The opportunity the Giants have in front of them on Saturday night at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia is about as appetizing, about as appealing as a Giants player or fan could ever wish for.
The Eagles are 13-4, the No. 1 seed in the NFC. They are at home in front of their always raucous fans. Philadelphia is heavily favored. Few people think the Giants will win, with only six percent of those who posted predictions at Tallysight as of Wednesday night picking the Giants to win the game.
The Giants have lost three straight games to the Eagles and 11 of their last 13 meetings. The Giants have not beaten Philadelphia in a playoff game since Jan. 7, 2001, losing the only two playoff matchups between the teams since.
One of those matchups, Jan. 11, 2009, came when the 12-4 Giants were the No. 1 seed and the wild-card Eagles rolled into Giants Stadium and won 23-11, ending the Giants’ dream of back-to-back Super Bowl titles.
Here’s one more crazy fact. In six games against No. 1 seeds since the playoff restructuring in 1990, the Giants are a perfect 6-0. That six-game win streak vs. No. 1 seeds is the longest by any franchise since the NFL began seeding playoff teams in 1975. The Giants beat the No. 1 seed in both conferences in each of its last three Super Bowl-winning seasons.
Giants vs. No. 1 seeds in playoffs since 1990:
- Super Bowl XLVI: Patriots - W, 21-17
- 2011 Div. Rd.: Packers - W, 37-20
- Super Bowl XLII: Patriots - W, 17-14
- 2007 Div. Rd.: Cowboys - W, 21-17
- Super Bowl XXV: Bills - W, 20-19
- 1990 NFC Championship: 49ers - W, 15-13
What if the Giants go into Philly Saturday night and turn the tables? What if they erase the sting of that awful recent history against the Eagles? What if, a week after upsetting the Minnesota Vikings in the Minneapolis Decibel-Dome, the Giants go to Philly and slay their second straight 13-4 dragon?
What if they break the hearts of a devastated Eagles Nation? What if they win on Saturday night?
How scrumptuous would that be?
Is it possible? Well, those unlikely 2007 and 2011 Super Bowl runs should serve to remind Giants fans that if you’re in the dance, anything can and sometimes does happen.
“We’re here for a reason,” said Giants running back Saquon Barkley. “You’ve got to win football games to get into the playoffs. No one is just invited, you’ve got to get in. We got in.”
The burden of expectations, and thus all of the pressure, are on the Eagles in this game. Let’s not say they are playing with house money — that phrase has been used too much. They are, though, playing with freedom. By Saturday night, their season is expected to be over. No one will say they under-achieved if that is exactly what happens. There is zero pressure on the Giants.
I believe the Giants have a chance to win Saturday. I am, though, still pick Philadelphia to win.
It would be soooo much fun for the Giants to go to Philly Saturday and end the Eagles’ season in their own building.
Unfortunately, I can’t pick the Giants to make it happen. I think they will take a good shot at it and make the Eagles work to win this one, but in the end I think the Eagles just have too much talent for the Giants.
Below, the rest of the Big Blue View staff picks for Giants-Eagles and the entire slate of Divisional Round NFL playoff games.