A memo that should have been sent out to all NFL teams before last week: It’s December and the Eagles are flying as usual. The Eagles are making their annual end of the year push to win the NFC East division. Having one of the harder remaining 4 game schedules, this run will definitely test the Eagles desire to win and finally bring Philadelphia a Super Bowl win and Lombardi Trophy. Three out of the four teams remaining on their schedule are over .500 and in the playoff hunt. The lone subpar team is the 49ers at 5-7.
The Eagles are no strangers to making December runs. They are notorious for finishing the season strong going into the playoffs. Since 2006 the Eagles have won 12 December games including the win over Washington last week. Compared to the December victories of their NFC East rival Cowboys (5), Giants (7), and Skins (6); the Eagles have to be favorites to run the table and clinch the East for the hundredth time this decade. Well not that much, but you know what I mean. Clinching will not be easy. The Cowboys and Giants both have legitimate shots at making the playoffs and winning the division. The task for the Eagles is to focus one week at a time and one win at a time. A real test of character will be when Denver comes into town two days after Christmas; which is sure to be an emotional homecoming for Brian Dawkins and not to mention Correll Buckhhalter. Dawkins was the defensive leader for the Eagles D for years. He has rejuvenated a Broncos defensive that is allowing only 95 yards on the ground and less than 17 points a game.
Can the Eagles win out? Sure. But like I said, it will not be easy. The Eagles head up the NJ turnpike to play the Giants tonight which will be the last regular season home game at the Meadowlands for the Giants. The Eagles have won three straight against the Giants dating back to last season including the playoffs. The Giants are coming off a big win against Dallas last week with Eli Manning throwing for almost 250 yards and 2 TDs. Steve Smith has emerged as a huge threat for the D catching over 100 yards again last week. He is now only 21 yards shy of his first 1000 yard season in just his 3rd year out of USC. The 3 headed monster in the Giants backfield is not quite as scary as it once was with no back rushing for over 50 yards last week. What the Eagles defense will have to watch out for is the short screen pass out of the back. Brandon Jacobs, last week, took a short pass from Manning and took it 74 yards for a touchdown. If the Eagles can contain the backs after they get out in the flats, they will be fine.
DeSean Jackson is back for the Eagles this week. And if his Twitter account is any speculation as to how he is feeling, I expect a big day from the receiver out of Cal. Expect a healthy mix of runs, screens and Jackson going deep. Jeremy Macklin, the Eagles rookie and 2nd round pick, is becoming a nice target as well for Donovan McNabb. Defenses are having trouble covering both receivers. Add in LeSean ‘Shady’ McCoy in the backfield and the Eagles offense is scary. But it all starts with McNabb. He needs to get his reads right, and he needs to know when to leave and when to stay in the pocket. There was a couple times last week and against the Redskins where he could have picked up the ball and easily ran for 15 yards. But McNabb is trying to establish himself as a pass first quarterback. You have to know what you are good at. Run McNabb. We know you can.
Prediction: Eagles 31, Giants 20