4:05 PM ET, December 11, 2005
Ny Giants (8-4) at Philadelphia (5-7) Sunday 4:05 pm EST
PHILADELPHIA (Ticker) -- After suffering through consecutive losing campaigns, the surprising New York Giants have shown signs of improvement in several areas this season.
On Sunday, the Giants look to win in a hostile road environment for the first time this season when they visit the reeling Philadelphia Eagles.
Despite losing a total of 22 games over the past two seasons, New York has surged to first place in the NFC East Division this season thanks to the emergence of second-year quarterback Eli Manning and a vastly improved defensive line.
In his first full season as the Giants starter, Manning has thrown for 2,816 yards and and 20 touchdowns - the third-highest total in the NFL.
The first pick in the 2004 draft, Manning passed for at least one TD in each of his first 11 games this season but struggled through his worst performance of the campaign last week in New York's pivotal 17-10 over the Dallas Cowboys.
Manning completed just 12-of-31 attempts and was intercepted twice in the contest, but the Giants delivered a dominant defensive effort to take sole possession of first place in the NFC East, one game ahead of the Cowboys.
Michael Strahan recorded a pair of sacks and linebacker Antonio Pierce scored the eventual game-winning TD on a 12-yard fumble return as New York forced four turnovers and held Dallas to just 206 yards of total offense.
Although Manning has developed faster than expected and the defense has emerged as a legitimate force, New York has posted a record of just 1-3 away from Giants Stadium this season and has not proven that it can win in a hostile road environment. Their lone win away Giants Stadium came against the woeful San Francisco 49ers.
The Giants will get their chance on Sunday when they visit an Eagles squad which is coming off its worst home loss in over 40 years.
After being ravaged by injuries and the Terrell Owens saga throughout the season, Philadelphia suffered an embarrassing 42-0 loss to Seattle on Monday night. Philadelphia committed six turnovers as the Seattle scored three defensive touchdowns.
With Donovan McNabb, cornerback Lito Sheppard and two starting offensive lineman sidelined with various ailments, the Eagles endured their worst home loss since getting blanked, 49-0, to the Green Bay Packers in 1962.
Philadelphia also lost star running back Brian Westbrook for the remainder of the season due to a Lis Franc sprain of the right foot.
Westbrook leads the Eagles with 617 yards rushing and three touchdowns. The speedster also has a team-high 61 catches for 617 yards and four TDs.
Despite being shorthanded, the Eagles will look to exact a measure of revenge against the Giants, who posted a 27-17 victory over their divisional foes on November 20.
Manning threw for 218 yards and three touchdowns - including two in the fourth quarter - as New York survived against a Philadelphia team which was forced to start Mike McMahon in place of McNabb.
Although McMahon threw for a TD and ran for another against the Giants, the fifth-year quarterback was replaced early in Monday's game by Koy Detmer. Eagles coach Andy Reid has not announced a starter for this week's game.
Series: Giants lead, 76-65-2, but have lost their last four games in Philadelphia.
Next week: New York hosts Kansas City, December 17 Philadelphia visits St. Louis, December 18
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Manning looks to bounce back
Monday night's 42-0 home loss to the Seahawks was one of only a few low points for the Eagles during coach Andy Reid's tenure. With playoff hopes dashed and just four games remaining, the Eagles have little left to play for outside of the opportunity to develop young players. The Giants currently lead the division by one game and need to exploit the downtrodden Eagles on the road Sunday in order to maintain their place atop the division.
While the Giants should feel good about their meaningful win over the Cowboys last week, it might have been QB Eli Manning's worst outing of the season. Getting Manning and the offense back on track is a must, as the Giants cannot afford to squander what looks to be a golden opportunity in Philly this week.
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|Avg Points Allowed||18.5||24.2|
Team Averages & NFL Ranks
|TEAM OFFENSE||TEAM||PER GAME AVERAGE|
|TEAM DEFENSE||TEAM||PER GAME AVERAGE|
|Pass Yds Allowed||NYG|
|Rush Yds Allowed||NYG|
Head to Head Matchups (Since 2001)
|Philadelphia leads 7-3|
|Nov 20, 2005||NYG 27, PHI 17|
|Nov 28, 2004||NYG 6, PHI 27|
|Sep 12, 2004||NYG 17, @PHI 31|
|Nov 16, 2003||NYG 10, @PHI 28|
|Oct 19, 2003||NYG 10, PHI 14|
|Dec 28, 2002||NYG 10, PHI 7|
|Oct 28, 2002||NYG 3, @PHI 17|
|Dec 30, 2001||NYG 21, @PHI 24|
|Oct 22, 2001||NYG 9, PHI 10|