Playoffs About Survival Of The Fittest
This game is quite simply a battle of survival. That's what it is. I don't care if it's a rubber game or a game against a team that separates you from the NFC Championship game. It doesn't matter if you've played the Giants one time or if you've played them six times. This is the step that the Eagles must take to get to the next step, which is the final step to the Super Bowl. That's what it means. It's a huge game. I don't think anything that happened in games one or two against the Giants will play a part in this game.
The Eagles can certainly win this game Sunday and the easiest way to accomplish that would be by playing mistake-free football. If the defense that has been as good or better than any defense in the National Football League in recent weeks shows up, the Eagles have a very good chance to win. If Donovan McNabb plays the kind of confident, controlled football that he's playing; making the throws that he has to make then the Eagles have a very good chance to win. If the Eagles just make plays on both sides of the ball and get the return work they have been getting from DeSean Jackson and Quintin Demps; they have a very good chance to win. If the Eagles play at the level that they are well-capable of, that will do it. That will be enough to dethrone the defending Super Bowl champions.
I don't use the word balance to describe what the Eagles need to do from an offensive standpoint because I think this team does what is has to do best. Certainly, if there are opportunities to run the football you're going to take advantage of them. If you have that kind of cold, wind-swirling day as you often have at the Meadowlands, you have to pick your spots when you go deep down the field. I think what the Eagles do best is utilize the intermediate passing game.
I think the Eagles can run the ball against the Giants. It's not going to be an offense that reminds you of the three-yards-and-a-cloud-of-dust past. It's going to be the Eagles offense. If they can get the running game going, great. I still think the best way to move the ball is going to be the intermediate passing game.
I really don't think the Eagles will struggle to stop the run. The reason the Eagles were successful the last time they played the Giants is because they were able to employ Brian Dawkins up near the line of scrimmage a good deal of the time. I think the Giants are somewhat hampered by the fact that they do not have the weapons on offense that they once did. There is no longer a tight end like Jeremy Shockey with his athletic skills. I am not dissing, as they say, Kevin Boss. But I don't think from an athletic standpoint he can compare to somebody like Jeremy Shockey. It's the same with Domenik Hixon. He's a decent receiver, but he is not Plaxico Burress. He does not require the double teams that the Eagles routinely employed to stop Burress. The same thing with Amani Toomer. He is a very good receiver, but he's older now and more of a possession receiver than of a gamebreaker.
It's going to be tough, but deep down I have a good feeling. I really do. But I think it's going to be a tough battle.