EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - The Eagles' sole possession of first place in the NFC East lasted just a few days thanks to a workmanlike effort by the New York Giants and a less-than-inspired performance by their opponent.
The Giants moved into a tie for first with the Eagles after Sunday's 31-7 win over the visiting Washington Redskins at the New Meadowlands Stadium with the same old gusty wind patterns.
Both the Eagles and Giants are 8-4.
On Thursday, the Eagles moved into first place alone with their 34-24 win over the Houston Texans. The Giants insisted that Thursday's result didn't alter their outlook on their matchup with the Redskins.
No one needed to be reminded how important it was to win and keep pace with the Eagles, who beat the Giants, 27-17, on Nov. 21.
"We knew three weeks ago when we lost to them [what the Giants are up against]," said Giants linebacker Keith Bullock, who had one of his team's four fumble recoveries. "We don't need a weekly reminder."
The rematch with the Eagles is Dec. 19 at the New Meadowlands Stadium. Before that, the Giants visit Minnesota and the Eagles travel to Dallas.
"If we don't win, it doesn't matter who else loses or wins, it doesn't help us," said Giants offensive tackle Kareem McKenzie, a graduate of Willingboro High.
At least on this day, there was no looking past the Redskins.
One thought that can't be comforting to Eagles fans is that the Giants close the season in Washington. Any realistic hope of the postseason for the Redskins (5-7) was erased with Sunday's listless performance.
This is the same Redskins team that got bludgeoned by the Eagles, 59-28, on Nov. 15 and has lost four of its last five.
The Giants scored on their first two possessions, forced six Redskins turnovers, and continued a frustrating first season in the nation's capital for former Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb.
McNabb compared his current team to the 1999 Eagles that went 5-11 his rookie season.
"It is very similar, I believe it is, but as a player I don't want to be back in that situation again, waiting to see until next year," said McNabb, who completed 26 of 44 passes for 296 yards, one touchdown, and two interceptions. He also lost a fumble. "We have talent here."
That might be subject to interpretation.
The Skins also were missing Albert Haynesworth, as the highly paid defensive lineman was deactivated for the game. McNabb said he didn't know Haynesworth wouldn't play until right before the game.
Redskins coach Mike Shanahan said that Haynesworth was sick and didn't practice Friday.
"Without practicing Friday and [on] Thursday not having one of his better practices, we kept him inactive," Shanahan said.
The rest of the Skins' defensive line seemed just as inactive against a Giants team that rushed for 197 yards and four touchdowns.
With a banged up wide-receiver corps, the Giants went to the ground game. Brandon Jacobs rushed for 103 yards and two touchdowns on eight carries, and Ahmad Bradshaw added 97 yards and two scores on 25 carries.
Afterward, Giants coach Tom Coughlin said the team's game plan was to run the ball, which wasn't exactly giving away a trade secret.
When asked if the wintry weather increases the importance of the run, Coughlin replied: "It always has, and it always will."
That was old-fashioned Giants football, and don't be surprised if the Eagles see a steady dose of it in their rematch.
Giants 31, Redskins 7
Washington 0 0 7 0 – 7
N.Y. Giants 14 7 7 3 – 31
NYG–Jacobs 8 run (Tynes kick), 11:26.
NYG–Bradshaw 4 run (Tynes kick), 5:22.
NYG–Bradshaw 10 run (Tynes kick), 1:55.
NYG–Jacobs 28 run (Tynes kick), 6:36.
Was–Armstrong 33 pass from McNabb (Gano kick), 4:35.
NYG–FG Tynes 28, 9:00.
First downs 19 22
Total Net Yards 338 358
Rushes-yards 16-74 36-197
Passing 264 161
Punt Returns 5-56 2-2
Kickoff Returns 6-92 2-52
Interceptions Ret. 1-0 2-18
Comp-Att-Int 26-44-2 15-25-1
Sacked-Yards Lost 4-32 0-0
Punts 6-33.3 7-44.1
Fumbles-Lost 6-4 1-0
Penalties-Yards 5-35 5-35
Time of Possession 25:32 34:28
Rushing: Washington, J. Davis 9-40, K. Williams 5-29, McNabb 2-5. N.Y. Giants, Jacobs 8-103, Bradshaw 25-97, Manning 1-(minus 1), Ware 2-(minus 2).
Passing: Washington, McNabb 26-44-2-296. N.Y. Giants, Manning 15-25-1-161.
Receiving: Washington, Armstrong 6-97, Cooley 6-61, J. Davis 3-41, R. Williams 3-27, Moss 2-24, Sellers 2-17, K. Williams 2-2, F. Davis 1-18, Paulsen 1-9. N.Y. Giants, Hagan 7-65, Manningham 2-36, Boss 2-28, Pascoe 2-21, Bradshaw 1-8, Ware 1-3.
Missed Field Goals: Washington, Gano 43 (WL).