When the Philadelphia Eagles and the New York Giants square off tonight for the right to participate in next weekend’s NFC championship game, the game will carry a bit of local flavor for those of us here in Western New York. Eagles head coach Nick Sirianni and Giants head coach Brian Daboll both have ties to the area; Sirianni was born in Jamestown and attended Southwestern, while Daboll attended St. Francis and also went to college at the University of Rochester.
Daboll, the former Buffalo Bills offensive coordinator in his first year as the Giants’ head coach, has turned a lot of heads in navigating a roster on the verge of being overhauled to the playoffs. He is a strong candidate to win Coach of the Year, with the Giants already a playoff winner, and with quarterback Daniel Jones enjoying an early career renaissance under Daboll’s tutelage.
One nut he has not yet been able to crack on that journey, however, is Sirianni’s Eagles, who swept the Giants during the regular season en route to (fairly) easily capturing the No. 1 seed in the NFC playoffs bracket. The two teams met in the regular-season finale; the Giants rested their starters with nothing to play for, while the Eagles played everyone in an effort to lock up the top seed. Consider this Daboll’s second legitimate shot, then, at knocking off the Eagles following a 1-4-1 record in the division.
The Eagles, meanwhile, sport one of the NFL’s most talented rosters with an MVP candidate at quarterback in Jalen Hurts. Before Hurts was injured and missed two games late in the regular season, the Eagles were 13-1 overall and cruising toward the postseason. Now, having lost two of their last three games, they may even be considered something of an underdog in the conference — though not in this matchup, where they are eight-point favorites.
- If the Giants win, they will play: Away at either (5) Dallas or (2) San Francisco
- If the Eagles win, they will play: Home vs. either (5) Dallas or (2) San Francisco
Who are we rooting for tonight, Bills fans?