While many fans dislike the Cowboys more than the other NFC East teams, Eagles safety Brian Dawkins has always considered the Giants as the biggest rivals.

Perhaps it's the boorish fans and annoying turnpike traffic, but Dawkins has a healthy yet respectful disdain for Big Blue. If you count the two postseason meetings, Dawkins has traded more helmet paint with Giants players than any other team.

Dawkins is in the twilight of a brilliant 13-year career and he seemed sincerely taken aback when reminded that Sunday likely would be his final game against the G-Men.

"No, I'm not thinking about the [possible] last game in Giants Stadium," he said, before briefly pausing. "I wasn't even paying attention until you mentioned it."

But as Dawkins, 35, sat up on the stage of the NovaCare Complex auditorium, the idea of this being his final Eagles-Giants game seemed to sink in. The Eagles are 6-5-1 and need to win out and get help from other teams to extend the season and possibly Dawkins' career in midnight green.

"Before the season, I thought about it and it pops up periodically during the season," he said. "When you're going through what we're going through and clawing and scratching and biting and trying to climb out of this hole we have dug ourselves into, you don't have time to think about those things. All of my energy and focus is on the task at hand and the task at hand is the Giants right now."

Dawkins tied Eric Allen and Bill Bradley for the franchise lead with 34 career interceptions in the Birds' most recent game. This Sunday, when he takes the field for his 180th regular-season game, he will equal wide receiver Harold Carmichael's mark for tops in Eagles history. The achievement is not lost on the rugged safety.

"It's really hard to celebrate [individual achievements], but, yes, those things are huge for me," said Dawkins, who holds the franchise record with 15 playoff game appearances. "Many individuals have come through this organization wearing a couple of different greens. To know that I will be the one standing, Lord willing, to have played the most games for this organization, is a huge accomplishment for me."

Dawkins will become a free agent at season's end and could have to start anew somewhere else or call it a career.

One moment, Dawkins will point to the Eagles' dwindling playoff hopes and say it is impossible to look beyond the 11-1 Giants. The next, he will confess to envisioning - however unlikely it might seem - of going out on top with his family in one arm and the Vince Lombardi Trophy in the other.

"My focus, my attitude, my thoughts, my everything is leaning toward that," he said. "Being that this could be my last [season], that may sprinkle a little something on top of it. But truly everything inside of me is leaning toward giving what I have for this team and being what I can be for the rest of these games. Whatever that takes out of me, it takes out of me. But that's what I'm trying to do for this team." *