Giants’ Xavier McKinney could see action vs. Eagles, Adoree’ Jackson doubtful

Giants’ Xavier McKinney could see action vs. Eagles, Adoree’ Jackson doubtful

PHILADELPHIA — Cornerback Adoree’ Jackson and safety Xavier McKinney are starters in the Giants’ defensive backfield, when healthy. That could not be taken for granted this season, given how often they were not healthy. 

Jackson has missed the past six games with a sprained knee, an injury that occurred when he was returning a punt during the Week 11 loss to the Lions. McKinney missed seven consecutive games with fractured fingers on his left hand before coming back last week for the playoff-clinching rout of the Colts. 

There could be value in having both players on the field Sunday for the regular-season finale against the Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field, though head coach Brian Daboll will rest several starters. It would benefit Jackson to shake off the rust before stepping onto the field next week in a playoff game. Jackson, however, is listed as doubtful and likely will miss an eighth straight game. McKinney admitted he was rusty as he logged 48 snaps in his first game in nine weeks. 

Xavier McKinney admitted he was rusty in his first game back from injury.
Xavier McKinney admitted he was rusty in his first game back from injury.
Robert Sabo for the NY POST
Adoree' Jackson
Adoree’ Jackson is doubtful to play the Giants’ season finale.
Corey Sipkin for the NY POST

“I know I feel a lot better that they’re there,’’ defensive coordinator Wink Martindale said of the secondary with Jackson and McKinney. “Oh yeah, I think it makes us better. How much better? We’ll see. I think that the thing that’s exciting to me is that we’ve come here, and we’ve built a playoff defense. Nobody can argue that, and I think we’re starting to really catch our stride. They understand the value of each snap as it gets closer towards the end of the year. The young ones and the vets.’’ 

Could this game get ugly? Sure. The Eagles were 13-1 with Jalen Hurts on the field — including a 48-22 demolition of the Giants four weeks ago — and their dominance cannot be ignored. They are first in the NFL with a team-record 57 touchdowns and first with a 72.2 percent red-zone touchdown efficiency, which would also be a franchise record. Their 31 rushing touchdowns are not only tops in the league, but also tied for the sixth-highest total in NFL history. 

But wait, there’s more. The Eagles are No. 1 in the league in team defense, first in sacks with 68 and are the only team since 1982 to have four players — Haason Reddick (16 sacks), Brandon Graham (11) Javon Hargrave (11) and Josh Sweat (11) with 10 or more sacks in a single season. Sweat has a neck injury that will keep him out of this game. 

Giants offensive coordinator Mike Kafka was with the Chiefs from 2017-21, and in those five seasons he went to the playoffs every time — for a total of 12 postseason games, including two Super Bowls. Kafka, as an offensive assistant, often watched head coach Andy Reid sit his starters in the final regular-season games if the Chiefs were already locked into their seeding in the AFC. 

“I probably wouldn’t speak for coach Reid on his philosophy of it, but I know what we’re doing here and how Dabs wants to handle it,’’ Kafka said. “That’s what we’ll fully support. For me, that’s so far in the past. I’m just so focused on this week and practice and getting our guys ready to play.’’ 

The Giants did not do much of anything to impede the progress of the Eagles in the Week 14 rout at MetLife Stadium, when Philadelpia rolled to a season-high 48 points. Shane Steichen, the Eagles’ offensive coordinator, did not sound overly interested in whether or not the Giants start or sit their front-line defensive players. 

“We’re all preparing for the starters, no question about it, and then adjust off that,’’ Steichen said. “It’s an NFL football game, and no matter who they put out there, we have to go operate. I’ve been a part of games where you go in and some teams don’t play their guys, and some teams will walk in and are like, ‘Oh, we’re going to beat them because they’re not playing their starters.’ Then next thing you know you lose. I’ve seen it happen before.’’