You can forget Eli Manning and Donovan McNabb. Derrick Ward and Brian Westbrook. Domenik Hixon and DeShaun Jackson. There is one clear cut choice for the most important player in the divisional game this weekend and that player is Brandon Jacobs.
The majority of the world believes that Brian Westbrook is the most dangerous player involved in the game Sunday, but he isn’t, and it’s not even close.
The first time these teams met back in Week 10, the Giants beat the Eagles 36-31, and it wasn’t even that close. The G-Men racked up 370 yards on offense to the Eagles 255 and if it wasn’t for settling for three John Carney field goals, the game could have been over a lot earlier than when the Eagles failed to convert on a 4th and 1.
In that game Brandon Jacobs rushed for 126 yards and simply punished the Eagles defense in route to two rushing touchdowns. And while this one game might be the smallest of sample sizes, just take a look at the other 15 games. When Brandon Jacobs plays, the Giants win, and usually with ease. And on Sunday it will be 21 days since Jacobs last played and that day the Giants clinched the No. 1 seed with a win over Carolina.
The focus right now is on the Eagles because they demolished the Cowboys and went on the road to beat the Vikings. Not exactly two tasks worthy of the praise they are receiving. But along with the praise are the reviews of the Week 14 game in which the Eagles beat the Giants on the road 20-14. And while the Eagles feel as though this was an enormous win and that the beat the champs, let’s take a closer look.
Forget the fact that Plaxico Burress was no longer a member of the Giants at this point, but Brandon Jacobs recorded only 10 carries (52 yards) in the game, all of them in the first half, due to injury. Not to mention the receivers couldn’t catch passes with a net and Eli Manning couldn’t get a completion. Cancel out the missed field goals by both teams and you have a 20-14. Not one thing went right for the Giants as they played their worst game of the whole season (though it’s close to Cleveland) and they only lost by six points.
You would think on a day when Brian Westbrook was creating his own SportsCenter Top 10 and Donovan McNabb was completing 63% of his passes that the Eagles would have run away with the game. But instead they won by six points.
I am not hear to complain about the loss the same way I didn’t complain about it when it happened back in November. I am just here to make sure everyone realizes that while it was a victory for the Eagles, it wasn’t exactly the 1980 Miracle on Ice that some media outlets are making it out to be.
But I clearly remember that day when Donovan McNabb stood there taunting the Giants fans, even though at the time the Eagles were on life support. And following the game McNabb said that the Eagles should have won the first game as well, not sure if Donovan was playing in the same game that the rest of the world was watching, but ok. Just another classic Donovan line to go along with his lack of knowledge of the overtime rules.
This Sunday is all about Brandon Jacobs. And if he is healthy the Giants can’t be touched. And I expect him to be healthy.