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NFL 2008 Week 14: Philadelphia Eagles (6-5-1) at New York Giants (11-1)
The Eagles travel 90 miles up the New Jersey Turnpike to take on the NFC leading Giants in the midst of the Plaxico Buress saga.
This is the second meeting between the Eagles and Giants this NFL 2008 season. The Eagles come off of a convincing 48-20 Thanksgiving Day victory over the Cardinals, while the Giants defeated the Redskins in Washington, 23 - 7.
With just 4 games remaining in the regular season the Eagles playoff hopes are still alive.
The Eagles currently trail the Panthers (9-3), Falcons (8-4), Cowboys (8-4) and Redskins (7-5) for the 2 NFC Wildcard spots.
The Eagles chances are dim at this point, but not impossible especially if they can finish strong.
There is hope as the Eagles have an exemplary track record finishing out seasons.
In November and December games, the Eagles are 2nd in the NFL in overall winning (.688) and road winning percentage (.724) since 2000. Furthermore, since 1999, the Eagles are 22-11 against NFC East division rivals in November and December.
Meanwhile, the Giants are on the verge of clinching the NFC East and are on track to finish with home-field advantage.
On the field the Giants have been nothing less than dominate as the Giants look to win their eighth consecutive game, the NFC East title, and earn a first round playoff bye all in one shot against the Eagles this Sunday.
However off the field, the Plaxico Burress saga hit its high point as the Giants receiver has been suspended for the remainder of the season (placed on the reserve / non- football injury list) as he has been charged with 2 illegal weapon possession felony counts after accidentally shooting himself in the thigh at the LQ Nightclub in New York.
The Giants current 7 game winning streak is their longest since their 10-0 start in 1990. Six of those seven victories have been against teams with winning records, tying the 2007 Colts for the second-longest such streak in NFL history. The Giants can tie the 1970 Minnesota Vikings record with a win this week. The Giants 11-1 record is the best 12-game start for the team in franchise history.
Last week's victory over the Redskins maintained the Giants three-game lead over the Dallas Cowboys in the NFC East.
Giants and Eagles Meet for the 148th Time.
The Giants - Eagles series dates back to 1933 with the Giants holding a 79-66-2 advantage against the Eagles in the regular season. The Giants lead the postseason series as well by a 2-1 advantage. The Giants are 15-17 against the Eagles in Giants Stadium.
The two teams last met on November 9 this season, a 36-31 Giants victory in Philadelphia. In that game, New York running back Brandon Jacobs ran for 126 yards & and scored 2 touchdowns in the second half. Eli Manning added 2 TD passes in the Giants victory.
In their last confrontation at Giants Stadium (9/30/07), the Giants beat the Eagles 16 to 3. The New York Giants defense registered 12 sacks, including 6 by DE Osi Umenyiora, as the two teams combined for only 402 total net yards in what turned out to be a defensive struggle.
Philadelphia Eagles (6-5-1) at New York Giants (11-1)
McNabb and Westbrook are back -- but the Giants continue to roll.
Off their Thanksgiving night performances in Philadelphia's win over the Arizona Cardinals, Eagles QB DONOVAN MC NABB (four TD passes) and RB BRIAN WESTBROOK (110 yards rushing, two TDs rushing, two receiving) look like they are ready to help the Philadelphia Eagles make a Wild Card run for it.
The Giants will be one tough test.
The New York Giants have not lost an NFC East Division game since last December 16 to the Washington Redskins and are 6-0 this year at Giants Stadium, their longest home winning streak since seven in a row in 1990 when the Giants marched all the way to a Super Bowl XXV victory.
Plus, whatever defensive scheme Philly defensive coordinator JIM JOHNSON may cook up, the New York Giants have an answer for it.
It's referred to as adapting and the Giants are great at it.
Last week, the Washington Redskins concentrated on shutting down the Giants running game which is the best this season in the NFL and the Redskins were successful in slowing down the Giants ground attack. So the Giants countered in the air. As a result, Giants QB ELI MANNING had his first 300-yard passing game of the year.
NFL 2008 Week 13: New York Giants 23 Washington Redskins 7
The injuries and suspensions have not deterred the New York Giants. Neither did the Burress saga get in the way of the Giants on the field.
Last week the Giants won their seventh game in a row by defeating the Washington Redskins 23 - 7 a business-as-usual fashion at FedEx Field.
In the victory, Eli Manning passed for 305 yards. It was Eli's first 300-yard game since Oct. 15, 2007 at Atlanta. Manning's performance included a 40-yard touchdown pass to Amani Toomer on the Giants first offensive series.
The Giants also scored on a Brandon Jacobs one-yard touchdown run and 3 John Carney field goals (31, 38 and 39 yards).
Defensively, the Giants held Clinton Portis, the NFLs leading rusher, to 22 yards on 11 carries.
With the loss, the Redskins fell to 7-5 and slipped into 3rd place in the NFC East . The Redskins lone touchdown came on a second quarter 29-yard reverse by rookie receiver Devin Thomas.
Last week's win and the Giants 16 - 7 Kickoff Weekend victory over the Redskins gives the Giants the season series sweep for the second time in three years as the Giants have won five of their last six games against the Redskins.
Carney's third field goal of the game pushed the Giants' advantage to 23-7 with 6:26 remaining in the fourth quarter. The Giants moved 18 yards in five plays after Tuck stuffed Portis on a forth-and one run at the Redskins' 39-yard line. When Manning's pass flew over Domenik Hixon's head in the end zone on third down, Coughlin summoned Carney.
Jacobs' short touchdown run increased the Giants' lead to 20-7 with 8:33 left in the third quarter. The big back just missed scoring on first-and-goal, but on second down he took a handoff and bulled his way up the middle and into the end zone for his 12th rushing touchdown of the season.
Jacobs' score concluded an eight-play, 48-yard drive that began after Hixon's nine-yard punt return and Todd Yoder's 15-yard facemask penalty.
The Giants led, 13-7, at halftime in which they rushed for only 27 yards but Manning threw for 239, the highest first-half total of his career.
Washington closed to within 13-7 on rookie receiver Thomas' first career touchdown on a 29-yard reverse with 8:31 remaining in the second quarter. On first down, Jason Campbell handed the ball to Ladell Betts, who gave it to Thomas running from left to right. Because almost everyone on the Giants' defense was moving right, Thomas had a clear path in front of him and was not touched until he was diving over the goal line.
The score immediately followed Corey Webster's penalty for illegal use of hands, which nullified his own interception. Earlier on the 57-yard drive, Campbell had fumbled after being sacked by Cofield, but Randy Thomas recovered for Washington. Carney's 38-yard field goal with 12:01 left in the first half increased the Giants' lead to 13-0. The Giants led, 10-0, at the end of a first quarter in which they came out throwing despite the persistent rain.
After forcing the Redskins into a three-and-out on the game's first series, the Giants took possession and promptly drove 71 yards in seven plays, including Manning's 40-yard touchdown pass to Toomer. On first down, Toomer lined up on the right side, got a step on cornerback Fred Smoot and caught Manning's perfectly-thrown pass just shy of the goal line and his momentum carried him into the end zone.
Hixon twice kept the drive moving with big third-down catches. On third-and-eight, he took Manning's short pass over the middle and turned it into a 13-yard gain. Three plays later, on third-and-nine, he made a terrific leaping catch on the left sideline for a 15-yard gain that moved the ball to the Redskins' 40-yard line. Toomer scored on the next play.
The defense again forced Washington to punt after three plays. The Giants then marched 67 yards in 11 plays but had to settle for a 31-yard field goal and a 10-0 lead. Kevin Boss made the big play on the drive, catching a short Manning pass before leaping over two defenders and turning it into a 24-yard gain. Manning's 15-yard throw to Toomer, plus D'Angelo Hall's penalty for a late hit, gave the Giants a first-and-goal at the eight. But Manning was sacked for a six-yard loss on third down by Anthony Montgomery and Carney came on to kick the field goal.
NFL 2008 Week 13: Philadelphia Eagles 48 Arizona Cardinals 20
Last week, the Eagles defeated the Cardinals 48 to 20 in a Thanksgiving night showdown. The Eagles scored 21 straight to start the game, primarily off a pair of Kurt Warner interceptions. The Eagles never looked back as they improved to 6-5-1 and kept their playoff hopes alive.
The Eagles took the opening kickoff and moved 70 yards in 12 plays as Brian Westbrook scored the first of his 4 TDs (2 rushing / 2 receiving) on a 5-yard pass from Donovan McNabb.
On the 5th play of the next drive Joselio Hanson intercepted a Kurt Warner pass and returned it to the Cardinals 41 yard line. The Eagles relied on Westbrook for five straight runs to score their TD from a yard out.
On the next Cardinals drive Quintin Mikell picked off Kurt Warner. The Eagles were not able to yield any points off that possesion.
The Eagles extended their lead to 21-0 midway thru the 2nd quarter on a 2-yard McNabb to Westbrook pass. The Cardinals finally scored late in the first half on a 1-yard Warner TD pass to Larry Fitzgerald but David Akers' FG in the closing seconds gave the Eagles a 24-7 lead at halftime.
Westbrook opened the 2nd half scoring with a 9-yard TD run.
A muffed Eagles punt led to a Cardinals TD drive which culminated in a 6-yard pass from Kurt Warner to Steve Breaston to make the score 34-13. But the Eagles responded with an Akers FG.
Early in the 4th quarter, the Cardinals cut the Eagles lead to 14 points with a 7-yard Warner to Fitzgerald connection and got the ball right back with 12:46 to play after holding the Eagles to 3-and-out series.
However, the Eagles secured their victory when Anquan Boldin fumbled the ball after a reception and the Eagles took over at the Cardinals 19 yard line. Five plays later, McNabb connected with DeSean Jackson for a 5-yard TD pass to extend their lead to 41-20.
Five minutes later, an 8-yard TD pass from McNabb to Jason Avant provided the game's final points as the Eagles defeated the Cardinals 48 - 20.
Philadelphia Eagles (6-5-1)
- - QB DONOVAN MC NABB completed 27 of 39 (69.2 pct.) for 260 yards with 4 TDs vs. 0 INTs for 121.7 passer rating last week. When McNabb starts (minimum 10 attempts) & has 100.0+ rating (including playoffs), the Eagles are 38-1 (.974)
- - Last week, RB BRIAN WESTBROOK became the 4th player in NFL history & first since 1975 (LYDELL MITCHELL) to have 100+ rush yards (110), 2 rush TDs & 2 rec. TDs in game. Westbrook is the only player since 2004 with 4,000+ rushing yards (4,636) & 3,000+ receiving yards (3,022). The all purpose running back 1 of only 7 players in NFL history with 25+ rushing (35) & receiving (27) touchdowns
- - WR DE SEAN JACKSON leads NFL rookies with 775 receiving yards and is 2nd with 53 catches. WR REGGIE BROWN has 17 career TD catches & 10 have been 20+ yards
- - DE DARREN HOWARD has 5.5 sacks in his past 7 games. DE TRENT COLE has 19.5 sacks in past 28. CB ASANTE SAMUEL has 19 INTs since '06, most in NFL. S BRIAN DAWKINS has 34 INTs, tied for most in team history. The Eagles have won 17 of past 20 when Dawkins has INT. CB JOSELIO HANSON had 1st career INT last week
New York Giants (11-1)
- - The Giants can clinch the NFC East division with a win this week against the Eagles. The Giants are undefeated at home this NFL season with a spotless 6-0 record at Giants Stadium. In their 6 home games, the Giants have outscored their opponents by a 180 - 77 margin. In addition, the Giants have won 6 in row vs. winning teams
- - Including playoff games, QB ELI MANNING is 25-5 (.833) in his past 30 starts. Manning has a 6-1 (.857) record in his past 7 vs. the Eagles. Manning aims for his 6th consecutive win against NFC East opponents (includes playoffs)
- - RB BRANDON JACOBS aims for his 5th game in a row with a rushing touchdown. Jacobs has 6 TDs over his past 4 games. Jacobs rushed for 126 yards & scored 2 TDs last time the Giants and Eagles played. When he has 100 or more rushings yards, the Giants are 8-1 (.889). When Jacobs has 10 or more rushing attempts in a game (includes playoffs), the Giants are 24-4 (.857). RB DERRICK WARD recorded a career-high 75 receiving yards last week against the Redskins
- - WR AMANI TOOMER aims for his 3rd consecutive game with a touchdown catch. Includsing playoffs, the Giants have won 9 in row when Toomer scores a touchdown. WR DOMENIK HIXON had 5 catches last week, all for 1st downs. TE KEVIN BOSS has TD catches in 4 of past 6 games. Boss had a TD in last meeting versus the Eagles
- - DE JUSTIN TUCK has 13.5 sacks in past 13 (includes SB XLII). When Tuck records a sack (includes playoffs), the Giants are 13-3 (.813). Tuck had 2 sacks in last seasons home game vs. the Eagles (9/30/07). DE MATHIAS KIWANUKA had a career-best 3.0 sacks in last seasons home game vs. the Eagles (9/30/07). In that game, the Giants defense recorded 12 sacks.
PREDICTION: New York Giants 38 Eagles 14
This is definitely a contrarian pick and goes against the grain as the last thing to expect is such a solid Giants victory. The Eagles won't catch the Giants off guard. This week's Plaxico Burress Saga will not interfere with the Giants when it comes to getting down to business.
McNabb has had an up-and-down season. Taking two games to respond after the 13 - 13 tie fiasco against the Bengals (NFL 2008 Week 11) and the drubbing 36 -7 in Baltimore is not the mark of an NFL playoff team. The victory over the Cardinals (3-4 road record) last week in the end will not be a rallying point for the Eagles this season.
The Eagles above average defense won't be able to contain the Giants offense (leads NFL in points scored & rushing offense) nor will they contain the Giants passing attack.
For you Star Trek fans, the Giants appear to have a Borg-like quality to them this season. On the surface, the Giants appear to be indifferent to off-the-field distractions, shrug off injuries as reserves from their "Collective" come up big when thrusted into the spotlight, and adapt to whatever their opposition throws their way.
In the end, expect the Giants to assimilate the Eagles by a final score of 38 to 14.