Quick 24 News

Giants-Eagles Divisional Round: 10 people to watch


For a matchup that already has taken place twice in the past six weeks with a third meeting on tap for 8:15 p.m. on Saturday night in Philadelphia, it still feels as if we have yet to see the full-fledged battle the Giants and Eagles are capable of having.

What better time to have it come than in the NFC’s Divisional round?

Both teams are expected to be as close to full strength as they have been in any of their meetings this season, which included a 48-22 pounding by the Eagles in Week 14 and a tighter 22-16 Eagles win in a Week 18 game that was meaningless for the Giants.

With that in mind, here are the 10 most important and interesting figures who will shape the result of Saturday’s showdown with a trip to the NFC Championship at stake:

1. Daniel Jones: He had a mediocre game against the Eagles in Week 14 — completing 18 of 27 passes for 169 yards and a touchdown and running four times for 26 yards and another score — and rested during the season finale. But the Giants quarterback showed what he’s capable of last week against the Vikings, both with his arms and his legs, and made himself some serious free-agent money in the process. Can he possibly do it two playoff games in a row, this one against a much stiffer defense?

Jalen Hurts #1 of the Philadelphia Eagles tries to run away from Nick McCloud #44 of the New York Giants during an NFL game on January 8, 2023.
Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts could be a game-breaker or be compromised by a late-season shoulder injury.
Getty Images

2. Jalen Hurts: No list is complete without both quarterbacks, so we’ll get the other one out of the way here. Hurts carved up the Giants in Week 14, going 21-for-31 for 217 yards and two touchdowns while rushing seven times for 77 yards and a touchdown. Then he was kept in check in Week 18, his first game back from a sprained right shoulder, as he threw for 229 yards and an interception and didn’t run much against mostly the Giants’ backups. The former Alabama (and Oklahoma) QB can be a game changer when right. But is he fully healthy?

3. Saquon Barkley: Like Jones, Barkley was far from his best during the only game he played against the Eagles this season. In the Giants’ Week 14 loss, the star running back had nine carries for 28 yards and caught two passes for 20 yards. He did not find the end zone, and revealed after the game he had suffered a stinger during the week that left him as a game-time decision. But against the Vikings, Barkley looked fresh and often as if he was being shot out of a cannon. The Giants sure could use a few more of those big runs on Saturday.

4. Haason Reddick: Running back Boston Scott is the Eagle known as the “Giant killer,” and for good reason, but Reddick has wreaked havoc against the Giants, too. As a Cardinal in 2020, he racked up a career-high five sacks in one game against the Giants, albeit against a much different offensive line. This season, he led the Eagles’ sack attack with 16 and could become even more of a hometown legend Saturday with another big game in disrupting Jones. Right tackle Evan Neal will have his hands full in trying to contain Reddick.

Philadelphia Eagles linebacker Haason Reddick (7) celebrates a defensive stop during the first quarter against the New York Giants at MetLife Stadium.
Eagles linebacker Haason Reddick has demonstrated the ability to ruin the Giants’ day.

5. Adoree’ Jackson: The Giants’ top cornerback missed both games against the Eagles this season because of a sprained MCL. In his absence, the Eagles’ top two receivers, A.J. Brown and DeVonta Smith, combined for 20 catches for 296 yards and two touchdowns in the two games combined. But Jackson showed the kind of impact he can have last week, when he limited Vikings star receiver Justin Jefferson to seven catches for 47 yards. He’ll need a similar performance on Saturday to give the Giants a chance.

6 and 7. Lane Johnson and Kayvon Thibodeaux: Johnson, the veteran right tackle, missed the final two games of the regular season, and without him, the Eagles gave up a combined nine sacks — after allowing just 35 through the first 15 games. Johnson will try to play through a torn adductor on Saturday, putting off surgery to return for the Eagles’ playoff run. Thibodeaux, who embraces the spotlight, will be playing on his biggest stage yet as he attempts to take advantage of a less-than-100-percent Johnson.

8 and 9. Dexter Lawrence and Jason Kelce: It is the Eagles’ defensive front that has drawn all the attention this season, rightfully so. But Lawrence is putting the finishing touches on his own breakout season in the middle of the Giants’ defensive line. The 342-pounder did not record any sacks last week against the Vikings, but certainly made his presence felt while giving Kirk Cousins precious little time to feel comfortable in the pocket. Lawrence gets a bigger test Saturday going up against Kelce, the All-Pro center.

Kayvon Thibodeaux #5 of the New York Giants reacts as he walks off the field after the New York Giants defeated the Minnesota Vikings in the NFL playoffs.
Giants rookie Kayvon Thibodeaux will be going against one of the best in the business in Eagles tackle Lane Johnson.
Charles Wenzelberg/New York Post

10. Giants coordinators: We’re putting two people in one spot here because OC Mike Kafka and DC Wink Martindale are in similar spots. Both were requested to interview for head coaching jobs, but neither took those interviews this week, instead keeping their full focus on the Eagles. Will Kafka and/or Martindale strengthen his résumé by finding ways to break down one of the NFL’s top offenses and defenses?

Come chat with us

Post football writer Ryan Dunleavy will be hosting a live chat on Friday at noon ET exclusively for Sports+ members. He’ll answer all of your questions about the Giants-Eagles showdown … or anything else that’s on your mind about the playoffs and what’s happening around the NFL. It’s going to be a fun and informative time, so come hang out. Click here to join.

Today’s back page

The back cover of the New York Post on January 20, 2023.
New York Post

Read more:

🏈 Eagles’ Lincoln Financial Field has been a House of Horrors for Giants

🏀 Knicks center Mitchell Robinson out after surgery in injury crusher

🏒 Rangers plagued by familiar struggle in loss to NHL-best Bruins

🏀 Nets’ frantic rally not enough, still winless without Kevin Durant

It’s prospect season

Pitchers and catchers are set to report to Florida and Arizona in less than a month, but this time of the baseball calendar also serves another purpose: It’s officially prospect season.

New York Mets designated hitter Francisco Alvarez (50) reacts after striking out against the Atlanta Braves.
Mets catcher Francisco Alvarez remains a top-10 prospect, per Baseball America.

Baseball America released its 2023 Top 100 prospects on Wednesday, and MLB.com is rolling out its position-by-position top 10s before unveiling its own Top 100 list next week. While the Mets and Yankees are about to ramp up for what they each hope is a title-contending season, they are well-represented in Baseball America’s Top 100:

9. Francisco Alvarez, C, NYM
14. Anthony Volpe, SS, NYY
16. Kodai Senga, RHP, NYM
33. Brett Baty, 3B, NYM
50. Kevin Parada, C, NYM
62. Oswald Peraza, SS, NYY
67. Jasson Dominguez, OF, NYY
78. Everson Pereira, OF, NYY
92. Alex Ramirez, OF, NYM
94. Austin Wells, C, NYY
98. Jett Williams, SS, NYM

Though the rankings typically generate plenty of interest and excitement among baseball fans, they also can lead to prospect hugging and overhyping players who are still very early in their professional careers. In baseball, perhaps more than any other sport, the road from the draft (or international signing period) to the big leagues is often not straightforward, which is important to keep in mind.

Mind you, this is not a dig at Baseball America or other publications that pump out strong work on prospects year in and year out. Instead, it’s a reminder to not hitch your wagon to a set of rankings, both in setting expectations for what a prospect eventually will accomplish in the majors and in forming an opinion on whether he should be included in trade talks before he gets there.

As a refresher, Baseball America’s Top 100 from just five years ago largely nailed it with a top three of Ronald Acuña Jr., Shohei Ohtani and Vladimir Guerrero Jr.; Yankees second baseman Gleyber Torres was No. 6 on that preseason list in 2018 and Padres star Fernando Tatis Jr. was ninth.

Estevan Florial grounds out for the New York Yankees.
Estevan Florial hasn’t lived up to his prospect billing with the Yankees — yet.
Charles Wenzelberg/New York Post

But further down that list? No. 36 Willie Calhoun, No. 38 Estevan Florial, No. 41 Justus Sheffield, No. 59 Miguel Andujar, No. 77 Albert Abreu, No. 81 Chance Adams and No. 94 Andres Gimenez.

Five years later, the Yankees are about to enter spring training with Calhoun and Florial at big league camp, hoping (but not banking on) that they can live up to the projections that once made them top prospects to help fill their void in left field.

Sheffield was shipped to Seattle in the James Paxton trade, and was designated for assignment on Thursday after mostly struggling for the past four seasons. Andujar was designated for assignment by the Yankees last season. Abreu was designated for assignment twice last season. Adams did not pitch in affiliated baseball last season at all.

Gimenez thrived with the Guardians after being dealt by the Mets in the Francisco Lindor blockbuster.

Oh, and No, 56 on the 2018 list? Juan Soto. Just a reminder to take each prospect ranking with some perspective and patience, if nothing else.

Roman folly day

For a short time on Thursday — it was about an hour and a half — Jets fans could dream big.

Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson talks with offensive coordinator Greg Roman during practice on July 29, 2022.
Ravens offensive coordinator Greg Roman (left) is now out of a job, and superstar quarterback Lamar Jackson is set to be a free agent. Hmm.
Tribune News Service via Getty Images

Shortly after 1 p.m., news broke that Greg Roman was stepping down as offensive coordinator of the Ravens. With the Jets needing to find both an offensive coordinator and a legitimate quarterback, it didn’t take long for the speculation to begin of Roman bringing pending free agent Lamar Jackson with him to Florham Park.

But by 2:30 p.m., Ravens head coach John Harbaugh and GM Eric DeCosta were holding a press conference in Baltimore during which they made clear they intend to re-sign Jackson and even said Jackson will have a role in selecting the team’s next offensive coordinator.

Of course, they also said it takes two to tango, meaning Jackson will need to agree to a new contract. And until he does, anything can happen — including the Ravens just slapping the franchise tag on him to make sure he doesn’t get away.

Perhaps the Jets still might consider Roman. If not, they have one more team to compete against for a new offensive coordinator, without the allure the Ravens should have with Jackson as their quarterback.


Source link

Comments are closed.