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.