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News » Hot Eagles look a lot like last year's Giants


Hot Eagles look a lot like last year's Giants


Hot Eagles look a lot like last year's Giants
They barely got into the playoffs as a wild card.


Every playoff game will have to be on the road.

The quarterback has recovered from a horrid late-season performance to get on a roll and stay on it in the playoffs.

There were calls for the coach's ouster.

They're up against the No. 1 seed in the second round.

The 2007 Giants, right? Well, yes. There's no denying that. But it's also the 2008 Eagles, who at this stage bear a striking resemblance to last year's eventual Super Bowl winners.

Think back to last year's Giants and you remember an "us against the world" bunch whom no one gave much of a chance late in the season, yet wound up winning it all in stunning fashion.

That's not to say that these Eagles are ready for a Super Bowl run; we're still sticking with our preseason pick of the Giants repeating. But surely the Giants have to be concerned about what they'll face Sunday at Giants Stadium. All they have to do is go back to their own divisional-round win at Dallas and they'll see just how dangerous Philly can be.

Particularly Donovan McNabb, who has regained his confidence after one of the worst performances of his career. On Nov. 23 in Baltimore, he threw two first-half interceptions against the Ravens and was benched for the first time in his career. Since then, he has been brilliant, throwing 10 touchdown passes and only one interception in leading the Eagles to a 5-1 record, including a road win over the Giants.

Flash back to Eli Manning's Week 12 game last season: a four-interception disaster in a 41-17 loss to the Vikings. The next day, when I spoke to general manager Jerry Reese, he said Manning appeared "skittish," a word that set off plenty of controversy over whether the former No. 1 overall pick had what it takes.

Manning recovered in time to lead the Giants to the playoffs and, ultimately, the Super Bowl championship. And two weeks after the Vikings rout, they beat the Eagles in Philly.

It's almost spooky, really. And the Giants had better be mindful of just how hot the Eagles can be, because there is no minimizing that factor when it comes to the playoffs. Regardless of all the stuff that's gone on before, the Eagles are a team that believes.

"I've seen a team continue to rally behind one another," McNabb said after Sunday's wild-card win over the Vikings in Minnesota. "I've seen this team, with whatever has been said on the outside, have confidence in one another and have each other's back. You're seeing a team play with a lot of energy, with emotion and just having fun. That was the most important thing we had to get back to, just having fun."

McNabb knows the time is now. "You've got to put everything on the line now," he said. "Everything counts now."

Although the Giants put on yet another terrific display of resilience in earning the NFC's top seed, it is the Eagles who have inherited the status of cute and cuddly underdogs that the Giants enjoyed last year.

If the Eagles weren't given up for lost after McNabb admitted he didn't know there could be regular-season ties in the wake of a Nov. 16 13-13 tie with the Bengals, they certainly were kicked to the curb after McNabb was smacked around against the Ravens the following week. No more than 10 minutes after that game ended, an online column featured the headline: "End of McNabb Era."

But it isn't over just yet. McNabb, 32, has engineered one of his greatest late-season surges, putting an exclamation point on the unexpected playoff berth by stomping the Cowboys, 44-6, in Week 17. After eliminating the Vikings, now it's on to their longtime division rivals up the New Jersey Turnpike.

And now it is the Eagles who will lay claim to the "no respect" mantra the Giants used in last year's unlikely postseason run. They're still long shots to unseat the defending champions on the road. But with a 20-14 win over the Giants last month at Giants Stadium fresh in their memory, an upset certainly is not out of the question.

A suggestion for Giants coach Tom Coughlin as he prepares his players: In addition to studying game video of the Eagles, you might want to pop in a few clips of your own team from last year's playoffs. That's the team you're up against.

NFC PLAYOFF SCHEDULE

DIVISIONAL

PLAYOFFS

Saturday

Arizona at

Carolina

8:15 p.m., Ch. 5

Sunday

Philadelphia

at Giants

1 p.m., Ch. 5

NFC CHAMPIONSHIP

Sunday, Jan. 18

3 p.m., Ch. 5

All games on WFAN (660)



Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:http://www.foxsports.com
Added: January 6, 2009

Michael Gasperson Name: Michael Gasperson
#19
Position: WR
Age: 26
Experience: 2 years
College: San Diego
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