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Players to Watch in Week 18 matchup vs. Eagles

PLAYERS-TO-WATCH-WEEK-18

The Giants' season will conclude with a rematch against the Philadelphia Eagles at MetLife Stadium this Sunday at 4:25pm ET.

The Eagles emerged victorious in the first meeting between the two teams, 33-25, on Christmas Day. The Giants lost a close game against the Rams this past weekend, 26-25, while the Eagles surrendered a 15-point halftime lead and fell to the Cardinals, 35-31.

The Eagles still have a chance for the NFC East title, but will need to beat the Giants combined with a Cowboys' loss to the Commanders.

Here are five players to watch in the season finale.

QB Tyrod Taylor

Tyrod Taylor threw for a season-high 319 yards while completing 65.9 percent of his passes in last week's game against the Rams. He had one touchdown and one interception to finish with an 87.3 passer rating, and also contributed on the ground with 40 yards on six carries, good for an average of 6.7 yards per attempt.

After coming into the game in the second half of the Week 16 matchup in Philadelphia, Taylor threw for 133 yards and a touchdown while adding two carries for 21 yards. He connected with Darius Slayton on a beautifully placed deep ball, which Slayton took all the way to the end zone for a 69-yard touchdown. While he did throw an interception, it came on the last play as Taylor threw the ball into the end zone looking to tie the game as time expired.

The Eagles struggled to slow down Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray last week. Murray completed an impressive 80.6 percent of his passes for 232 yards, three touchdowns and one interception for a 116.7 passer rating. He also added 24 yards on five carries. The 34 passing touchdowns the Eagles have now surrendered on the season are the second-most in the league and only one behind the Commanders for the league-lead.

View photos of the Giants on the practice field ahead of the Week 18 matchup against the Philadelphia Eagles.

RB Saquon Barkley

With Taylor having one of his best games of the season against the Rams, Saquon Barkley touched the ball just 15 times. He took 12 carries for 39 yards and added three receptions for 19 yards. In the first meeting against the Eagles, Barkley gained 80 yards and a touchdown on the ground and caught three passes, albeit for just four yards.

Barkley reached a big milestone on Christmas as he passed Brandon Jacobs (5,087) for sole possession of fourth place among the Giants' all-time leading rushers. Barkley enters the season finale with 5,165 career rushing yards and trails Joe Morris for third place on the list by 131 yards. The 26-year-old's 70.8 rushing yards per game is the most in franchise history.

After starting the season as the league's top rushing defense, the Eagles have been more susceptible to the run lately. Since their Week 10 bye, Philadelphia has allowed an average of 150.2 rushing yards across their last seven games. In last week's loss, the Eagles allowed Cardinals running back James Conner to run for 128 yards on 26 carries (4.9 avg.) while backup Michael Carter added 61 yards on seven rush attempts (8.7 avg.). The two combined for three total touchdowns, including one apiece through the air.

WR Wan'Dale Robinson

Wan'Dale Robinson is coming off yet another strong outing. The second-year wide receiver led the team with nine targets against the Rams as he caught six of them for 55 yards. Robinson made a big play on the ground as well, as he took an end-around for a touchdown from 24 yards out.

Robinson has now carried the ball nine times for 87 yards this season, good for an average of 9.7 yards per carry, with four of them resulting in first downs. The soon-to-be 23-year-old (Robinson's birthday is on Friday) also leads the team with 55 receptions despite missing the first two games of the season, while his 440 receiving yards is the third-most among Giants pass-catchers. His 25 first downs gained are just one behind Slayton for the team-lead.

Kyler Murray spread the ball around to several different receivers against the Eagles last week. Greg Dortch led the team with seven receptions for 82 yards, while Michael Wilson brought in four passes for 35 yards and a touchdown. Meanwhile, Rondale Moore caught three passes for 26 yards. While Robinson was held to just three receptions for 16 yards in the first meeting against the Eagles, four of his seven targets came with Taylor under center.

DL Dexter Lawrence

Dexter Lawrence was named a 2023 Pro Bowler Wednesday night, becoming the first Giants defensive lineman to receive the honor in consecutive seasons since end Jason Pierre-Paul in 2011-12. He has a team-high 19 quarterback hits in 15 games, while his 4.5 sacks are second on the team behind Kayvon Thibodeaux's 11.5.

Heading into the season finale, Lawrence has registered 61 total pressures, according to PFF. He needs three more against the Eagles to beat his career-high mark of 63 set last year. Lawrence is currently PFF's highest-ranked interior defensive lineman on the season. He is also tied with San Francisco's Nick Bosa for the second-highest ranked defender overall by the analytics site, trailing only Cleveland's Myles Garrett.

"When you say that any good defense, especially this system, where you can be most effective is when you have a center piece of the defense and he's definitely been the center piece of the defense for us," said the defensive coordinator. "And we just got to keep building this thing around him and we'll see. The sacks are a bonus, out of the nose, you know what I mean? The sacks are a bonus, and he has a way of getting to the quarterback too and I think that's what makes him so unique. I think when he wants to be he can be an unblockable player. And let's enjoy watching him play this last time here against Philly."

S Xavier McKinney

Xavier McKinney has been one of the most reliable players for the Giants this season. The fourth-year safety is second on the team with 110 total tackles, trailing only linebacker Bobby Okereke's 142. McKinney and Okereke have impressively been on the field for every one of the Giants' defensive snaps this season, making them the only two defenders across the entire NFL to play every snap.

Not only has McKinney played every snap, but he has also put together a solid season. He has registered an interception and a forced fumble to go with his two fumble recoveries, while his eight passes defensed are the third-most on the team. The 24-year-old has also added two tackles for loss and one quarterback hit in addition to a half-sack, which came in the first meeting against Philadelphia.

McKinney has excelled in coverage this season. He's been targeted 50 times in coverage, according to PFF, and has earned a 70.8 passer rating against. The analytics site has McKinney ranked as the seventh-best safety in coverage this year, as he has yet to allow a touchdown across 573 coverage snaps. He has a tough matchup this weekend as Eagles tight end Dallas Goedert is among the best in the league. Goedert caught seven passes for 71 yards on Christmas, and followed that up with five receptions for 47 yards and a touchdown against the Cardinals last week.

View rare photos of the historic rivalry between the New York Giants and Philadelphia Eagles.

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