The New York Giants blew out the Philadelphia Eagles 42-7 on Sunday, finishing their season at 9-7. While that record was good enough to get into the playoffs for an improbable Super Bowl run last season, it would not get the job done this year. The Giants were eliminated from the playoffs when the Chicago Bears beat the Detroit Lions.
While this season was certainly a disappointment for the defending champs, there were some major positives in the blowout over the Eagles. Ed Valentine of SB Nation's Giants blog Big Blue View was very encouraged by the play of some of the Giants' youngsters, especially David Wilson and Rueben Randle:
Wilson carried 15 times for 75 yards and caught a 15-yard touchdown pass. Ahmad Bradshaw ended up with more carries (16) and yards (107) as he surpassed 1,000 yards for the second time in his career. It was significant, I thought, that Wilson started. Whether Bradshaw returns or not next season Wilson has to become the primary back, and this was a step in that direction.
Randle started and played most of the game because the Giants -- finally -- determined that the rookie was a better option than the diminished Hakeem Nicks, who was never fully healthy this season. He caught two touchdown passes, including a 38-yarder that -- with his bad knee and foot -- Nicks simply would not have been able to haul in. Randle showed that he has developed to the point where the Giants have to find a significant role for him in 2013.
There were numerous other good signs for the future in the Giants' victory. Safety Stevie Brown continued his strong play and the young linebacking corps of Keith Rivers, Jacquian Williams and Spencer Paysinger also played well. So not all was lost despite the fact that New York will be home watching the playoffs rather than defending their title.