I hate to be so dramatic, but the more you think about it the more you realize that the whole Giants season revolves around this game tomorrow.
My good friend Ray, long time friend, confidante and fellow Giants analyst made a really great observation about tomorrow's game. The game smells, feels and tastes a lot like the second Cowboys game last year. To refresh your memory: Giants beat the Cowboys on the road earlier in the season, just like this year when they beat the Eagles on the road in game 3. Cowboys record was way below what was expected, just like the Eagles this year. Cowboys had their starting QB Romo out because of injury, just like the Eagles have Vick missing in tomorrow's game. Giants were heavily favored in that game (by 14 points if I remember correctly), were flying high and looking ahead to playoff positioning, just like they are now. The game was even at about the same time of the season as this one - week 10 vs. week 11 this year. I don't have to remind you of the nasty outcome: Giants had a terrible game, Eli threw a pick 6 on the goal line, the Giants lost 33-20 and their season really started to spiral downward right then. The season finally unraveled in the horrible Eagles loss in week 15 with the DeSean Jackson walk off punt return, but the undoing began with the loss to the Cowboys.
With all these similarities, you have to worry about the outcome of this game and the affect on the rest of the season. Giants win and they at least maintain their 1 game lead over the Cowboys with 6 games left. Lose and they are tied with the Cowboys, facing a tougher schedule and with momentum working in the wrong direction for both teams. With tough games against the Saints and Packers coming up next 2 weeks, Giants have to win every game they possibly can and can't afford to give away games that they are favored in to stay in post season positioning. With Cowboys easy schedule down the stretch, if you assume the worst, that the Giants lose some ground to the Cowboys, they at least have to stay within 1 game of them so the 2 games against the 'Boys in the last 4 weeks of the season will be meaningful. Beating the Eagles tomorrow is critical to all of these goals.
The worries remain:
Running QBs have hurt Giants defense this year
Young Giants LBs have been exploited this year and Reid / Mornhinweg are very good at drawing up a game plan that attacks the opposition weakness. They are not as good at managing the game in-stream, but pregame strategy they do well
Tuck injured, slowed, playing mediocre by his own admission bodes poorly for stopping the run, which Giants will surely see a lot of tomorrow.
Eagles have the players (good TE, great RB) to attack Giants weakness on defense