PHILADELPHIHA (AP) — Daniel Jones took the day off. Saquon Barkley and his 1,312 yards rushing never saw the field. The New York Giants used a lineup more fitting for a preseason game — all so they could stay healthy for a playoff game.
The final score — Eagles 22, Giants 16 — was largely immaterial to New York on Sunday night. The Giants already secured the No. 6 seed in the NFC and just needed to get through the game to learn their playoff opponent.
Now they know, and the Giants (9-7-1) head to Minnesota (13-4) for a rematch of their first meeting this season, played just two weeks ago.
The Giants expect a better outing than their one Sunday.
“I’d say we did enough to get to the postseason,” coach Brian Daboll said.
The Giants, winners of four Super Bowls, are in the playoffs for the first time since 2016.
The game film and scouting reports are about as fresh for both teams as they can get. Greg Joseph’s franchise-record 61-yard field goal as time expired on Dec. 24 gave the Vikings a 27-24 victory.
Jones had 334 yards and a touchdown to Isaiah Hodgins with one interception on 30-for-42 passing. Barkley rushed 14 times for 84 yards.
The Giants were ready to get back to New Jersey and start thinking about the Vikings.
“We’ve got to take these buses home, get in the training room, get in the meeting room and have our best week of preparation,” Daboll said.
New York’s reward for clinching a playoff spot last week was the chance to give the backups a shot against the Eagles, who clinched the top seed in the NFC with a victory.
In a surprise decision, the Giants elevated Davis Webb off the practice squad and started him over No. 2 QB Tyrod Taylor. Webb, in his first career start, rushed for a 14-yard touchdown in the fourth that made it 19-9. He tossed a 25-yard TD pass to Kenny Golladay late in the fourth that made it 22-16. He threw for 168 yards on 23-of-40 passing.
“Very thankful for that opportunity,” Webb said. “It was a battle. They’re a really good team, but I didn’t play good enough for us to win early in the game.”
Daboll didn’t get into specifics on why he chose Webb over Taylor. And he had no regrets about running out his B-team against an Eagles team that had plenty to lose in defeat.
“It’s the NFL, so the guys you have on the team, you have confidence in,” Daboll said. “I thought our guys competed all the way to the end.”
Golladay, who had 11 touchdowns for Detroit in 2019, scored his first one in two seasons with the Giants.
“It felt good to finally get that first touchdown,” he said.
It was about time. So was their return to the playoffs.
The Giants overcame injuries and a 2-4-1 slide in November and early December to become the third NFC East team to qualify for the postseason, joining Philadelphia and Dallas. The bulk of the credit goes to first-year general manager Joe Schoen and rookie coach Daboll. They straightened out the franchise after the Giants went 4-13 last season, their fifth straight double-digit losing season. The Giants have made the playoffs only twice since they won their fourth Super Bowl in February 2012.
New York’s season already seems a success.
The Giants, though, want so much more.