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Giants at Eagles Playoffs Preview

January 07, 2007

NFC Wild Card Playoffs - New York Giants at Philadelphia Eagles (-7, 45) 4:30 EST

The old expression "Many are called, but few chosen" best explains the NFC East situation for 2006. Philadelphia has dominated this division in recent times until an injury plagued season ravaged the Eagles in 2005. Veteran coaches, Bill Parcells, Joe Gibbs and Tom Coughlin have all been brought in to supplant Andy Reid as the king, yet even after once again losing their field general, Philadelphia stands at the top of the division among the pretenders and is the hottest team in the National Football Conference.

While Terrell Owens helped destroy last year's team, Jeff Garcia saved it, even after Fox Sports NFL expert Jimmy Johnson proclaimed the Eagles as done. What remained for them on the schedule at the time were two home games against then playoff contenders Carolina and Atlanta and a dubious three game road trip against division opponents. The obvious thought was "Good night everybody." Instead the Eagles came from behind twice and beat the Panthers on a Monday night. They gathered more momentum with win at Daniel Snyder's house, and crushed the spirit of both New York and Dallas to earn a playoff spot. Then a Cowboys team with more settling cracks then home built on a fault, lost at home to Detroit paving the way for Philly to wear the NFC East crown again and earn home playoff game.

Besides a suddenly confident and hot Garcia, Brian Westbrook took his game to a not before seen level. Eagles wide receivers stopped dropping passes and the defense not worldly acclaimed, started making plays when it counted most.

Contrast that feel good story with the New York Giants. Let's quickly review story, shall we? Giants were 6-2 headed towards super season, lose at home to Chicago 38-20 and fall like a collective team jumping off the Empire State Building. Laid back Eli Manning's lazy fundamentals come to the forefront and his accuracy drops precipitously. Tom Coughlin starts looking bugged-eyed crazy like Mel Gibson in first Lethal Weapon movie during games. The less then formidable defense, gutted by injuries to the defensive line and linebackers is ransacked by opponents over and over again before finishing 25th in total defense, the lowest of any of the playoff teams.

The Giants bought a week's reprieve with the win at Washington last Saturday and now has an opportunity to take the season series from Philadelphia and move on to the Windy City. It won't be easy for the G-Men as their last four wins all came against losing teams. New York is a well-justified 7-point road underdog. The Eagles are 15-5 ATS in home games against conference opponents over the last 3 seasons. The Giants are 3-7 against the number of a victory. In spite of win at Washington due to Tiki Barber's will, Manning and team-mates accounted for 96 yards thru the air. New York is 5-12-1 ATS when throwing for less then 150 yards in next encounter.

Nonetheless this is the playoffs, where as recent history has shown, anything can happen. The Eagles have won five straight with the same team that stood at 5-6 at one point. Philly is also 0-6 ATS after covering the spread in 4 or 5 out of their last 6 games. Since the wild card was first introduced 37 years ago, only two 8-8 teams have made the NFL playoffs and it doesn't take a molecular scientist to determine how both squads fared. The Statfox staff is leaning with the Eagles at home since it has been wise to Play Against any team that allowed 21or more points in last game before playoffs. (19-4-1 ATS)

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