Eagles in Unfathomable Position

Joe PawlikowskiContributor IJanuary 6, 2009

The Eagles, coming off of a 26-14 victory in Minnesota, have shocked the city of Philadelphia and have put themselves in a position to knock off the defending super bowl champions in the Meadowlands.

Can they actually do it?  Recent playoff success among road teams and the history of Eagles-Giants at the Meadowlands says yes. 

The Eagles, left for dead after a brutal 10-3 loss in Washington in Week 16 (which I had to painfully endure in person), made the playoffs with the help of a miracle Week 17 combination. 
Still, they absolutely steamrolled Dallas 44-6 to make the playoffs and now have the even more unlikely opportunity to be the only NFC East team standing if they defeat their other bitter rival, the Giants. 

Week two featured a classic Monday night game in which Dallas defeated the Eagles 41-37 in a back and forth game.  Talk around the country was that the NFC East was by far the best division in football and that the game could have very well featured the two best teams in the NFL

The Eagles bounced back with a very tough victory against the Pittsburgh Steelers, further affirming beliefs that the Eagles were among the NFL's elite. 

However from Week four on, no one would have thought the Eagles would be facing the Giants for a chance to go to the NFC championship and both the Redskins and Cowboys would be home watching the playoffs.  Yet here we are. 

For an Eagles fan, the game against the Vikings was tense, uncomfortable, even gut-wrenching.  They never put the Vikings away when they had early opportunities, settling for field goals instead of touchdowns.  When they finally went up two scores, 16-7, the defense softened and let Minnesota score immediately. 

They relied too much on the big play, especially from Desean Jackson, who had two long punt returns and a 34 yard reception which all set up field goals.  Not to mention the 71 yard touchdown on a screen pass to Brian Westbrook that basically sealed the victory for the Eagles, or the pick six from Asante Samuel. 

But the Eagles also won the type of game they have rarely won recently and should be a realistic preview of their matchup against the Giants: they won a game revolving around field position, ball control and tough defense. 

Historically the Eagles have fared well in the Meadowlands and the games have been wars.  Brian Westbrook has always been the Giant killer, while Plaxico Burress has always killed the Eagles.  Well Burress is gone, and Jimmy Johnson has shown what he can do against quarterbacks who don't have elite targets to hit. 

The advantage of the bye has not come into play recently either, as the past three super bowl champions had to play Wild Card weekend.  Only the 2006 champion Colts had a home playoff game that first weekend. 

I'll get more into the matchup later in the week, but if you ask me Vegas is underestimating the Eagles by favoring the Giants by six., it should be closer to three.