With or without Carson Wentz, the Eagles have sealed up a first-round bye.
Sunday’s 34-29 win over the Giants guaranteed that Philadelphia (12-2) will watch the wild-card round from home while keeping pace for the No. 1 overall seed in the NFC.
Minnesota’s 34-7 romp over the Bengals prevented Philadelphia from sealing up the top spot, but the Eagles control their destiny over the Vikings (11-3) with games remaining against the Raiders and Cowboys.
Here’s what we learned from Philly’s victory over the G-Men:
1. The Giants (2-12) had a chance to win the game on fourth-and-goal from Philly’s 11-yard line with 48 ticks on the clock. It was not to be, though, as Eli Manning’s pass sailed over the head of rookie tight end Evan Engram. Another ugly result for a Giants team that dialed up its finest performance on offense all year, piling up more points than in any game over the past two seasons under fired coach Ben McAdoo. Manning threw for a career-high 252 yards in the first half and finished with 434 yards on the day, his most in two years. Early scoring drives of 75, 75 and 80 yards were highlighted by a 67-yard catch-and-run to pay dirt by Sterling Shepard (11/139/1), who made a huge impact in the passing game along with wideout Tavarres King (2/70/1) and Engram (8/87). Eli tossed a bad pick before the half that led to an Eagles score, but would arguably have earned the win if kicker Aldrick Rosas didn’t have a field and an extra point blocked.
2. Nick Foles wasn’t the reason Philly’s defense doubled as an open barn door for much of the showdown. In his first start, the experienced Wentz understudy finished 24-of-38 passing for 237 yards, wiping away a 20-7 deficit and throwing for four scoring strikes, his most since a wild, seven-touchdown outing against the Raiders in 2013. Foles came out winging the ball, going four of four on Philly’s opening touchdown drive and showing chemistry with Alshon Jeffery (4/49/1) and Nelson Agholor (7/59/1). The Eagles were helped by a pair of killer Giants mistakes — Eli’s pick and a blocked punt — that triggered two quick touchdowns and a 21-20 lead before the break. The turnovers helped, but Foles played a clean game from start to finish.
3. What did we learn about Philly’s long-term chances in the playoffs, minus Wentz? I saw a coaching staff that refused to play around Foles, allowing him to throw the ball and gain comfort with his wideouts against a division opponent. You can’t duplicate what Wentz does pre-snap, his remarkable footwork, the eyes in the back of his head or his knack for dialing up big-time throws that rip the heart out of opponents. Foles, though, committed no turnovers and generated six scoring drives. What more can you ask from a No. 2? If the defense can hold up its side of the bargain, Philly remains a genuine Super Bowl threat in the NFC.