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Photo Credit: Jeff Auger

Sterling Shepard Gets One Giant Send Off In Week 18 Victory

The vibes were high, the crowd was loud and the snow was falling in Metlife Stadium Sunday afternoon in what should have been a blow out loss for the New York Giants. In a Week 18 miracle, the football gods decided to allow some positivity to shine through for Giants fans moral.

After a brutally long season where expectations were shattered, hope was lost and the feeling of "here we go again" settled in too deep, the Giants were able to muscle out a 27-10 victory against divisional rivals, the Philadelphia Eagles.

Important Game Notes In Giants vs Eagles

Sterling Shepard

In the matchup fans saw Sterling Shepard get his much deserved veteran reps for his selfless contributions and leadership to the whole organization. In what was most likely his last night ever wearing the blue and white, Shepard's few receptions moved him to top five in Giants history, cementing his legacy in New York forever.

Players and coaches could be seen embracing Shepard on the sideline showing their appreciation and love for the wide receiver. Fans could also be heard cheering for the loyal leader as his football future comes into question.


Saquon Barkley

On top of Shepard's records, Saquon Barkley was able to reach over 1000 total yards on the year for the fourth time in his six year career. However, Barkley failed to reach 1000 rushing yards on the year, falling just short with 916. Just like Shepard, this could be the last time fans see Barkley in a Giants uniform if the team doesn't franchise tag him or come to an agreement in the offseason.

If this was Barkley's last go around in East Rutherford he sure did perform, as he racked up 18 carries for two touchdowns and 46 yards. Post game, Barkley told reporters that if this was his last game with New York that "It has been a fun six years." Barkley also told reporters that he made sure to go up to every single one of his teammates after the game.

Brian Daboll

Head Coach Brian Daboll finally got his first victory over Philly under his belt and it couldn't have come at a more crucial time. While his job isn't in question, the team morale and ability was, so to finally get over the hump with the Eagles victory is huge heading into the offseason.

Giants vs Eagles Game Summary

The Giants' offense didn't start out too hot, running only four plays in their first possession, but the defense set the tone. To the Eagles surprise, they were in and out just as quick. On the Giants next possession they were able to march down the field in nine plays and cash in with a 24-yard Mason Crosby field goal.

As the Eagles seemed to be moving the ball down the field with ease, Nick McCloud punched the ball out of AJ Brown's hands, forcing a fumble that was recovered at the Giants 17-yard line by Micah McFadden.

The Giants ultimately ended up punting the ball away, but the momentum was clearly swinging in New York's direction. Once again with the ball in the Eagles possession, they turn it over on downs after failing to convert a 4th and 3. Nine plays later, the Giants found themselves in the back of the end zone, courtesy of a two yard run by Barkley.

The defense then forced a quick three and out before Barkley cashed in the end zone again. This time a three yard rush to put Big Blue up 17-0.

Once again, the Giants defense forced a quick three and out that followed by another Giants touchdown. This time, Darius Slayton caught the 19-yard reception from Tyrod Taylor to increase the Giants lead to 24-0.

As if the first half couldn't get anymore sweet for the Giants, Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts loaded up the defense. Xavier McKinney swooped in and intercepted the ball, using some fancy footwork on the sideline.

The Giants didn't get anything out of the turnover, but the defense was back on the prowl the very next play they were on the field. With Hurts being benched the remainder of the night, Marcus Mariota took the throne and threw a pick on his very first pass as McKinney once again made a great play.

The remainder of the first half was quiet for both teams with Taylor throwing a pick with one minute left on the clock. The second half was slow for both teams with both punting on their first possession, but it didn't last long as the Eagles finally got on the board with a 36-yard field goal.

After only five plays from the Giants offense the Eagles regained possession and found the back of the end zone. The Giants responded with a 21-yard field goal and then another forced fumble. Jihad Ward made the sack which caused Mariota to cough up the football. Azeez Ojulari scooped it up for New York. Shortly after the fumble, Crosby missed a 45-yard field goal.

What Is Next For The Giants?

The Giants wrap up the 2023-24 season 6-11 and third in the NFC East. It was most certainly a disappointing year to say the least, but ending on a high note is always a little bandage for the wound. Currently, the Giants hold the sixth pick in the 2024th draft with a lot of different routes they can take.

It will be interesting to see what direction the front office decides to go with; QB, WR, OL, TE, etc. On another note it will also be fascinating to see if coaching changes will be made, specifically to offensive coordinator Mike Kafka after an atrocious offensive display this year. The draft is set for April 25th, with rounds two and three taking place on April 26th and rounds four through seven on April 27th.

Looking a little more into the future, the Giants home and away opponents are set for 2024-25. While it may seem very far ahead, the season comes and goes much faster than you realize.