Giants must exorcise Eagles demons with season on the line

The first nine games of the season do not matter.

Evan Engram dropping that critical fourth-quarter pass at the Linc does not matter. Andrew Thomas mimicking Ereck Flowers does not matter.

Daniel Jones stumbling at the end of that 80-yard sprint does not matter. His turnover history does not matter. Golden Tate’s timeout does not matter. Lawrence Taylor sacking Ron Jaworski does not matter. Michael Strahan versus Jon Runyon does not matter. Chuck Bednarik laying out Frank Gifford does not matter. Bill Parcells versus Buddy Ryan does not matter.

Sunday at 1 p.m. matters.

Only 2020 could give us a season when a team that hasn’t beaten anyone except the Washington Football Team can still be thankful this close to Thanksgiving to be playing what will feel like a playoff game.

That team, of course, is the New York Football Giants.

Only 2020 can give us a division where a 2-7 record is not a death sentence. When a 3-7 record would mean new life, sudden life.

That division, of course, is the NFC East.

No one — not the Eagles, not the Cowboys, not the Giants, not the Washington Football Team — has made a convincing argument that they want to win it.

The Giants get this one last chance to make that argument.

There were never any medals for trying, not even with a rookie head coach navigating a pandemic in the midst of an ongoing rebuild, but now?

Daniel Jones and the Giants will get another shot at the Eagles on Sunday.Charles Wenzelberg/New York Post

There are only medals for winning.

The Giants are certain they are better than they were at the start of the season. They believe they are better than they were last week, because they believe they are getting better every day.

If they aspire to be remembered as something more meaningful than the fighting Joe Judges, as busy Big Blue beavers who are together as together can be, they will be better than the 3-4-1 Eagles on Sunday:

Daniel Jones shows up as an aggressive game manager who treasures the football and directs a balanced offense behind an evolving, rotating offensive line.

Redemption for Engram and Thomas.

More than the one target Darius Slayton received against WFT (good self-restraint, Mrs. Tate) and the three targets he received in the first Eagles game.

A defense that finally finished against Alex Smith finishes this time against Carson Wentz.

The last time the Giants beat the Eagles was Nov. 6, 2016, at MetLife Stadium. Ben McAdoo was a rookie head coach. Eli Manning was the quarterback. Odell Beckham Jr. caught a pair of touchdown passes. Eli Apple was a rookie. Wentz was a rookie. Doug Pederson was a rookie head coach.

None of it matters.

Eagles 22, Giants 21 on Oct. 22 does not matter.

Just these three hours on Sunday matter.

The staggering Mike McCarthy Cowboys are 2-7 and are demoralized without Dak Prescott. The 2-6 WFT benched Dwayne Haskins, lost Kyle Allen and turn to Smith, their profile in courage personified. The Eagles get back running back Miles Sanders on Sunday and would appear right now to be the team to beat.

“It’s up for grabs,” Giants center Nick Gates said. “Anybody can have it.”

The football gods who have been so cruel to the Giants since 2017 have mercifully decreed that everything is still in front of them.

Everything else is behind them.

It is past time for the Giants to beat the Eagles. The eight straight losses to them do not matter.

Do you want a season, New York Giants?

Then eight is enough.

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