. “I’m saying to you that everything is discussed but there are some unknowns about the game, Dallas and Washington. And we’ve got to start — we’ve got to play and coach good football, too. And to be able to go into the playoffs, again, I’m just answering your question, not that I’m thinking too far ahead, but to go into the playoffs not in a rut.
“Everything is on the table. We’ll think through everything on that. We are preparing right now to play the Giants, and that’s been our big conversation so far. Later this evening, tomorrow, we’ll discuss more about playing and who is up and who is down, so we’ll see.”
A year ago, the Giants rested their own starters in the season finale as they had already clinched a playoff berth and the game was not going to impact seeding. The Giants lost a fun game with Davis Webb getting his only career start at quarterback, 22-16.
The Giants have lost five straight games to the Eagles and are 3-17 in their last 20 games against Philadelphia. It would certainly be fun to defeat the Eagles on Sunday and ensure that the streak of no NFC East team winning back-to-back division titles reaches 19 seasons. The players and coaches will, obviously, try to win the game.
Still, fans are certain to have mixed emotions. The Giants currently have the No. 5 overall pick in the 2024 NFL Draft. A win on Sunday and they could fall as low as No. 8 in the draft. A loss and victories by the four-win Cardinals, Commanders and New England Patriots could push the Giants all the way up to the No. 2 pick.