Wide receiver DeSean Jackson is, much like the Eagles as a whole, having a surprising season.
Jackson has 29 catches and two touchdowns on the year. Even more surprising, though, is his 3.7-yard punt return average. In the first three years of his career, the dynamic playmaker averaged 11.2 yards per punt return, returning four for touchdowns.
The four-year veteran was held out of last week's loss to the Cardinals after missing a team meeting the day prior to the game. Jackson's presence was certainly missed, as quarterback Michael Vick completed just 16 of his 34 pass attempts for 128 yards and no touchdowns.
The Pro Bowl receiver has a renewed focus after head coach Andy Reid spoke with him following his one-week deactivation, saying that he's "going to go out and put it all on the line for the rest of the year.
"I think the second half of the season is when we take care of our business and do what we need to do," he said. "I just want to go out there and continue to help this team win games. Everybody knows what to expect from me every time I step onto the field. Hopefully, we can make some big plays and get over top of the Giants' defense."
The 5-10 speedster knows firsthand how tough games against the Giants can be. Just last year, Jackson played a starring role in the Eagles' sensational comeback win at what was then known as New Meadowlands Stadium. He returned the game-winning punt for a touchdown as time expired, saving the Eagles from overtime and giving them a key 38-31 divisional win. With Vick questionable for Sunday night's game with two cracked ribs, the Eagles will need all they can get from the shifty pass-catcher.
"We know this team very well," Jackson said. "New York is one of my favorite places to play, honestly, besides Dallas. It's a very hostile place, and their crowd and their fans get pumped up.
"The Giants beat us earlier this year, but we feel confident that with all of the odds against us, we'll have a 'back-against-the-wall' mentality and will be able to go up to MetLife Stadium and win."
If Vick can't play, Jackson and his teammates have confidence in backup Vince Young. The 6-5 slinger is well-respected in the locker room, and around the league, as a guy who can make plays and win games.
"We've been practicing with Vince throughout the year and he's really caught on to the offense," said Jackson. "He's a good quarterback, and he was able to beat the Giants last year with the Titans. With him out there, we definitely have a chance to win."
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