1:00 PM ET, November 20, 2005
Philadelphia (4-5) at NY Giants (6-3), Sunday, 1:00 pm EST
EAST RUTHERFORD, New Jersey (Ticker) -- The Philadelphia Eagles were beginning to adjust to life without Terrell Owens. Now they may have to go without Donovan McNabb for a pivotal NFC East matchup against the New York Giants.
The Eagles likely will start backup quarterback Mike McMahon, who was a four-year starter at Rutgers University in New Jersey, on Sunday.
Philadelphia has won nine of the last 10 meetings, but will be hard-pressed to beat the Giants without McNabb and Owens.
McMahon spent the first four years of his career with the Detroit Lions before signing with the Eagles last March. He started seven games in his first two seasons with the Lions, but none in his last two years. McMahon threw for a career-high 293 yards and three touchdowns in a December 29, 2002 game against Minnesota.
Last November 28, the Eagles clinched their fourth straight NFC East title here with a 27-6 victory over the Giants, becoming just the third team since the NFL instituted a 16-game schedule in 1978 to clinch a division crown after 11 games.
However, the turmoil caused by Owens and McNabb's injuries have pushed the Eagles into last place this season. They have lost three straight games for the first time since 1999 and are 0-3 against division opponents.
The last loss was the most painful of all.
A five-time Pro Bowl quarterback who has been playing with a sports hernia, McNabb suffered a groin injury while being blocked to the ground by Bradie James during Roy Williams' 46-yard interception return for a touchdown with 2:43 left in Monday's 21-20 loss to Dallas. McNabb played one more series, but did not return after being sacked just before the two-minute warning by Greg Ellis.
McMahon completed two passes for 14 yards and scrambled for nine yards on Philadelphia's final drive, but David Akers was well short on a 60-yard field-goal attempt as time expired.
Most of the attention in Philadelphia is still on Owens, the superstar receiver who was banished for conduct detrimental to the team. He has a grievance hearing on Friday.
Philadelphia's wide receivers - rookie Reggie Brown, Greg Lewis and Billy McMullen - combined for just seven catches for 62 yards in the loss to Dallas. Owens had 47 receptions for 763 yards and six touchdowns in seven games this season.
With Owens out of the picture, Eagles coach Andy Reid finally went back to his running game. Entering with an NFL-worst 58.6 rushing yards per game, the Eagles more than tripled that with 181 yards on the ground. Westbrook produced 86 yards on 16 carries and Lamar Gordon added 57 yards on 13 carries.
Westbrook was especially effective in the Eagles' sweep of the Giants last season, rushing for 74 yards on 18 carries and a touchdown and catching five passes for 53 yards and another score in the win here.
In the 2004 season opener at Philadelphia, Westbrook rushed for 119 yards and added 42 yards receiving in a 31-17 victory over the Giants.
New York was 5-0 at Giants Stadium this season before losing last week to Minnesota, 24-21. Eli Manning was intercepted four times, one of which was returned 92 yards for a touchdown, and the Giants allowed two special teams scores in the loss.
Manning was confused and overmatched by the Eagles' blitz last November, completing just 6-of-21 passes for 148 yards with two interceptions while getting sacked five times.
Much like his counterpart Westbrook, Tiki Barber has enjoyed success against the Eagles. He rushed for 125 yards and a touchdown in the 2004 opener and gained 110 yards on 19 carries in the meeting here.
Last week, Barber rushed for 95 yards on 23 carries and caught eight passes for 111 yards in the loss to Minnesota.
The Giants' defense has not allowed a touchdown in three straight games, covering 46 possessions.
Series: Giants lead, 75-65-2.
Next week: Philadelphia hosts Green Bay, November 27 NY Giants visit Seattle, November 27
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Giants should bounce back vs. depleted Eagles
It just keeps getting worse for the Eagles. Besides the lingering Terrell Owens suspension, the Cowboys literally added injury to insult when Donovan McNabb aggravated injuries to his abdomen and groin while attempting to tackle Roy Williams on his game-winning interception return Monday night. So instead of Week 11 featuring McNabb-to-Owens, it looks instead as if it will be Mike McMahon, making only his seventh career start and first as an Eagle, to Greg Lewis. Don't look now, but the Eagles could fall to 0-4 in the NFC East.
As bad as New York feels about its loss to the Vikings, the depleted Eagles offer a golden opportunity for Eli Manning & Co. to bounce back. Manning will look to put the worst game of his season behind him, but you can be sure defensive coordinator Jim Johnson will keep the Eagles blitzing in front of him. The question is, will they get there?
After the Cowboys struck for two long pass plays against Eagles' blitzes, you can be sure a point of emphasis for Philadelphia this week in practice will be better timing and execution on their blitzes. Meanwhile, expect the Giants to concentrate on buttoning-up their special teams unit, especially if the Eagles again decide to use RB Brian Westbrook as a punt returner.
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New York Giants
|Avg Points Allowed||23.2||18.4|
Team Averages & NFL Ranks
|TEAM OFFENSE||TEAM||PER GAME AVERAGE|
|TEAM DEFENSE||TEAM||PER GAME AVERAGE|
|Pass Yds Allowed||PHI|
|Rush Yds Allowed||PHI|
Head to Head Matchups (Since 2001)
|Philadelphia leads 7-3|
|Nov 28, 2004||PHI 27, @NYG 6|
|Sep 12, 2004||PHI 31, NYG 17|
|Nov 16, 2003||PHI 28, NYG 10|
|Oct 19, 2003||PHI 14, @NYG 10|
|Dec 28, 2002||PHI 7, @NYG 10|
|Oct 28, 2002||PHI 17, NYG 3|
|Dec 30, 2001||PHI 24, NYG 21|
|Oct 22, 2001||PHI 10, @NYG 9|