PHILADELPHIA (AP) Because they couldn’t win on the road, the New York Giants ensured they won’t open at home if they make the playoffs.
Three of Eli Manning’s career-high 63 passes were intercepted, including one that Malcolm Jenkins returned for a touchdown, and the Philadelphia Eagles beat the Giants 24-19 Thursday night to snap a five-game losing streak and prevent New York from clinching a playoff spot.
”We didn’t play well enough,” Manning said. ”I got off to a bad start and spotted them a 14-0 lead.”
The loss gave Dallas the NFC East title – and home-field advantage throughout the conference playoffs. The Giants (10-5) still own the top wild-card position and will end their four-season playoff drought this weekend if Detroit, Green Bay, Tampa Bay or Atlanta loses.
If not, they get in with a win at Washington next week.
”We need to be confident,” Manning said. ”We can get healthy and get a little break these next couple days and come back and practice and play better football.”
After Darren Sproles gave the Eagles (6-9) a 7-0 lead on a 25-yard TD run, Jenkins picked off Manning and ran it back 34 yards for a 14-0 lead. Jenkins got another interception in the second half, the second time he’s had two picks in a game in his eight-year career.
”I want to be wherever the ball is,” Jenkins said. ”If I play deep too long a lot of times, I get bored.”
Carson Wentz threw a touchdown pass to Nelson Agholor and later shook off a late hit that forced him to miss his first snaps of the season. The rookie quarterback even threw a lead block on a double reverse after he passed concussion tests.
Then the defense delivered a stop on fourth down before Terrence Brooks clinched the win with an interception at the Eagles 5.
”My name was called and I made the most of it,” said Brooks, who had not played a defensive snap this season before getting in for two plays against the Giants.
Here’s some things we learned in Philadelphia’s win over the Giants:
LANE’S IMPACT: Eagles right tackle Lane Johnson returned from a 10-game suspension for violating the NFL’s policy on performance-enhancing drugs and immediately showed why he’s so valuable. He wiped out the left side of New York’s defensive line twice on big gains on the offense’s first series, including a block on Landon Collins to clear a path for Sproles on his TD run. The Eagles are 4-1 with Johnson, 2-8 without him.
”It was huge to get Lane back,” Wentz said. ”That was a big spark for us.”
WAITING GAME: The Giants couldn’t do the deed themselves Thursday night and now must wait for the weekend’s action. They have plenty of opportunity to qualify for the postseason while opening holiday gifts.
If the Falcons (9-5) lose at Carolina, New York is in. If the Packers (8-6) lose to Minnesota, New York is in.
Should Tampa Bay fall at New Orleans, the Giants advance. And if Detroit (9-5) is beaten by Dallas, the Giants are playoff-bound.
”We’re disappointed right now in the way we played tonight,” said Manning, who completed 38 passes for 356 yards and one TD. ”We know we can bounce back next week and still get a win and get in the playoffs.”
They might not need that victory.
BECKHAM’S NUMBERS: Earlier this season, when the Giants beat the Eagles 28-23, Odell Beckham Jr. had only four receptions for 46 yards, though he scored twice. At the Linc, he made 11 catches for 150 yards, but didn’t find the end zone.
Beckham has 96 catches for 1,323 yards. His career highs are 97 receptions, set last season, and 1,450 yards.
”I think anytime you get the ball in his hands,” Giants coach Ben McAdoo said, ”you have a chance to go for a touchdown.”
Manning targeted Beckham 20 times; the next favored receiver was Victor Cruz, who caught eight of the 13 balls thrown his way. New York’s only touchdown was a 13-yard pass over the middle to Sterling Shepard, who had seven catches on 11 targets.
But all those throws weren’t enough.
TOUGH KID: Wentz was wobbly after banging his head following Olivier Vernon’s hit but didn’t hesitate to throw himself at Eli Apple on a block after returning to the game.
”If there was anyone out in front, I was going to pick up a block,” Wentz said. ”Once you’re cleared, you’re good to go.”
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