PHILADELPHIA - Not that they needed additional incentive following their dud in the desert, but the New York Giants conveniently arrive at Lincoln Financial Field tonight.
The NFC East rival and Super Bowl champion Giants generally bring out the best in the Philadelphia Eagles, who certainly need to put forth a better effort than they did a week ago in tonight's nationally televised game (8:20 p.m., TV-NBC).
"It's definitely a big game for us," said wide receiver DeSean Jackson, who has delivered some of his most memorable moments against New York. "We know what's at stake. We're just anxious to get out there and get it going. Everybody on this team likes playing against the Giants."
Safety Kurt Coleman played four years at Ohio State and took part in the annual war with Michigan each year, and said the rivalry is comparable.
"This is right up there with it," said Coleman. "It's bad blood. New York doesn't like Philly; Philly doesn't like New York. That's why you play this game. It's a fun, intense game as long as you keep it clean and classy, and it's gonna go down to the wire."
The Eagles, though, have had much the better of it lately, winning seven of the last eight meetings. The teams split last year, and the loser could bemoan what happened both times. The Giants stuffed the Eagles on fourth-and-1 and then scored two fourth-quarter touchdowns to win at the Linc. The visiting Birds upset New York two months later when backup QB Vince Young had his only memorable moment as an Eagle and led a game-winning, 80-yard drive.
Both teams are 2-1, with the Eagles' record far more suspect. The team easily could have lost its first two games, both of which were won by a point in the final minute. Philadelphia continues to give the ball away at an alarming rate, with quarterback Michael Vick the primary offender. His nine turnovers, including six interceptions, are more than any other team's total other than Kansas City, the only club in the league with a worse turnover ratio than the Eagles.
"I'm very concerned about the turnovers," said Vick, who fumbled twice last week, once for a defensive score. "I understand that you have to protect the football."
They also need to put pressure on quarterback Eli Manning. The two-time Super Bowl MVP has already thrown for more than 1,000 yards, and delivered the 21st game-winning drive of his career against Tampa Bay two weeks ago.
"Eli is Eli," said Eagles end Trent Cole. "He's just gotten better every year. ... He's a legitimate, elite quarterback."
But while Manning has played some outstanding games against the Eagles, he's also had some clunkers. He's 7-9 against Philadelphia, and the defense knows it must put some pressure on him in order to get a win.
"This is an opportunity for us," said Cole. "We're too good a team to be where we're at now."