Jan 7, 4:30 pm (FOX) - Giants at Philadelphia
(8-8) vs Eagles (10-6).
How hot is hot?
The Eagles have won five straight games coming into this matchup. That meant winning
over all their division rivals away from home, Giants included. The Eagles are
hoping to play a game in front of their fans that will erase everything they saw
last time when the Giants rallied after trailing 24-7 in the fourth quarter, to
leave the Linc with a stunning 30-24 overtime win. The Eagles would like to show
that regular season Game 2 was a big nightmare mistake that could never happen
again, and that the followup 36-22 win at Giants Stadium was the reality.
Knowing Dallas had lost, the Eagles were able
to rest players in their final game of the season, a win over the Falcons. Meanwhile,
the Giants needed everyone they could lay their hands on to beat the Redskins.
Even Bob Whitfield, sitting in Tom Coughlin's doghouse, was called off the bench
to play when Grey Ruegamer left the field with a cut on his shin. Jeremy Shockey
didn't make the trip (out with a sprained ankle), and Visanthe Shiancoe started
in his place. Even backup quarterback Jared Lorenzen got in the game at one point
for a surprise 2 yard sneak on a third-and-one.
Both teams need this game just to stay alive
and a convincing win will instill an extra measure of confidence before heading
off to face well rested teams coming off first round byes. Eagles would get New
Orleans (10-6). Giants would get top seed Chicago.(13-3). The Giants were able
to come back in their first matchup and the Eagles were able to control things
in the second. The Giants haven't won two straight games since Oct. 29 and Nov.
5. The Eagles have won five straight. Both teams know each others strengths and
weaknesses. One team may be playing with misplaced optimism and the other with
NFC East could be better than you think, or not.
out of the six NFC teams moving on to the playoffs come from the NFC East. Does
that mean that the East is less bad than the rest of the conference, or that things
are really bad in the NFC? We won't attempt to answer that here.
could be better that you think, or not.
Giants had the toughest strength of schedule of the 12 playoff teams. Their opponents
had a winning percentage of .520. The Indianapolis Colts opponents were just .500,
and the opponents of every other playoff team were under. That includes Philadelphia
whose opponents had a winning percentage of just .477. Before you get too excited
about all this, remember that the Giants influenced these results by squeaking
into the playoffs at 8-8. The rest of the playoff teams had more wins thereby
forcing their opponents numbers lower.
Giants and Eagles - It's never easy.
first game of the season had the Giants coming off a tough fought 26-21 loss to
the Colts, and the Eagles an easy 24-10 win at Houston. The Giants played at Philadelphia
next knowing they had to travel to Seattle after that. The Eagles had San Francisco
after the Giants, so they were really focused on the Giants coming to town and
it showed. They soundly beat the Giants for three quarters before the Giants got
their act together to overcome a 17 point deficit and win in overtime, 30-24.
the season rematch, Eli Manning didn't have an Amani Toomer on the field like
he did the last time, waiting to catch 12 passes for 137 yards and 2 touchdowns,
but the Giants still put 22 points on the board against the Eagles 34. Remember,
the score was Giants 22, Eagles 21 halfway into the fourth quarter, and this time
four turnovers did the Giants in. Two of them were on Manning interceptions that
were both deflected, and the others were fumbles by Brandon Jacobs and Visanthe
Shiancoe after each of them had picked up first downs.
The Eagles pounded Tiki Barber
in both games, and blitzed Eli Manning. It's always hard work trying to contain
Tiki Barber, but the Eagles know him well and will keep at it as they have in
the past. That matchup is fairly even and can go either way depending on mistakes
or breakdowns. Eli Manning beating the blitzes is the hard part. They sacked him
eight times in the first game, but just once in the last, and Manning says he's
ready. "The first game they blitzed us and did a good job for a while and then
we finally hit some big plays on it. The last game, we had some chances, they
blitzed and they had a couple of big plays. We've got to eliminate that and make
sure if they do come with a blitz, the best thing they get is a throwaway or a
sack. Not get turnovers or mistakes."
Quarterback Jeff Garcia has
performed well since taking over for the injured Donovan McNabb. He's completed
almost 65 percent of his passes and thrown only two interceptions, Still, the
offense has put a bit more focus on running the ball using a combination of Brian
Westbrook and Correll Buckhalter. It has been very successful, and they have a
well balanced attack. Meanwhile the Giants enter the postseason with the lowest-ranked
defense of any playoff team (25th). There is no pass rush and lately they can't
stop the run. Redskins quarterback Jason Campbell had plenty of time to scramble
and freelance in the backfield. You'll remember last time the Giants faced the
Eagles, Jeff Garcia hung around long enough to dump the ball off and hit receivers
who got loose.
Giants 2007 opponents are set. In addition to home and away series with NFC East
opponents Dallas, Philadelphia and Washington, the Giants will host Green Bay,
Minnesota, San Francisco, New England and the Jets. They will travel to Chicago,
Detroit, Atlanta, Buffalo and Miami.
currently have the 20th pick in the 2007 NFL Draft. They are the only one of the
NFL's eight 8-8 teams reaching the playoffs, putting them at the bottom of the
list of those teams. If the Giants make it to the Super Bowl, they will draft
31st or 32nd, depending on winning or not.
cornerback Corey Webster, placed on injured reserve, has a torn hip labrum and
will need arthroscopic surgery.
A hip injury had never been mentioned previously
and Coughlin said it had been "a continuous issue that resurfaced."
are just the eighth 8-8 team in NFL history to make the playoffs.
In 2004 St.
Louis and Minnesota both qualified with 8-8 records.
Of course, those Steelers were 11-5 and had won their last four regular-season
games. The hot team on the field on Sunday won't be the Giants, who haven't won
two straight since Oct. 29 and Nov. 5. It'll be the Eagles, who have won five
Giants faced every one of the
other five NFC playoff teams.
The last team to enter the playoffs having faced
each of their conference’s playoff participants was the 1998 Miami Dolphins.
have lost to every team they could possibly play in the NFC playoffs.
are 2-5 combined against the Seahawks, Bears, Saints, Eagles and Cowboys.
have won the only two playoff meetings with Philadelphia, in 1981 and 2001.
quarterback Jeff Garcia got his only playoff win in a 2003 wild-card matchup with
He led the 49ers back from a 24-point deficit over the final 18
minutes to a 39-38 victory.
out the season being 22-8 in December since 2000.
Eagles five offensive linemen
started every game for the second time in team history.
season the Steelers became the first team in NFL history to win three playoff
games on the road and then win the Super Bowl.Next
Playoff schedule if Giants qualify. Divisional Playoff
Games -- Jan. 13-14
Sat, Jan. 13 -- AFC and NFC game (CBS and FOX).
Jan. 14 -- AFC and NFC game (CBS and FOX).