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December 29, 2019

Handing out 10 awards from the Eagles-Giants game

The Philadelphia Eagles completed their four-game run-the-table stretch through the the NFC East to take home the division Sunday evening, with a final score of 34-17 over the New York Giants.

As always, win or lose, we hand out 10 awards.

1) The 'NFC East Champions' Award: The Philadelphia Eagles

The Eagles' 2019 regular season was never pretty, and their divisional championship was aided in large part to playing in an absolutely dreadful NFC East, in which Washington and the Giants were bottom five NFL teams, and the Cowboys woefully underachieved. 

Still, the Eagles had to win their final four games to get in, and that they did, despite dealing with an absurd number of injuries, and surviving a point a loss to the Dolphins in Miami that felt a lot like rock bottom. 

The Eagles entered this season as Super Bowl contenders in the minds of many, and their 9-7 record has to be viewed as a disappointment, and yet, no matter what happens in the playoffs, there's plenty of things that happened this season, most notably the play of Carson Wentz down the stretch, that the fan base can hang their hopes on going forward.

2) The 'Walking Wounded Award, Part 1' Award: The Eagles' inactives

Four players appeared with either "questionable" or "out" designations on the final Friday injury report, and none of them were able to go against the Giants. 

It was learned that Zach Ertz had lacerated his kidney (!) in addition to the rib injury he suffered against the Cowboys last Sunday. He's probably done for the season.

Lane Johnson's high ankle sprain kept him out once again, requiring Halapoulivasti Vaitai to start once again.

Nelson Agholor is still on the shelf, meaning that the Eagles practice squad all-stars were going to get a full complement of snaps once again.

And even Jalen Mills, who most thought would be a go, could not play, meaning that the Eagles would be without their top two corners. 

Whatever. Nothing new here.  

3) The 'Walking Wounded Award, Part II': The Eagles' latest round of injuries

As always, the Eagles will have a new set of injuries to deal with this week. The most notable newest bodies on the pile are Brandon Brooks, who was carted off with a shoulder injury, and the explosive Miles Sanders, who suffered an ankle injury, and could not return.

Again, whatever. Same s***, new week.

4) The 'Giant Killer' Award: Boston Scott

In the Eagles' win over the Giants Week 14, Scott had 10 carries for 59 yards and a TD, to go along with six catches for 69 nice yards. On Sunday, he carried 19 times for 54 yards, which isn't an awesome yards per carry average, but shut up because he had 3 TDs. He also added four receptions for 84 yards, which included this devastating spin move that juked Jimmy Hoffa out of his jock.


Lol. That is the most unnecessary-but-awesome spin move in the history of football.

5) The 'There It Is!' Award: The Eagles' pass rush

The Eagles' pass rush has been absent of late, but they were downright dominant against the Giants' offensive line in the second half. They sacked Daniel Jones four times (Derek Barnett 2, Brandon Graham 1, Timmy Jernigan 1), and Malcolm Jenkins caused a fumble (which didn't count as a sack) that was recovered by Fletcher Cox, in what was perhaps the biggest play of the game.

The Eagles are going to have to win decisively in the trenches if they're going to have a chance in the playoffs. 

6) The 'Real Heroes' Award: The Eagles' offensive line

A lot of attention has been given to guys pulled off the practice squad, like Scott and Greg Ward, for example, but none of it would be possible without the Eagles' stellar offensive line. There's a hiccup here and there (like Vaitai's holding penalty, for example), but on the whole, Philadelphians have just come to expect greatness from this group, and that's what they were on Sunday.

Wentz often had plenty of time to throw. He was only sacked once, and the O-line also made big plays in the screen game. On the Scott spin move play, check out Jason Kelce and Isaac Seumalo:

7) The 'NEXT!' Award: The Seahawks or Niners

The Eagles will play the loser of the Seahawks-49ers game, and at the time of this writing, the Niners are leading 13-0.

In my view, the Niners are the substantially better team, and the Eagles are better off getting the banged-up Seahawks in the wildcard round. 

8) The 'Point Differential Champions' Award: The Cowboys

Congratulations to the Cowboys, for putting a 47-13 drubbing on Washington, and improving their season point differential to +113, which is sixth in the NFL. The Cowboys were an elite team this season when they played bad teams, and nobody can take that away from them.

Because they had such a high point differential, does that mean they're going to the playoffs?

9) The Coach of the Year Award: Doug Pederson, maybe?

OK, so Doug Pederson isn't going to win NFL Coach of the Year this year, given the Eagles' preseason expectations. And somehow, he didn't win it in 2017. But if we were to give that award over the three year stretch from 2017 to 2019, is there a coach more deserving?

No matter how down this team looks at times, they prove their resiliency over and over, and in my view, that's a credit to Pederson.

10) The 'Playoff Quarterback' Award: Carson Wentz

The way that Wentz closed this season is really nothing short of remarkable. After Sanders and Brooks left the game on Sunday, Wentz was playing without his RB1, RB2, RB3, RB4, WR1, WR2, WR3, TE1, RT, and RG.

And yet, somehow, the Eagles have gained at least 400 yards in each of their last four games. If there was any question who the leader of this football team is after the season that Wentz has had, there isn't anymore.

Oh, and hey, Wentz will play in his first playoff game in a week. So that'll be (a) good for him, just to get that experience under his belt, and (b) you know, fun to watch. 

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