New York Giants Notes: It's Go Time Edition

This is not a drill. The Philadelphia Eagles are coming to New Meadowlands Stadium Sunday, and I, for one, am tired of playing second fiddle to them in the NFC East. We have not beaten the Eagles since Plaxico Burress was on the active roster. With both teams at 9-4, it's time to show the Eagles we are capable of playing them for four quarters--that we are capable of containing Michael Vick, taking away their big play, and pushing their defensive line back about 30 times. Capable, yes. But as much as we despise the Eagles, we know how talented and explosive they can be, so we respect their capabilities as well. But this is for the NFC East title. It's a playoff game that isn't being called a playoff game. Folks, it's go time. Here is what is being said at the Giants' practice facility and around the web....

Tom Coughlin must have been in a hurry to use the crapper yesterday. Either that, or he's just still trying to cram seven days of prep into six. Here is what Coughlin had to say about Michael Vick on Thursday:

Q: When you look at Vick, is he doing many things differently than when you saw him a month ago?

A: No.

Q: He is not in the pocket any longer?

A: Well, he is always trying to do something to gain more time down the field. And he does that - he has always done that and done it well.

Well, it's not like Coughlin's assessment is wrong. Kevin Gilbride talked about the loss of Steve Smith and what that means, in particular against the Eagles.

Q: Against the Eagles, how does the loss of Steve Smith, one of your most dependable wide receivers, affect your offense?
A: He's a great football player. He's a Pro Bowl receiver and somebody who is extremely adept at finding those windows, those cavities in zone coverages. He's basically uncoverable in two-man, so the things that they do are they're a blitzing team and they play two-man and those are two things that he shines at. You lose that, obviously it's a huge loss, but to (Derek) Hagan's credit, he's been with us and when we've asked him to do something, he's played very well for us, so we'll have to depend on him and we'll use some of the other guys - some of the focal points that normally would go to Steve will have to go to some of the other receivers and they'll have to step up. That will include Kevin Boss. Whenever we've asked Kevin to step up, he's done it. We'll ask the backs to do it, we'll ask some of the other receivers - Mario as well as Hakeem, so it is certainly a challenge but I think we've got enough - we need to have enough - and I think we do.

And here is more on Smith's injury....

Giants' Steve Smith faces long rehab after knee surgery | NJ.com
On Tuesday, Smith will undergo microfracture and mosaicplasty surgery to repair damage to the articular cartilage in his left knee. Safety Kenny Phillips underwent microfracture surgery last season because of patellofemoral arthritis in his knee. Microfracture surgery, which is designed to regenerate cartilage, requires a slow, deliberate rehabilitation to avoid another surgery. That’s why Smith will be on crutches for six weeks. It might take six months before he recovers.

And special teams coach Tom Quinn was asked about a hot topic this week, the "wall" of guys not in uniform on the sidelines during special teams plays:

Q: What do you make of this whole wall fiasco?
A: I haven't really studied their tapes. Sidelines are a busy, busy place. I've gotten hit once by one of our own guys -
Domenik Hixon in 2007, he released and I'm watching the punt go and all of the sudden he slammed right into my back. There are a lot of people on the sidelines. I counted the other day and I think we had 40 people that weren't in uniform that were there - the coaches or trainers or whoever else - there is a lot of collateral on the sidelines and those guys do run into people at times.

Giants say they can stop Michael Vick, Eagles winning streak, and take over first place in NFC East
The Giants are in control of their own destiny, which is where every team wants to be in mid-December. Smack around the Eagles, win a game in Green Bay - if you remember, they had a positive experience on the frozen tundra a few years ago - and then take care of the Redskins, and they would win the NFC East and get a first-round bye with an outside shot at the No. 1 seed. This is the equivalent of Jets-Pats from a few weeks ago. But it's even more important now that it's a couple of weeks later. One thing is for sure: Even if the Giants don't win this game, they won't lose 45-3. This is also the biggest regular-season game the Giants have played in years. It's a chance to break in their stadium as a place nobody wants to visit in December. The Giants are 5-2 in their new building, but now they have to show this is an impossible place for a visitor to win a big game. This is when they establish this as a true home field.

Are you fired up yet? Man, I just want to run out there on Sunday and hit some Eagles myself.

New York Giants hope big play goes their way against Philadelphia Eagles - ESPN New York
The Giants were devastated after rallying to overcome a 16-3 deficit to take the lead in the fourth quarter in Philadelphia last month. After the loss, they vowed to start a winning streak so they would be playing for the NFC East when they met the Eagles again. That objective was accomplished, as the Giants ride a three-game winning streak into this monster showdown. Now one of the Giants' biggest season goals is right in front of them for the taking.

Now are you fired up? Yeah, I know -- you already were.

Giants tweaking defense for Round 2 with Vick - WSJ.com
There was an unexpected mystery around New York Giants headquarters just days before this weekend's NFC East showdown with the Philadelphia Eagles (9-4). Defensive coordinator Perry Fewell missed his weekly press conference with the media on Thursday. The Giants (9-4), of course, told the media not to worry. Fewell would be available on Friday. That didn't stop the speculation. Was Fewell locked in a room drawing up some super-secret game plan to shut down Michael Vick and the Eagles on Sunday at New Meadowlands Stadium? No one wanted to say. Players believe Fewell will have something for them.

I have no idea what this could be about, but maybe Fewell will shed light on it Friday. Or maybe we don't want him to.

NFL Preview - Philadelphia (9-4) at N.Y. Giants (9-4) - KansasCity.com
Former Quiet Riot lead vocalist Kevin DuBrow bellowed in the early 1980's hit "Metal Health" that he's got the boys to make the noise. It's unknown if New York Giants head coach Tom Coughlin has ever listened to the heavy metal band, but he could attest to DuBrow's sentiments when he peers over his roster to see such bruisers as Brandon Jacobs and Ahmad Bradshaw. New York's running back tandem looks to unleash pain on Philadelphia's suspect defense this Sunday in a galactic NFC East matchup with the Eagles at New Meadowlands Stadium

Why am I quoting something from the KC Star? Because the bit about Quiet Riot and Tom Coughlin is too funny not to. Ed and I were talking about the mood music for Sunday...maybe this is it. And now for some news items from the dark side....

Eagles ready to feast on Eli's turnovers | Philadelphia Daily News | 12/17/2010
For the Eagles, it's a match made in football heaven. They lead the league with 22 interceptions. Giants quarterback Eli Manning leads the league with 19 interceptions. Manning just lost No. 1 receiver Steve Smith for the rest of the season because of a knee injury. Mario Manningham is playing with an injured hip flexor. And, when the teams meet here Sunday afternoon, ballhawking cornerback Asante Samuel might be back.

Well, why wouldn't they be salivating? I hope Eli is taking this seriously...I know he is, but the bottom line is, he needs to take extra special care of the ball on Sunday. And then there is this....

Pushback — a lot — on N.Y. billboards | Philadelphia Inquirer | 12/16/2010
Derek Koss feels like he's been blitzed and blindsided - worse than even Michael Vick. And it could mean a loss of business. Koss, president and chief executive officer of Time After Time, Inc., the local retailer behind the billboards along I-95 of New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning and New York Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter, has been feeling the heat since Wednesday's Inquirer article about the advertisements. Koss, 39, said his company's nine stores, all located in malls throughout the region, have been flooded with hundreds of phone calls, e-mails, and visits by local sports fans expressing their angst over the billboards featuring the two New York sports icons on sacred Eagles' and Phillies' ground.

I laughed at this and I'm sure most of you are as well. But then I thought, if this was reversed, we'd all be going crazy as well. What was this guy thinking?

Goodell Confident About Chances of Labor Agreement - NYTimes.com
Commissioner Roger Goodell said Wednesday that reaching a new collective bargaining agreement by the end of the postseason is "realistic," although he declined to characterize the state of negotiations. Goodell and team owners spent their meeting focused primarily on labor issues, although several owners declined to reveal what was discussed behind closed doors.

I have been fearing the end of the 2010 season for three years now, because the possibility of a lockout keeps looming like a black cloud. But reading this....well, we will take any ray of sunshine through the black clouds that we can. I really hope they get this done.

But hey, it's still the 2010 season and we have a game to play on Sunday. Oh yeah, it's a game against the Eagles. Oh yeah, it's a game for all the marbles in the NFC East. Oh yeah, it's a game that, if we win, could mean a first-round bye and a home game in January. I haven't wanted the Giants to win a game this badly since January 2009, when these same Eagles, led by Donovan McNabb, made a mockery out of the Giants at old Giants Stadium in a playoff game. Every game against the Eagles is big, but this is the biggest one in a long time -- maybe the biggest one in Giants/Eagles regular season history. Folks, it's go time. Let's go out Sunday and beat these guys, once and for all.

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