NBC 10’s John Clark laughed in disbelief.
“Five minutes after the game and you’re already focusing on the Giants?” he asked Correll Buckhalter as the flurries tumbled down from the Minnesota skies outside the Metrodome.
The Eagles running back could only laugh as he walked off the sheltered field saying his immediate focus was on Sunday’s divisional game against New York, “My mind's on the Giants baby!”
The Philadelphia Eagles have hopefully stepped off their roller coaster of a season as they look to ride a smooth path to Tampa for the Super Bowl.
There’s just one little Giant problem -- the defending Super Bowl Champions.
The Birds will migrate to the Meadowlands to take on their divisional foes who will be well rested after a first-round playoff bye.
That’s fine for the Eagles, who will be charged up after knocking off the NFC North Champion Vikings 26-14 in the Wild Card game. It was the Eagles seventh straight win in playoff openers, which is the longest active streak in the league.
Ironically, the Wild Card Eagles will look to follow Giant footsteps by capturing the franchise's first Super Bowl victory. Unfortunately for the Birds they will have to win it all on the road and that road goes through top-seeded New York.
Unfazed, the Birds seem ready -- for the first time in the Andy Reid era -- they will have to road trip it, Red Hot Chili Peppers style, through the playoffs.
In fact, the Eagles even seem unfazed that they are a .500 team away from Lincoln Financial Field (4-4-1.)
The key number here is one.
One, as in that one tie in what seemed like an almost-season-busting-yet-still-dumbfounding game at Cincinnati.
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One, as in one loss for the Giants -- they have the second-best home mark in the NFL with a 7-1 record.
And one, as in that one loss was a 20-14 defeat at the wings of the Eagles back on Dec. 7.
Philly is 1-1 against New York this season and in that seemingly improbable win at the Meadowlands, the Eagles defense held the G-Men to a laughable 211 yards of total offense -- including a then season low 123 yards of passing for Eli Manning. Manning put up the clunker despite coming off his season-best 305-yard performance against Washington the week before.
Sunday’s game should prove to be just as gut-wrenching, heart-pounding and state-dividing as any other in the history of the rivalry. This will be the fourth time the two teams will battle in the playoffs -- the second time in three years.
The last game the Eagles held on for a 23-20 Wild Card victory, at home, in 2006. The Giants though, lead the head-to-head divisional game match up 1-0 after a 20-10 victory in 2000.
The Eagles are now 5-1 and have the NFC’s No. 5 ranked offense since that infamous benching of Donovan McNabb against the Ravens in week 12. Yes, were talking about the benching again and you better believe you haven’t heard the last of it.
The Baltimore Benching will be the focal point of discussion and curiosity as the Eagles continue through the playoffs after an unthinkable turnaround to finish the regular season.
McNabb has put up MVP numbers ever since and his 300-yard performance against Minnesota was his first 300-yard playoff game since covering 357 yards in Philadelphia’s Super Bowl loss to the Patriots.
Meanwhile, the Eagles defense has been nothing short of embarrassing for the opposition.
Led by Pro Bowlers Brian Dawkins and Asante Samuel, the NFC’s top defensive unit has held opponents to league bests in yards per game (275) and points per game (18.1).
But Eagles fans expect nothing less from mastermind Jim Johnson and his blitz-happy defense that makes John Madden say Boom! more than Steve Stifler with the bridesmaids.
The Giants are no slouch when it comes to the numbers either, ranking near the top of the league offensively and defensively as should be expected for a No. 1 seed.
When Sunday rolls around forget the numbers, forget the history and forget the regular season.
This is the playoffs and like the Giants proved last year with their long but victorious road to that coveted Lombardi Trophy, anything is possible.
So let the frigid flurries blanket the Meadowlands and be ready John Clark, because if Philadelphia’s really the team of destiny in 2009 when Buckhalter makes his way off the field he’ll already be five minutes into the Conference Championship game.