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Eli Manning, 12.15.10

Q: Giants/Eagles with the division on the line. How exciting is this?
A: This is a big game. These are the situations you want to be in. You want to be playing in these types of games in December, and we have to be excited. We have to have a great week of practice and get prepared. We know these guys, so a lot of it just comes down to Sunday and being prepared for all their looks and going out there and playing smart football.

Q: Do the losses in the last few meetings stick with you a little bit?
A: No, you know every week that you have a chance to go out there and win. We've played some close ones. The one earlier this year, we had a shot to win and had a lead in the fourth but we couldn't hold onto it and couldn't get it back. They're a talented team, they play great football, so we have to go out there and beat them and play better than they do.

Q: Does your familiarity with this team help offset the lost day of preparation?
A: Yeah, definitely. With this team, we're going to have our game plan and we know a lot of the things they do. They'll have a new wrinkle here or there, but we have a good idea of their personnel, their schemes. It's just a matter of can we see it, do we have an answer for it. This will be about getting our bodies back healthy, getting our minds set, and going out there on Sunday.

Q: How demoralizing is it to lose Steve Smith for the rest of the year?
A: It's obviously unfortunate for Steve. I feel for him. That's a tough situation. The good thing is we have a lot of receivers because of the injuries earlier in the year who have been here for the last month or so who are up to date on what's going on. We have Hakeem back and Mario, those guys are playing well. Hagan has been here for a month and is playing well and Michael Clayton. We have numbers now where we can put guys in different positions and they can go out there and play well.

Q: How important is it to not turn the ball over and not get yourselves in a hole?
A: Yeah definitely. With their offense, you don't want to give them anything easy. Our defense is playing great football these last weeks, and you don't want to give the opposing team a short field. We have to protect the ball but we also have to know that we have to move the ball and go down there and score some points.

Q: What was it like to have someone as reliable and talented as Steve Smith to throw to the past two years and now he's gone for the year?
A: It's unfortunate but you can't dwell on it. We have other players and other receivers and guys who can make big plays for us. These last few weeks we've been without them and been able to win some games. We know we can win, we'd love to have him here obviously, but it's the situation we're in and you move forward.

Q: What do you think of how good Michael Vick has been this year?
A: Michael is playing great football. He's exciting to watch whether it's running, scrambling, or throwing the ball, he's playing at a very high level. Our defense has a great challenge. That's why offensively we have to move the ball, get first downs, keep our defense off the field, and get some points.

Q: Any positives you took away from the defeat in Philly in November?
A: Yeah definitely. You definitely learn from that game what things work and when will they try to make adjustments and what works for them. We did some good things and moved the ball well at times, we just have to get better at third down conversions. There are definitely some things we can take from that and know we had a chance to win that game but we didn't do it. We have to find a way to win the fourth quarter.

Q: What specifically does Asante Samuel do that makes him dangerous?
A: He's just got a great feel out there. He reads the patterns, he reads the quarterback, he jumps things. They let him roam a little bit and do his own thing at times, and he does a great job of taking educated risks. Once the ball gets anywhere near him, he does a great job of tracking it down and making a play.

Q: How hard it is not to put all your eggs in one basket knowing the implications of the game in the division on Sunday?
A: Obviously we know it's a big game and we know what is at stake here. Our focus is this game. It's a big game. Go out there and play our best football, and hopefully we can get a win.

Q: You said you know this team can win without Steve Smith. Does that come from playing without Smith and Hakeem Nicks over the past few weeks or is it having faith in the people that you have now?
A: One guy is never going to decide whether you win or lose a game. We always have confidence once the game plan is in that with the talent we have on this team, we can go out there and win. We are better prepared now since we've had some new receivers in the past month. We're working with them and we're not scrambling to get guys in different places. I think it's a combination of both.

Q: Are you guys scaling back at all on the game plan to compensate for the injury and having the newer guys in the mix?
A: I don't know. We haven't met yet so it's a matter of being selective in our personnel and smart about getting the best guys out there. The fact we have guys who have been there the past month and these receivers now have more confidence understanding our offense. We should be able to do everything that we need to do.

Q: How confident are you in your own game right now?
A: Feeling great. We're finding ways to win and we're doing some good stuff. We feel excited about this opportunity.