Team Giants


Giants - Eagles
Game 17 preview

Sun Jan 7, 4:30 pm (FOX) - Giants at Philadelphia
Giants (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.

Last Week.
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.

This Week.
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 misplaced confidence.

The NFC East could be better than you think, or not.
Three 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.

Giants could be better that you think, or not.
The 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.
The 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.
In 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.

Eagles on defense.
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."

Eagles on offense.
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.

Giants 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.

Giants 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."

Giants 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 straight.

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.

Giants have lost to every team they could possibly play in the NFC playoffs.
They are 2-5 combined against the Seahawks, Bears, Saints, Eagles and Cowboys.

Giants have won the only two playoff meetings with Philadelphia, in 1981 and 2001.

Eagles quarterback Jeff Garcia got his only playoff win in a 2003 wild-card matchup with the Giants.
He led the 49ers back from a 24-point deficit over the final 18 minutes to a 39-38 victory.

Eagles closed out the season being 22-8 in December since 2000.
Eagles five offensive linemen started every game for the second time in team history.

Last 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 Game.
Playoff schedule if Giants qualify. Divisional Playoff Games -- Jan. 13-14
Sat, Jan. 13 -- AFC and NFC game (CBS and FOX).
Sun Jan. 14 -- AFC and NFC game (CBS and FOX).

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