Thu Dec 26 4:58pm ET
By TOM CANAVAN
AP Sports Witer
New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley, right, runs for a long touchdown while avoiding a tackle from Washington Redskins free safety Montae Nicholson during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Dec. 22, 2019, in Landover, Md. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley catches a touchdown pass from quarterback Daniel Jones during the first half of an NFL football game against the Washington Redskins, Sunday, Dec. 22, 2019, in Landover, Md. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley, right, catches a touchdown pass from quarterback Daniel Jones, not visible, as Washington Redskins strong safety Landon Collins (20) tries to defend during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Dec. 22, 2019, in Landover, Md. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
Dallas Cowboys outside linebacker Sean Lee (50) tries to stop Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver J.J. Arcega-Whiteside (19) during the first half of an NFL football game Sunday, Dec. 22, 2019, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Chris Szagola)
Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz, left, meets with Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott after of an NFL football game Sunday, Dec. 22, 2019, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Michael Perez)
Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz (11) throws a pass as Dallas Cowboys defensive end Demarcus Lawrence defends during the first half of an NFL football game Sunday, Dec. 22, 2019, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Michael Perez)
Philadelphia Eagles tight end Dallas Goedert (88) catches a touchdown pass over Dallas Cowboys cornerback Jourdan Lewis (27) and Xavier Woods (25) during the first half of an NFL football game Sunday, Dec. 22, 2019, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Michael Perez)
Philadelphia Eagles' Dallas Goedert celebrates after scoring a touchdown during the first half of an NFL football game against the Dallas Cowboys Sunday, Dec. 22, 2019, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Michael Perez)
New York Giants outside linebacker David Mayo (55) lifts tight end Kaden Smith, center, after he caught the game-winning touchdown pass from quarterback Daniel Jones during overtime of an NFL football game against the Washington Redskins, Sunday, Dec. 22, 2019, in Landover, Md. The Giants won 41-35 in overtime. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
Washington Redskins quarterback Case Keenum (8) pushes his way to score on a keeper as New York Giants defenders, from left, B.J. Hill, Markus Golden and Deone Bucannon try to stop him during the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Dec. 22, 2019, in Landover, Md. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) Despite a season marked by injuries to key players and inconsistency, the Philadelphia Eagles have a shot at not only making the playoffs, but getting a home game.
That's the NFC East this season, and the Eagles (8-7) can wrap it up by beating the New York Giants (4-11) on Sunday at MetLife Stadium.
Philadelphia is riding a season-high three-game winning streak coming into the regular-season finale. Beating the Giants has been the norm lately. Doug Pederson's team has won six straight times and 10 of 11 against New York.
''Things didn't look too good for us obviously just a few weeks ago, but our guys have battled, put ourselves in this position,'' Pederson said. ''For us, it's just a matter of trying to go 1-0 like everybody does in these games. We've got to have a good week of preparation, and if we do the things that we're capable of doing and take care of the football and all that, then hopefully we can become the champs.''
The problem for the Eagles is the division has been unpredictable.
Just ask the Dallas Cowboys. They led it most of the season, were coming off an impressive win over the Rams and had beaten the Eagles earlier in the schedule. With a clinching on the line in Philadelphia last weekend, they laid an egg in a 17-9 loss. A win would have wrapped up the division.
Now it's the Eagles' turn.
The problem is the Giants have played well lately, winning their last two, albeit against weaklings Miami and Washington. New York also build leads of 19-3 and 17-3, respectively, in their last two games with Philadelphia, only to see the Eagles rally. The 23-17 overtime loss in Philadelphia stung big time.
''We want to play spoiler,'' veteran safety Antoine Bethea said. ''We are not going to the playoffs so we definitely want to get this W and knock them out. We don't want anyone celebrating on our field.''
Five things to watch Sunday:
After struggling with an ankle injury most of the season, Giants running back Saquon Barkley is back. The No. 2 overall pick in the 2018 draft has two straight 100-yard games, including a career-best 189 yards rushing last week. He finished with a franchise-record 279 yards from scrimmage.
The Eagles have the No. 3 ranked run defense (88 yards average). They limited Barkley 66 yards on 17 carries on Dec. 9. Last season, Barkley ran for 100 yards in each of the two games against them and had touchdown runs of 50 and 51 yards.
Rasul Douglas is expected to start for Ronald Darby, who was placed on injured reserve with a hip injury. Darby will miss his 21st game in three seasons with the Eagles. He was beaten by Darius Slayton on a pair with of touchdowns on Dec. 9.
Douglas gets the nod over Sidney Jones, and Avonte Maddox remains in the nickel spot.
''He's the one that had the most reps and time there,'' Pederson said. ''We know Sidney has filled in well; obviously Avonte Maddox is another one that we could possibly work in that rotation. ''
The Eagles are going to see something new: Rookie Daniel Jones is starting at quarterback for New York. Eli Manning had been the Giants' only starter against them since the teams' second meeting of the 2004 season. Jones missed the 23-17 overtime loss earlier this month with a sprained ankle, so Manning played.
Jones is coming off his best game. He completed 28 of 42 throws for 352 yards, five touchdowns and no interceptions in the 41-35 win over the Redskins.
RUNNING BACK ROTATION
Jordan Howard appears ready to return from a shoulder injury that has forced him to miss the last six games. Howard was Philadelphia's leading rusher before getting hurt. He has 525 yards rushing, a 4.4 average per carry and six TDs. Rookie Miles Sanders has emerged during Howard's absence and should continue to get a bulk of the workload with former practice squad player Boston Scott.
''Miles has made a tremendous impact certainty over the last month, six weeks,'' offensive coordinator Mike Groh said. ''Boston has done a great job and taken advantage of his opportunity. Whenever it is that Jordan is deemed ready to come back, we know we will be able to work him back in.We feel good about all those guys, so we are prepared to use whoever is available. ''
This very likely will be Manning's final game for the Giants. The two-time Super Bowl MVP is finishing his 16th season with the team and his contract is expiring. With Jones now starting, it is unlikely the 38-year-old will be given a new deal. Manning has not discussed his future plans. So how will the home crowd react to the man who was the face of the franchise since 2004?
Five Fantasy Takeaways from Week 12
Denver Broncos rookie wide receiver Jerry Jeudy wasn't alone, but he failed to haul in a pass on his only target in the 31-3 blowout loss to the Saints in Week 12. On a day when practice-squad wide receiver Kendall Hinton filled in at quarterback due to COVID-19 knocking out the rest of Denver's eligible QBs, the Broncos offense managed to complete just one pass against a strong New Orleans defense. Jeudy should've been benched by his fantasy managers, and he should remain there unless Drew Lock makes a return in Week 13 against the Chiefs. The rookie from Alabama had seen 40 targets in his previous four games, but he caught just 18 of them and remains a WR4/flex in deeper leagues in this inconsistent offense. Jeudy had just two catches for 20 yards in the previous meeting with the Chiefs in Week 7.
Denver Broncos wide receiver Tim Patrick had just two targets in the 31-3 blowout loss to the Saints in Week 12 and failed to catch a single pass. Emergency fill-in quarterback Kendall Hinton attempted just nine passes and completed only one of them, so the entire Broncos passing game was non-existent on Sunday. Patrick should only be considered as a WR4/flex in deeper leagues in Week 13 against the division-rival Chiefs if quarterback Drew Lock returns from the COVID-19 protocols. Patrick has been the team's most consistent wideout in 2020 and has three 100-yard games, but he has only three touchdowns and remains a shaky flex play in deeper leagues because of the inconsistent nature of Denver's offense. The 27-year-old caught three of four targets for 44 yards in the first meeting with Kansas City in Week 7.
With Denver Broncos practice-squad wide receiver Kendall Hinton filling in as the team's emergency quarterback in Week 12 against the Saints, tight end Noah Fant caught Hinton's lone completion of the day for 13 yards on two targets. Fantasy managers would've been smart to bench everyone from Denver's offense on this strange day in the 31-3 blowout loss. Unless quarterback Drew Lock returns in Week 13 against the division-rival Chiefs, Fant should remain benched. The 23-year-old is still looking for his first touchdown since Week 2. He caught three of his seven targets for 38 yards in the first meeting with KC back in Week 7. Fant continues to have TE1 appeal with Lock under center, but he'll be more of a low-end TE1 if Lock is cleared from the COVID-19 protocol this week.
Philadelphia Eagles veteran offensive lineman Jason Peters (toe) will play on Monday night against the Seahawks despite having a broken and dislocated toe that will require surgery in the offseason, according to a source. However, instead of playing left tackle and protecting quarterback Carson Wentz's blind side, Peters will be moving to guard to help make up for his lack of mobility. Philly's offensive line, which has been the best at run-blocking so far this season, is encountering some adversity in the form of injuries to Peters and right tackle Lane Johnson (ankle), who said over the weekend that he's done for the season. Although the offensive line still has plenty of talent, they'll be working at far less than full strength in Week 12 against Seattle and to close out the season.
New York Jets head coach Adam Gase and offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains have been splitting the play-calling duties around 50/50 for around the last four games. The Jets have been more competitive in recent weeks, even with backup quarterback Joe Flacco starting two of the last three games, but the Jets remain the only winless team in the NFL through 12 weeks of the season. The play-calling situation probably won't make much difference in New York's underwhelming offense the rest of the way. The good news for the Jets is that quarterback Sam Darnold returned from a shoulder injury in Week 12 and he has his full complement of receivers in Breshad Perriman, Jamison Crowder and rookie Denzel Mims to close out the season. However, it's still hard to get behind any of the team's offensive weapons for fantasy purposes heading into Week 13 against the Raiders.
Tests on New York Giants quarterback Daniel Jones (hamstring) on Monday showed that he avoided a major injury, according to sources. Jones will have an outside chance of playing in Week 13 against the Seahawks, but the team will have a better read on his status when they know if he'll be able to get on the practice field later this week. Jones was looking really good on Sunday against the Bengals before going down with his injury, and he'd offer some streaming upside next week against a bad Seahawks Defense if he's able to play. If he cannot go, the G-Men would likely go with backup Colt McCoy, who came in for Jones in Week 12. McCoy went 6-for-10 for 31 yards in his first game action in 14 months. He'd be a low-end QB2 option for desperate fantasy managers in superflex leagues.
Cincinnati Bengals rookie quarterback Joe Burrow (knee) will head West this week to have reconstructive knee surgery on his ACL, and the procedure will be performed by Dr. Neal ElAttrache in Los Angeles. Although there have been varying reports on whether Burrow will be ready to go in Week 1 of the 2021 season, he's expected to make a full recovery after tearing multiple ligaments in Week 11. Burrow is likely looking at a timetable of around eight to nine months, so we'll have to follow his rehab closely heading into training camp and the start of next season. Cincinnati is expected to play it extra safe with the face of their franchise after taking the former LSU star with the first overall pick in 2020. Brandon Allen got the start at QB in Week 12, but Ryan Finley could also see some starts before the end of the season for the Bengals.
Denver Broncos rookie quarterback K.J. Hamler was not targeted in the passing game and ran the ball twice for negative-eight yards in the 31-3 blowout loss to the Saints in Week 12. With Denver's entire quarterback room out due to COVID-19, Hamler and the Broncos offense had zero chance with practice-squad wide receiver Kendall Hinton under center. The Penn State product had 26 targets in his previous three games, but it amounted to only 160 scoreless yards. Hamler has intriguing long-term upside in Denver's offense out of the slot, but he's too far down the receiving pecking order in an inconsistent offense to be anything more than a WR4/5 option for managers in deeper leagues. The rookie remains more of a dynasty/keeper stash for the time being.
Denver Broncos running back Melvin Gordon III led the team with 12 rushing attempts in the 31-3 blowout loss to the Saints in Week 12, but he only managed 31 yards (2.6 yards per carry). Fantasy managers would've been wise to bench the entire Broncos offense on a day in which they had a practice-squad wide receiver doubling as a quarterback due to COVID-19. Gordon has had double-digit carries in each of the last three weeks, but it's also concerning that he hasn't caught a pass in the last three games. He's become a low-ceiling RB3/flex for fantasy managers, but he could have some RB2 upside next week against the Chiefs if Phillip Lindsay (knee) is forced to miss time due to his injury. Gordon will only be worth starting in Week 13 if quarterback Drew Lock returns.
Denver Broncos running back Royce Freeman surprisingly led the team in rushing in their Week 12 31-3 blowout loss to the Saints on Sunday, carrying the ball eight times for a season-high 50 yards. Almost half of Freeman's yardage came on a 23-yard run. The 24-year-old led the team in rushing on a day in which they used a practice-squad wide receiver as their starting quarterback, but Freeman's role could expand in the coming weeks if Phillip Lindsay (knee) is forced to miss time after suffering an injury. However, with a Week 13 meeting with the division-rival Chiefs on tap, it'll be hard to trust any Denver running back in a game where the Broncos could easily find themselves down multiple scores early once again.
Denver Broncos practice-squad wide receiver Kendall Hinton was forced to start at quarterback in Week 12 against the Saints with Drew Lock and the rest of the team's QB room inactive due to COVID-19. As expected, it was an ugly day overall for all of the Broncos offense, including Hinton. The 23-year-old from Wake Forest completed just one of his nine passing attempts for 13 yards and two interceptions. He was also sacked once and ran the ball two times for seven yards. Hinton put up negative points on the day for those fantasy managers trying to take advantage of his receiver eligibility. It was likely just a one-time experiment for the Broncos with their backs against the wall this week. If Lock and the rest of Denver's QBs cannot play in Week 13 against the Chiefs, expect them to sign a quarterback off the street instead of rolling with Hinton again.
Green Bay Packers center Corey Linsley (knee) is believed to have suffered an MCL sprain on Sunday night, but an MRI exam on Monday will tell the full story, according to a source. Head coach Matt LaFleur said after the Week 11 win over the division-rival Bears that initial indications are that it's not a season-ending injury. Linsley might have to miss some time, but thankfully for the team it looks like he won't miss the rest of the season. Green Bay's offensive line has been excellent in protecting quarterback Aaron Rodgers, as he's been sacked just 11 times in 2020. Linsley missing time would be bad news for the Packers, but it wouldn't be enough to lower Rodgers' sky-high fantasy ceiling.
Cleveland Browns head coach Kevin Stefanski said that defensive end Myles Garrett is on track to be cleared by Wednesday. Garrett has missed the last two games after testing positive for COVID-19, but it looks like he's on track to return for Week 13 against the Titans. The 24-year-old pass-rusher has 31 tackles (23 solo), seven tackles for loss, 14 QB hits, a league-high four forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries and 9.5 sacks in his nine games played this season. He's a continuous disruptive force on the defensive line and is a must-start IDP commodity when he's on the field. The Browns Defense is a much scarier unit when he's active, and it looks like fantasy managers should have him back this weekend.
Philadelphia Eagles TE Zach Ertz (ankle) will not be activated from the Reserve/Injured list to play Monday, Nov. 30.
Fantasy Spin: Dallas Goedert and Richard Rodgers have both been relevant - and canceled each other out to a degree. Goedert is a low-end TE1 if you waited until tonight to use the slot.
Philadelphia Eagles tight end Zach Ertz (ankle) won't be activated from Injured Reserve before the Monday night game against the Seahawks in Week 12, according to sources. Head coach Doug Pederson said the other day that Ertz was unlikely to return on Monday night against Seattle, but there's a chance that he returns in Week 13 against the Packers. Dallas Goedert and Richard Rodgers will handle the tight end position for another week with Ertz out. Goedert is the fantasy relevant tight end of the two and caught five passes for 77 yards and his second touchdown of the season last week against Cleveland. Seattle's defense has been decent against tight ends in 2020, but Goedert will have plenty of TE1 appeal with Ertz still sidelined.
Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers was 21-for-29 for 211 yards with four touchdowns and a 132.3 passer rating in the blowout win over the division-rival Bears in Week 12 on Sunday night. Rodgers leads the league in passer rating (117.6) and is second behind MVP front-runner Patrick Mahomes in touchdown-to-interception ratio (33-4). Green Bay is averaging 31.7 points per game (second-most in the league), the most by Green Bay since 2011 (35.0 points per game) when they finished 15-1 and when Rodgers won his first MVP. He has four straight games with a 70-plus completion percentage, which is the longest active streak in the NFL. Sunday night was his 23rd career game with four or more TDs, no picks and a 125 or better passer rating, tied for the most by any player since at least 1950. He's been sacked just 11 times in 2020 and continues to dice up opposing defenses at will. Continue to roll with Rodgers with confidence as the fantasy playoffs approach.
Jacksonville Jaguars rookie running back James Robinson has been the lone bright spot in 2020 for a 1-10 Jaguars team that fired general manager Dave Caldwell on Sunday night. Robinson had 128 rushing yards and a touchdown on 22 carries (5.8 yards per carry) and also recorded five catches for 31 yards in the Week 12 loss to the Browns. He has 1,170 scrimmage yards through 11 games and is 159 yards away from breaking Dominic Rhodes' record (1,328 in 2001) for most scrimmage yards by an undrafted rookie. Robinson has averaged 106.3 scrimmage yards per game this year, so he should be able to achieve the record, barring injury. The rookie is also one 100-yard game shy of tying Clark Gaines for the most 100-yard games (seven) by an undrafted rookie. Even on a bad team using their third quarterback of the year, Robinson is a must-start fantasy asset every week.
Las Vegas Raiders running back Josh Jacobs (ankle) had his day cut short in the Week 12 blowout loss to the Falcons after just 10 touches and a fumble after he suffered an ankle sprain, according to a source. Jacobs is undergoing tests on Monday, but it sounds like the injury looked worse than it is. The second-year back hasn't missed a game this season, but he might be in danger of sitting out in Week 13 in an excellent matchup against the winless Jets. He'll be a no-doubt RB1 for that matchup if he can play. If he can't, the Raiders will likely use some combination of Devontae Booker and Jalen Richard out of the backfield. The 22-year-old from Alabama had just seven carries for 27 yards on Sunday and caught all three of his targets for 17 yards.
The New York Giants are bracing for quarterback Daniel Jones (hamstring) to miss some time after he suffered a hamstring injury in the Week 12 win over the Bengals, but he'll undergo an MRI exam on Monday to determine his prognosis. Jones went 16-for-27 for 213 yards in the game before leaving and was replaced by Colt McCoy, who would become a desperation low-end QB2 in superflex leagues if he were to make any starts in Jones' absence. Fantasy managers that started Jones in the nice matchup against Cincy were disappointed obviously, but he has a chance to help out again in Week 13 (if he plays) against a porous Seahawks secondary. Stay tuned for more updates on Jones' condition on Monday. If he misses time, all of New York's pass-catchers will have to be downgraded.
Jacksonville Jaguars head coach Doug Marrone and the coaching staff will remain in their positions for the rest of the season.