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Morning Roundup: Who will start at QB vs. Giants?

Jalen Hurts
Jalen Hurts

Before you dive into the Morning Roundup, presented by DraftKings, don't forget to check out these other features from Sunday:

• What are the latest playoff scenarios? Check out the Road to Victory here.

Eagles Insider Dave Spadaro's postgame column looks at how the offense was unable to get on track against the Saints.

• Here's Chris McPherson's instant game recap.

Who will start at quarterback vs. Giants?

The Week 18 matchup against the New York Giants holds plenty of playoff implications for the Eagles, as a win will secure the division title, the No. 1 seed, and the first-round bye in the playoffs.

Gardner Minshew started for a second straight game in place of the injured Jalen Hurts in Sunday's 20-10 loss to the Saints. Minshew was 18-of-32 for 274 yards with a touchdown and an interception that was returned in the fourth quarter for a pick-six by Saints cornerback Marshon Lattimore.

"I think you have to give credit to that defense. That's a good, well-coached defense with good players," Head Coach Nick Sirianni said after the game. "Obviously, we didn't put the players in good enough positions to succeed. We didn't execute well enough.

"It's always going to be those two things. I'm going to have to watch the tape and see what's going on, but there was no – we didn't really have a rhythm going in that first half. I think we had (four), three-and-outs, however many three-and-outs there were."

The Eagles did not get a single first down until late in the second quarter and finished with a season low in points.

"We just couldn't get rolling," Minshew said. "It is one of those things that you try and get that first, first down and we kept shooting ourselves in the foot and getting in our own way. They are a good defense, too. There is not much room for error when you play a team like that. We didn't do enough to win."

Hurts suffered a right shoulder injury in the Week 15 win over Chicago. He returned to practice this week in a limited capacity and while he was doubtful on Friday's game status report, the Eagles were encouraged by the progress that he made in his rehab.

Sirianni said that if Hurts is medically cleared by the team's doctors and training staff this week, he will start against the Giants. Hurts amassed 294 yards of total offense and accounted for three touchdowns in the matchup earlier this season against the Giants, a 48-22 win in Week 14. The Giants clinched a playoff spot on Sunday against the Colts and are locked into the No. 6 seed in the NFC.

"He was close this week," Sirianni said of Hurts. "Obviously, we will take it one day at a time. I mean, for me to say right now and today that, yeah, Jalen is playing or, no, he is not playing I don't think is fair to anybody, because so many things can happen in a week.

"We're going to have to evaluate and see where he is. Nothing changes in that aspect of it. His health is the No. 1 priority and not putting him in a position that is going to risk his health. We'll evaluate that as the week goes. Obviously if he's ready to go, he'll play." – Chris McPherson

Josh Sweat released from the hospital

The Eagles' defense sacked Saints quarterbacks Andy Dalton and Taysom Hill 7 times, becoming the first team in NFL history to record 6+ sacks in 5 consecutive games.

But Fletcher Cox says that's not the statistic to focus on.

"The biggest record today is that we're 13-3 and we lost two games in a row – I think all the sack stuff is out of the window," the defensive tackle said.

Despite the frustrations, Cox assured that the team isn't in panic mode. Instead, they're shifting their focus toward January football with playoff implications. The Eagles need just one more win to secure the NFC East, No.1 seed, a first-round bye, and home-field advantage.

"Just got to find a way to win to get back to winning," he said.

"Obviously, not the outcome we wanted, but we get to play next week in our division, and that's what's most important right now."

Gameplanning for the Giants is front and center, but Cox said that a top priority for him and his teammates tonight is checking in on fellow defensive lineman Josh Sweat, who went down hard early on a tackle attempt of Saints fullback Adam Prentice in the first quarter.

Lincoln Financial Field was near-silent as fans watched trainers secure him on a stretcher. It stayed quiet until he gave a thumbs up on his way out via cart, when fans burst into a 'Sweat, Sweat, Sweat' chant.

The gesture signaled his well-being, and more importantly, the ability to use his extremities.

"It's always hard when a guy goes down, especially when you see him go down and at first he doesn't move," Cox said.

He was relieved when Sweat did his best to let him know he was OK.

Sweat was transported to a local hospital as a precautionary measure following a potential neck injury – the team announced he'd be released this evening.

"He's probably feeling better right now, but at the time, I think that the training staff did a really good job of making sure that they kept them in place, and just making sure nothing really was wrong with him. And he was smiling, so he's in good spirits," said Cox.

"I'm sure some of the guys, maybe a lot of the guys, will probably go check on and just see how he's doing." – Sage Hurley

Other news and notes from the game

Eagles break single-season sack record

• Following a 7-sack performance today (2nd-highest total this season), Philadelphia has now totaled a team-record 67 sacks. Only four teams have posted more sacks in NFL single-season history – the 1984 Bears (72), 1989 Vikings (71), 1987 Bears (70) and 1985 Giants (68).

• The Eagles are the first team since 1982 to post 6+ sacks in 5 consecutive games.

• With Brandon Graham's multi-sack performance helping him earn double-digit sacks (currently 11.0) for the first time in his career, the Eagles became the first NFL team since 1982 (when sacks became an official statistic) to have four players – Haason Reddick (16.0), Javon Hargrave (11.0) and Josh Sweat (11.0) – with 10.0+ sacks in the same season.

• Graham became just the fourth player in Eagles history to reach 70.0 career sacks, joining Reggie White (124.0, 1985-92), Trent Cole (85.5, 2005-14), and Clyde Simmons (76.0, 1986-93).

• Haason Reddick, who also registered a multi-sack performance with his 3rd straight game with 2.0+ sacks, increased his season total to a career-high 16.0 sacks, which is tied for the 6th-most in Eagles single-season history (team record is 21.0 set by Reggie White in 1987).

• Reddick has contributed at least a half sack in 8 consecutive games, which marks the longest streak by an Eagle since Reggie White from 1986-87 (8). It is the best streak by an Eagle in a single season since Greg Brown during the 1985 campaign (8). He is the first Eagle with 2.0+ sacks in 3 straight games since Jason Babin in 2011.

• Javon Hargrave (1.0 sack) increased his season total to a career-high 11.0, which is tied for the 2nd-most ever by an Eagles defensive tackle, trailing only Andy Harmon in 1993 (11.5).

DeVonta Smith ties Eagles record with 3rd straight 100-yard performance

• DeVonta Smith (9 catches, 115 yards) is now tied for the most receptions (88) by a WR in single-season franchise history, joining Irving Fryar in 1996. Smith also tied Jordan Matthews (152, 2014-15) for the most receptions by an Eagle during their first two NFL seasons.

• Overall, Smith is tied for the 3rd-most receptions in franchise history (also Zach Ertz in 2019), trailing only Ertz in 2018 (116) and Brian Westbrook in 2007 (90).

• In addition, Smith became the first Eagle to register 100+ receiving yards in 3 consecutive games (126 yards in Week 15; 113 yards in Week 16) since Terrell Owens in 2004 (5 games).

A.J. Brown closes in on Mike Quick's 40-year-old record

• A.J. Brown, who caught 4 passes for 97 yards (24.3 avg.) and 1 TD, has 1,401 receiving yards this year, which is 8 yards shy of Mike Quick's single-season team record (1,409 in 1983).

• During the third quarter, Brown hauled in a 78-yard TD pass from Gardner Minshew to cut the Eagles' deficit to 10-13. The 78-yard score was the longest passing play of Minshew's career and was Brown's longest catch since a 91-yard TD on 12/8/19 at Oakland with Tennessee.

• Brown matched his career high with 11 receiving TDs (also 2020 with Tennessee).

Jason Kelce's ironman streak

• Jason Kelce appeared in his 175th career regular-season game, tying Brent Celek (2007-17) for the 5th-most in franchise history, behind David Akers (188, 1999-2010), Brian Dawkins (183, 1996-2008), Harold Carmichael (180, 1971-83) and Brandon Graham (177).

• Kelce has started 138 consecutive regular-season games, which is the 2nd-longest active streak among all NFL players, trailing only Jake Matthews (143). It is the longest streak by any NFL center since Casey Wiegmann's 175-game stretch from 2001-11. The streak is the 2nd-longest in team history, behind Jon Runyan (144, 2000-08).

Jake Elliott kicks season-long field goal

• Jake Elliott, who has connected on the most 50+ yard FGs in Eagles all-time history, kicked a season-long, 56-yard field goal during the third quarter. It was his longest FG since a 58-yarder on 10/10/21 at Carolina and his longest at home since a 56-yarder on 11/11/18 vs. Dallas.

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