The Error. Edwards, Herm. DeSean Jackson and Matt Dodge are teammates. Dawkins, Brian. Westbrook, Brian. David Akers and Donovan McNabb. Sudfeld, Nate.
No true Giants fan could get to the second paragraph without thinking about their detested NFC East rivals, the Philadelphia Eagles.
“This division is an incredible division with a lot of history and certainly a lot of competition between these teams,” said head coach Brian Daboll on Monday. “I’ve been to college where there are some pretty big rivalries, but this one ranks near the top.”
“We’re pumped,” said quarterback Daniel Jones on Sunday.
It’s simply impossible not to be.
With the pent-up frustration of a franchise that has gone through four head coaches in six years, the Giants have a chance to exorcise a thousand demons if they can upset the NFC’s top-seeded Eagles on Saturday night at Lincoln Financial Field.
They despise the Eagles. They’ve recently become I-95’s little brother. Enough already.
“They’re a fantastic team,” said edge rusher Kayvon Thibodeaux on Sunday. “They’ve done everything. They have the necessary personnel. But it’s the playoffs, so we’ll have to bring everything.”
The New York Giants have won four Super Bowls. The Eagles have only one. However, Philadelphia won more recently in 2017, with Nick Foles interfering with Eli Manning’s crowning achievement of defeating Tom Brady in the Super Bowl.
And, in recent years, the Birds have dominated Big Blue, winning 11 of their last 13 meetings. Since 2013, the Giants have not won at Lincoln Financial Field.
They will play there in the NFC Divisional Round on Saturday at 8:15 p.m. ET (FOX).
“Of course, it’s Philly, so it’ll be another hostile environment,” said Saquon Barkley. “The first two times they got us.”
They did, and they poured it on the first time. On December 11, they defeated the Giants 48-22 at MetLife Stadium. Jalen Hurts was left in the middle of a blowout by Eagles coach Nick Sirianni.
After a loss to an NFC East rival, Giants players admitted their team was inferior like they had never admitted before. “We got our ass whooped,” Barkley said, and Jones said, “we could see today we aren’t where we need to be yet.”
That was about a month ago. Even though the Giants’ backups beat the Eagles’ starters 22-16 in South Philadelphia on Jan. 8, they are well aware that MVP candidate Hurts and the well-rested Birds will be out for blood.
“They have Jalen Hurts as a quarterback run threat, and they have big playmakers on the outside with a great run game,” said Giants corner Nick McCloud, who has played 132 defensive snaps in the two meetings this season. “That’s every level of offence for the composition of a great offence. It’s a fantastic offence. It’s a fantastic group. They’re the top seed for a reason.”
Former Giants head coach Joe Judge is responsible for the only two Giants victories over the Eagles in the last 13 meetings, both at home, in 2020 and 2021.
The all-time playoff series is level at two.
In an NFC Wild Card game in 1981, the Giants defeated the Eagles 27-21 at Veterans Stadium. Then, in the 2000 divisional round, they defeated Philadelphia 20-10 at Giants Stadium.
The Eagles, on the other hand, have won the last two: a 23-20 NFC Wild Card game at Lincoln Financial Field in 2006 on a 38-yard Akers field goal, and a 23-11 divisional round win at Giants Stadium in 2008.
The Birds also blew their final regular-season game against Washington in 2020, keeping Judge’s rookie-year Giants out of the playoffs.
The Eagles’ general manager, Howie Roseman, then pantsed the Giants in the 2021 NFL Draft by trading up to draught wide receiver DeVonta Smith.
The Giants responded by trading back for Kadarius Toney and using their newly acquired 2022 first-round pick on tackle Evan Neal.
The rivalry will have new names and faces in this incarnation. Former Giants cornerback James Bradberry, who was released by the new Giants regime in the offseason, will seek vengeance.
Boston Scott, the Eagles’ giant-killing running back, will be looking for a touchdown.
Jones, Barkley, Dexter Lawrence, Andrew Thomas, and the Giants, on the other hand, do not see this as a repeat of previous failures. They are determined to make this outcome different.
“This is a significant one,” Daboll said.