The Eagles were in an interesting position this weekend. In playing on Thanksgiving, they could have, if they wanted, sat back and watched their NFC competition butt heads from the comfort of their own homes on Sunday.
But, according to cornerback Sheldon Brown, watching the Giants beat up on the Redskins doesn't offer any real tactical advantage in preparing for a matchup with them on Sunday at Giants Stadium.
The critical analysis of the Giants won't come until film study this week, Brown said. Before that, he was just an observer.
"What does that do?" Brown said. "Until you break down film and watch it the way we watch it, I'm just a fan. I don't know what defenses different teams are running, I'm just watching it from a fan standpoint."
Whether watching the whole game or simply flipping through channels, the Eagles could have encountered any of the opponents to their slim playoff hopes. New Orleans, Tampa Bay, Washington, New York and Atlanta were all in action. At the end of the day, the Eagles remain 1.5 games out of the NFC's final playoff spot, behind 8-4 Atlanta.
But it doesn't help to get caught up into all that, wide receiver DeSean Jackson said.
"I'm not necessarily a fan," Jackson said. "I'm just watching a football game, period. I'm just checking it out."
From a fan standpoint, it would have been hard to ignore the Giants' 23-7 domination of a division rival despite the circus surrounding star wideout Plaxico Burress, who missed the game after accidentally shooting himself in the thigh at a Manhattan nightclub with his own firearm.
Burress turned himself in to police on Monday on a weapons possession charge, and teammate Antonio Pierce, who was with Burress, may also face charges.
But the Giants were unfazed despite missing a key contributor to their Super Bowl run a season ago.
"They have a job do," Brown said. "If you mind your own business, and do your job, you won't get caught up in any other stuff."
Should Burress not be able to go for the Eagles game, or the rest of the season, some players didn't seem to think that would hurt the Giants' clubhouse at all.
During the game at FedEx Field, the discussions were about Burress, but the biggest point in Philadelphia is that the Giants are still 11-1 and absolutely cruising.
"They're doing a good job keeping their heads on," offensive tackle Jon Runyan said. "They're kind of already in that zone anyway, so I don't necessarily think this is going to set them back."
No doubt the story this weekend will still surround Burress and Pierce and how their potential absences will affect New York.
But for the Eagles, the story is the same as always: must-win.
"I just know that we have to win games," Brown said. "And we had to win games a long time ago."