Eli Manning tried to tell his guys not to take the moment for granted, not to assume shots at the playoffs come around often, not to view this game against the Philadelphia Eagles as anything other than an imperative.

And they went right ahead and laid an egg anyway in a game that offered them a chance to clinch a playoff berth.

On Thursday night, in a 24-19 loss in Philly, Manning and the Giants choked. Period. They went down 14-0 in the blink of an eye, Manning had three interceptions -- including one at the end to seal it -- and they allowed a team that entered the game 5-9 and on a five-game losing streak to blunt that end-of-season Giants magic that in the past has foretold playoff greatness.

To be fair, life in the NFL is as much Any Given Thursday as it is Any Given Sunday. It's hard to win in this league. It's why things like the playoffs, and seasons, can slip away from you, in the most unsuspected of ways, and surely why Eli told his guys to understand how big this game was for them.

Eli Manning and the Giants get punched in the mouth in Philly. USATSI

While the Eagles are NFC East bottom dwellers, they're also now 5-2 at home. They have, in Carson Wentz, a rookie QB with a lot to learn but a very bright future. They were formidable, and they showed it.

It was only a few months ago that Wentz was getting as much hype and love as another rookie QB, Dak Prescott. His offensive coordinator, Frank Reich, who played with the Bills, compared his young gunslinger to Hall of Famer Jim Kelly. Serious praise, indeed.

That was when Wentz opened the season with seven touchdowns and nary an interception while leading the Eagles to a 3-1 record. Then reality set in, tape piled up, the rookie played like a rookie, and we all got a reminder that it sure helps for, say, someone like Dak Prescott to have the best offensive line in football to achieve early on as a young NFL QB. There's a reason it takes most guys at that position a long time to have prolonged success, if they achieve that at all.

But Wentz had skill, easily forgotten, and the Eagles play with pride. They're better on defense than you think, and can be good on offense. Not a trap game, exactly, but it's not like the Giants were playing the Browns here. They were playing an Eagles team that was capable of punching them in the mouth, they knew it, and they still looked hapless and disinterested early on and badly enough that they never recovered.

Which, in our spirit of being fair, brings us to another truism, one handed down by Bill Parcells: You are what your record says you are.

And right now, despite the loss, the Giants are a team at 10-5 whose record says they will almost certainly make the playoffs. Stress the almost certainly. Because winning won't get any easier next week as they head to Landover to play Washington. And in the NFL crazy things can happy.

Here's how, if the Giants do lose next week, they could find themselves left out of the postseason: the Bucs (currently 8-6) and the Lions (9-5) each win out. The Bucs will close the season with the Saints and Panthers while the Lions get the Cowboys and Packers.

Is that likely to happen?

No, it's not. Eyeballing it, it's legit to think the Bucs and Lions each lose one of those two games. But Eli was right. You never know. Don't take it for granted. Get it done.

After going down by two touchdowns in the first quarter, Eli and his guys tried to battle back and do just that. They made it a one-possession game. New York's defense made a stellar stop on fourth-and-goal when Philly passed on the field goal. New York then got not one but two chances at the end of the game -- with 4:22 left, and with less than two minutes left -- for a heroic final drive.

And they couldn't get it done.

You are what your record says you are. And right now, because they couldn't beat the Eagles, the Giants are still a team that hasn't earned a shot at the playoffs despite a squandered opportunity Thursday night.

Will it matter? Probably not. But, having failed to win a game they should have, there's still time for disaster.