The Giants have lost just once in their last 16 games. They swept to the Super Bowl championship last season and are on an 11-1 run this year. New York has won seven in a row, six against teams with winning records.
But for all those who think the Eagles should save the turnpike toll money and concede a loss to the Giants, defensive end Darren Howard says not so fast.
Howard is in his ninth NFL season and third with the Eagles. He knows the stats, knows the Giants have won three in a row over the Birds, and is part of the defensive unit that still has the tire marks that resulted from allowing 219 yards rushing in the Nov. 9 meeting.
"This is a team that we play tough every time and they play us tough every time," he said. "They might seem unbeatable to the guys that don't see them twice a year, but we know these guys."
The key, Howard says, is containing Brandon Jacobs. The 264-pound running back had a pair of touchdowns and 126 yards in that first game, but just 70 yards and two fumbles in 2007, his only other start against the Eagles.
"We have a lot of talent in this locker room, but as of today it's all on paper," Howard said. "When you get out there on Sunday, you have to perform. We have the talent to do it. We don't feel like the New York Giants are this unstoppable machine. We don't feel like that at all."
Yo, Plaxico. Two words: safety clasp.
When the Giants lost their first two games in 2007, there were a lot of people who wanted Tom Coughlin replaced. So with Andy Reid staring squarely at missing the playoffs for the third time in 4 years and hearing those same types of things, what would Coughlin tell Reid?
"The only advice I'd have is that you're hired for a job and hired for a purpose and you have to stay absolutely fixed to the job and the task at hand," Coughlin said. "What I really believe in is keeping everyone abreast of all circumstances and working together. Never looking at it as any type of an individual challenge, but rather always as a team challenge."
It is said that statistics can be used like a drunk uses a lamp post: either for illumination or just something to lean on. So while the Eagles will correctly point out that they have the NFL's second-best November/December record since 2000, they've been simply pedestrian since the Super Bowl year. Here's a look:
2000-08. . . 49-22-1 (.688)27-10-1 (.724)