Eli Manning attempts a pass while being tackled by the Eagles’ Trent Cole and Darren Howard in an earlier regular season meeting between the two teams. The Philadelphia Ealges would go on to defeat the New York Giants 20-14 in the game played in East Rutherford, New Jersey. picture appears courtesy of ap/photo/ Thom Brennan…………..
And whilst we can all agree that these are of the better teams within the NFC . One cannot overlook the season that both the Cardinals and Panthers have had. Painstakingly Kurt Warner has guided his team into the playoffs . And their defeat of the Atlanta Falcons was a welcome and pleasant surprise to many. The Panthers for their part not to be outdone have played at a high level . And their quarterback Jake Delhomme seems to be back at his level best. He’s being ably supported by the duo of receivers Steve Smith and Muhsin Muhammad. Less we forget also they possess a very potent running back tandem.
The game however between the New York Giants and the Philadelphia Eagles will no doubt go a long way letting us know who’s likely to be the presumptive favorite to make out of the NFC. And that’s with no disrespect to either Cardinals or Panthers. As good as they both are , the Eagles and Giants on paper would appear to have a much balanced roster. Donovan McNabb of the Eagles and Eli Manning have both raised the level of their play and at the same time have their teammates believing that they’re ready to take it up a level or two as need be.
Jared Alen of the Minnesota Vikings forces a fumble as the Eagles’ Donovan McNabb attempts a pass during their wildcard berth game . The Eagles would go on to win the game 26-14. picture appears courtesy of getty images/ Adrian Ward ……………
Both teams defensively are no novices and if anything that’s been one of their strengths. We’ve seen this evidence as to the way that both have played thus far in the postseason. They’ve been staunch and miserly as and when necessary. The game itself may well come down to the play of both quarterbacks and the protection that they’ll receive from their offensive lines. That may well be how the battle in the trenches will be won. Brian Westbrook will have to be kept in check also if the Giants are to prevail. They cannot allow him to have any room in the backfield or at the same time allow him to catch the ball and gain yardage. He’s quite able to do that and punish the opposing team’s defense quite ably.
The Giants are not without their own offensive weapons and they too will be looking to take whatever advantage that they can of the Eagles’ defense. So it’ll be very intriguing to see what both teams will have in store for one another. Both Andy Reid and his counterpart Tom Coughlin know what’s at stake for both teams. And for the Eagles in particular this may well be the last chance for McNabb as a player to prove once and for all that he can lead a team to the NFC championship, having won it. But this time lead them to another appearance in the Superbowl and perhaps this time around acquit himself well. The acrimony of the team’s last appearance and their loss to New England still no doubt lingers fresh in his mind at that of the fans. Never mind the fact that his courage and manhood came into question by his former teammate Terrell Owens. Who’s now sitting at home alongside his teammates on the Dallas Cowboys’ team. So much for the fact that everyone as such felt that the Cowboys were the presumptive favorites to win it all. Their luster is now beginning to look like that of an old family heirloom that’s gathering a great deal of dust. But the thought is that it’s still good to take out and have a look at when visitors come to visit.
Much as I like the look of both teams and how far they’ve both come. I’m of the opinion that this may well be the one game that when it’s all said and done. It could prove to be the decisive competitive game that’s played this postseason. The Superbowl itself notwithstanding has a way of either exciting us or letting us down when it comes to the overall standard of play and excitement. OK so last year we had the David Tyree catch. But beyond that was there really anything else that got your juices flowing other than seeing the New England Patriots being upended the way that they were ? Eli Manning ended being the game MVP and Plaxico Burress proved to us that he does have his uses when he’s not idly spending the time either making an ass of himself or shooting himself accidentally in the foot, allegedly.
So come game time it’ll be all or nothing for both teams and absolutely nothing can be left to chance. Each team has set its sights on the NFC championship game. But the real goal will be a berth in Superbowl XLIII and the chance to raise the Lombardi Trophy aloft. So that’ll be the sound that you hear as the fans of both teams look to lay claim that they’re on their way to giving it the best that they’ve got , with their fans in unison playing their part as well.