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Keys To The Game

Here are the keys to an Eagles win on Sunday over the Giants ...

Score Touchdowns – This game could be decided by a field goal, but you want to make sure and score touchdowns when you get the chance. Points should be at a premium and it will be critical to get into the end zone instead of just kicking field goals.

Protect – Donovan McNabb needs his blockers to give him time to throw the ball. That doesn't mean McNabb expects several seconds each time he drops back. There will be plays where he just needs a blocker to buy him half a second of time so that he can get the ball to an outlet receiver.

Balance – The coaches must stick with the running game, no matter what. In the playoffs last year, Brian Westbrook and Correll Buckhalter had 23 carries for 43 yards. Those are lousy numbers, but it was important for the coaches to continue trying to run it so that the Giants couldn't constantly come after McNabb.

Third Downs – The Eagles were 19-of-32 in the two wins over the Giants last season. You need to sustain drives for a couple of reasons. The obvious one is so that you can march down and score points. You also want to keep the Giants offense on the sideline as spectators. That can cause them to get away from their running attack.

Pressure – We must get to Eli Manning, whether blitzing or just bringing the front four. Manning hates to be sacked and will take chances with his throws. Asante Samuel picked off a pass in the playoff meeting and ran it back deep into Giants territory. That came on a bad throw where Manning had some pressure on him. I'll take interceptions over sacks any day of the week.

To read my complete game preview, click here for the Fan-Demonium column.

*-- Posted by Tommy Lawlor, 8:00 p.m., October 31 *

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