Should the Giants play their starters against the Eagles on Sunday?
The game doesn’t mean anything for them. They’re already locked into the six seed and a win or loss at Lincoln Financial Field changes nothing in that regard. The only potential positives are nebulous in concept, like going into the playoffs with momentum and/or avoiding the rust from having two weeks off.
One other narrative does persist, which is the “revenge” angle, something we’ve been reminded of based on the events that brought the 2020 season to a close. The Birds pulled Jalen Hurts against the Washington Commanders, lost the game, and kept the pitiful 6-10 Giants out of the playoffs, which caused fake tough guy Joe Judge to lecture Doug Pederson about the integrity of the game or some other such horse shit:
Joe Judge drops the hammer on Doug Pederson and the Eagles for their effort Sunday night, without ever mentioning their names …
— Ralph Vacchiano (@RalphVacchiano) January 4, 2021
Now, if Judge was still in charge of the Giants, the “we need to deliver payback to the Eagles” narrative would have more juice. They can’t knock the Birds out of the playoffs, but they can bump them out of the #1 seed with a win on Sunday, which may or may not amount to FOOTBALL JUSTICE, depending on what Giants fan you ask.
But Judge is not the Giants head football coach, and Brian Daboll wasn’t there when T.Y. McGill pulled off a masterclass in neutral zone infractions. Daboll likely does not give one one-millionth of a shit about the 2020 game that kept New York out of the playoffs, and ownership I’m sure has moved on as well, or at least understands that there’s little upside here. The net positive is what, knocking the Eagles down a peg? The net negative is risking injury to Daniel Jones and Saquon Barkley in a game that ultimately means nothing.
That’s why it’s hard to get behind the Eagles/Giants/2020 narrative, because so much has changed in a short amount of time. Both head coaches were fired. New York has a new general manager. The stakes are completely different. If I’m New York, there’s no way in hell I’m playing Saquon on Sunday. Maybe Daniel Jones could get a series or two, and you treat it like a preseason game to avoid getting rusty, but there’s just very little logic in playing the starters the entire game when the upside just is not there.