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Giants rout Eagles 42-7 but miss playoffs

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Giants rout Eagles 42-7 but miss playoffs

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) The New York Giants rediscovered their pride and dignity in the final weekend of the regular season.

The playoff berth that appeared to be a formality for the defending Super Bowl champions after 6-2 start, however, eluded them.

Despite getting a career-best five touchdown passes from Eli Manning, New York's playoff hopes ended Sunday minutes after a 42-7 win over the Philadelphia Eagles when Chicago beat Detroit 26-24.

``It's frustrating and it will be for some time,'' Pro Bowl guard Chris Snee said. ``I believe we're a better team than 9-7, but there is no ground to stand on. That's our record and the way we played the last two weeks, we don't deserve to be in the playoffs.''

The Giants had control of their playoff destiny until late in the season when they were blown out by playoff-bound Atlanta and Baltimore in what were no-show efforts. It gave Washington and Dallas the inside track for the NFC East title, and the Redskins won it Sunday night.

New York entered the final weekend needing a win, losses by Chicago and Minnesota and a tie or loss by Dallas to earn a wildcard spot.

While they did their part, the Giants will be cleaning out their lockers on Monday.

``The first thing is you don't ever rely on anybody else in this business,'' coach Tom Coughlin said. ``You've got to take care of your own business. We certainly had our chances. That will be the No. 1 thing I'll talk to the team about.''

Eagles coach Andy Reid seemingly won't get that chance, at least with the Eagles.

A little more than an hour after Reid finished his worst season (4-12) with the team, three people familiar with the decision told The Associated Press that his 14-year tenure as coach was over.

Reid was scheduled to meet with owner Jeffrey Lurie on Monday to discuss his future and an official announcement will come afterward, according to one person, who spoke on condition of anonymity because a final agreement hadn't been reached. That person said there's a chance Reid might remain with the team in some capacity.

Reid is due to make $6 million in 2013 in the final year of his contract. He said he wants to coach next year, but it's possible Lurie could persuade him to take a season off and perhaps help out in the front office in an ``advisory'' role.

Eagles spokesman Derek Boyko denied several reports that Lurie had already fired Reid, saying they were ``absolutely, 100 percent'' untrue.

``I've been doing it a long time. I have respect for Jeff Lurie. I go in eyes wide open,'' Reid said. ``Either way, I understand. Whatever he chooses will be the right thing. He always does things for the best interests of the Eagles.''

The Giants have much to consider after missing the playoffs for the third time in four years in what has become all-or-nothing seasons. They won the Super Bowls in 2008 and '12 but they have also been a postseason spectator more than they would like.

``It happens that way,'' defensive captain Justin Tuck said. ``I've been 10-6 and not made the playoffs. You've got to win the ones you're supposed to. That's why the division games mean so much. If we'd won the division games, we'd still be in the driver's seat.''

This marks the seventh straight season the Super Bowl champion has failed to win a playoff game the following year.

Manning did his part to keep the Giants in the chase hitting 13 of 21 for 208 yards. He threw touchdown passes of 3 and 38 yards to rookie Rueben Randle, a 15-yarder to David Wilson and a 24-yarder to Victor Cruz just before halftime for a 35-7 lead. He became the first Giant to throw five TD passes in a game since Phil Simms in 1980. Manning's fifth score was a 1-yard pass to fullback Henry Hynoski in the fourth quarter.

``It hurts,'' Manning said. ``Each year you want to make the playoffs to give yourself an opportunity to win a championship; 9-7 last year was good enough. It wasn't good enough this year and we knew it wouldn't be.''

Ahmad Bradshaw, who rushed for 107 yards and passed the 1,000-yard mark for the second time in his career, also scored on a 1-yard run.

Starting for the first time since a concussion against Dallas in early November, Michael Vick threw a 7-yard touchdown to Jeremy Maclin for Philadelphia. Vick finished 19 of 35 for 197 yards and one interception before being replaced by Trent Edwards.

``We came, we stunk it up and we lost,'' defensive tackle Cullen Jenkins said. ``It was terrible. No heart.''

NOTES: About 400 residents of Newtown, Conn., attended the game. Among them were a few families who lost children in the massacre this month, the Giants said. One was the family of Jack Pinto, the 6-year-old boy buried in a Cruz jersey. ... Bradshaw finished with 1,015 yards rushing. ... Manning fell 52 yards shy of his fourth straight 4,000-yard passing season. ... Giants S Stevie Brown's 48-yard return gave him 307 yards in interception returns this season, extending his Giants' single-season record. ... Eagles safety Colt Anderson led the team with 10 tackles.

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Wizards release united statement in response to the death of George Floyd

Wizards release united statement in response to the death of George Floyd

While protests continue across the country following the death of George Floyd, the world's biggest sports figures, including Michael Jordan and LeBron James, have used their platforms to make it clear where they stand on the numerous social issues fueling the protests.

You can now add the Washington Wizards to that group. Early Monday morning, the Wizards posted a "united statement" on social media in response to Floyd's death and the protests that have followed.

Included in the post are four separate statements.

"We will no longer tolerate the assassination of people of color in this country."

"We will no longer accept the abuse of power from law enforcement."

"We will no longer accept ineffective government leaders who are tone-deaf, lack compassion or respect for communities of color."

"We will no longer shut up and dribble."

John Wall, Bradley Beal, Davis Bertans and Rui Hachimura were among players to share the same statements on Instagram.

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What if the Nationals faced the Yankees, not the Astros, in the World Series?

What if the Nationals faced the Yankees, not the Astros, in the World Series?

This week, NBC Sports Washington is taking a look at some of the biggest “What If” questions in Nationals history. First up, Matt Weyrich and Jim Scibilia examine what the 2019 World Series would’ve looked like had the Yankees faced Washington instead of the Astros.

The Houston Astros had a pretty brutal last few months of 2019.

They closed out the month of October by blowing leads in both Games 6 and 7 of the World Series, handing the Nationals one of the biggest upset victories in MLB history. In November, they were exposed for carrying out an illegal sign-stealing scheme that prompted a two-month investigation. Then, just before Christmas, they lost star pitcher Gerrit Cole in free agency.

Perhaps the only thing that could’ve made it worse? Losing to the New York Yankees in the American League Championship Series to fall short of winning the AL pennant.

In another timeline, the Yankees came back against the Astros in Game 6 of the ALCS before taking them down in a win-or-go-home Game 7. The matchup would’ve posed a very different challenge for the Nationals, who swept the St. Louis Cardinals in the NLCS before waiting four days to find out who they would be facing in the World Series.

The Yankees would’ve made their 41st appearance in the Fall Classic, an MLB record. Meanwhile, the Nationals were embarking on their first World Series run in franchise history—and D.C.’s first appearance since 1933. Even though the Astros posed a juggernaut-type threat as well, the Yankees’ history would’ve made the uphill battle appear even more steep for Washington.

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D.C. doesn’t get a lot of credit nationally for being a sports town, but there’s no better way for a fanbase to get in the spotlight than by facing a New York City team in a championship. How does the Nationals Park crowd fare against the Yankee Stadium faithful? What is each city doing to support its team? Have mayors Bill de Blasio and Muriel Bowser made a friendly wager on the outcome of the series?

As for the games themselves, the Nationals entered the World Series on seven days’ rest while the Yankees would’ve only had two days to prepare following their ALCS Game 7 win. Even though many debated whether they would be rusty after the break from playing, the Nationals jumped out to a 2-0 series lead against Houston; they would've been fresh and ready to take on a tired Yankees team.

Yankees manager Aaron Boone planned to use Luis Severino in Game 7 of the ALCS had they made it, which would’ve lined up the following pitching matchups in the World Series:

Game 1 – Masahiro Tanaka vs. Max Scherzer (with Corbin available out of the bullpen)

Game 2 – James Paxton vs. Stephen Strasburg

Game 3 – Luis Severino vs. Aníbal Sánchez

Game 4 – Yankees’ bullpen vs. Patrick Corbin

Game 5 – Masahiro Tanaka vs. Joe Ross (Scherzer woke up that morning with neck spasms)

Game 6 – James Paxton vs. Stephen Strasburg

Game 7 – Luis Severino vs. Max Scherzer

Just like the real Game 1 with Scherzer and Cole on the mound, this version would’ve featured a fantastic pitching matchup with three-time Cy Young winner Scherzer facing Tanaka and his 1.76 career postseason ERA. However, there was no Justin Verlander behind Tanaka like the Astros had behind Cole, pushing the advantage in starting pitching much farther over in favor of Washington.

Paxton and Severino combined to make five playoff starts last October and only once did one of them advance past the fifth inning (Paxton went six in ALCS Game 5). Strasburg, who won World Series MVP, would’ve been the difference maker with two matchups against Paxton while Severino would’ve been tasked with besting NLCS star Sánchez and Scherzer.

The most intriguing matchup, however, might have been Game 4. The Yankees entered the playoffs with one of the best bullpens in the majors, making it an easy choice for Boone to use his relief corps rather than give J.A. Happ or CC Sabathia a chance to start. On the other side, the Nationals would've been starting prized offseason addition Corbin. The runner-up for his services in free agency? The Yankees.

On offense, New York boasted an elite combination of star power and depth much like the Astros. Giancarlo Stanton would’ve been a player to watch, as his 34 home runs against the Nationals from his time with the Miami Marlins are his second-highest total against any team. Aaron Judge, DJ LeMahieu, Edwin Encarnacion and Gary Sanchez all presented power threats in the box as well.

Perhaps the two most fun players to watch in the series, however, would’ve been Gleyber Torres and Juan Soto. Both young stars from Latin America play with a flair and level of self-confidence that make them must-watch TV every time they step to the plate. Although each player had already built up a national reputation on their own, facing off on the World Series stage would’ve been a treat for fans everywhere.

Of course, the Yankees didn’t make the World Series, so we’ll never know what the outcome would’ve been had the Nationals faced them instead. But there’s no doubt such a matchup would’ve presented plenty of intrigue—both on and off the field.

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