Mark Sanchez #3 of the Philadelphia Eagles throws a pass...

Mark Sanchez #3 of the Philadelphia Eagles throws a pass in the first quarter of a game against the Carolina Panthers on Nov. 10, 2014 at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia. Credit: Getty Images / Evan Habeeb

Mark Sanchez said he is not grading himself yet. There's still one game left and time to think about those "big picture" questions.

But as the Eagles play their first and only game of the season without any playoff implications, having been eliminated not long after sitting atop the NFC East, he certainly knows just how close the team came to making the postseason under his guidance.

"I know we are just a couple throws away from being in a totally different spot," Sanchez said on a conference call on Wednesday. "That's tough, but you have to learn from it and keep improving."

The former Jets quarterback will make his eighth start of the season on Sunday against the Giants at MetLife Stadium. He'll be playing in the arena he once called home against the team that essentially kicked him out of it.

Not only did the Giants beat him and the Jets on a Christmas Eve game there three years ago -- his and the Jets' last best chance at making a run at a title -- but he suffered a season-ending shoulder injury in a preseason game there against the Giants in the summer of 2013. That opened the door for Geno Smith with the Jets and led to Sanchez being released by the Jets and signing with the Eagles as a backup to Nick Foles.

When Foles was injured in Week 9, Sanchez stepped in and played well. He won three of his first four starts and threw six touchdown passes and four interceptions in that span. But since then he and the Eagles have lost three straight, and he's had four TD passes with four interceptions in that losing streak. He's also fumbled seven times this season.

"I think for a good chunk of it, like I said, it has been a really positive experience," Sanchez said of his turn as starter. "Unfortunately, it didn't turn out the way we wanted."

It also might affect Sanchez's future. He said he loves Philadelphia and wants to return but hedged when asked if he would be willing to do so strictly as a backup to Foles.

He was a young, up-and-coming passer who went to the AFC Championship Game in his first two NFL seasons, but Sanchez, 28, has yet to return to the playoffs. His brief tenure with the Eagles has been something like his Jets career in microcosm: a quick flash of success followed by fizzle. In a league in which third chances are hard to come by, Sanchez's future in the league could be in trouble.

But he said he feels as though he was able to show some positives during his time on the field with the Eagles.

"The biggest thing was being healthy and being able to throw and make all the throws, whether it was on the run or in the pocket, and get back to being 100 percent healthy," he said after missing all of the 2013 season with the shoulder injury. "That was the most important thing, and then after that was having some big games and winning some big games. We lost some tough ones.

"I know I can play at this level and compete at a high level. It was a ton of fun. I've got one more chance."

He was talking about the game on Sunday. Right now, that's the only chance that is certain.

More football news