Forget about last week’s drubbing down in D.C., forget about all of the talk about the dominant AFC conference, and forget about the big showdown between the Patriots and the Steelers last week. According to Philadelphia Eagles’ defensive end Trent Cole, the NFC is where it’s at, specifically the NFC East, and Sunday night’s matchup is the game of the year.
“You’ve got two great teams coming in; this is what’s going to put the NFL where it needs to be at,” Cole said. ”It’s going to be the biggest game in the NFL this year, this is the biggest game right here.”
Believe him or not, that may not be hyperbole. The Eagles and Giants are two of the only three teams in the league averaging more than 400 yards of offense per game, with New York checking in with 410 yards and Philadelphia putting up 400. The Eagles offense with Michael Vick at the helm is even better though, averaging 444 yards in the four games he started and finished.
If anyone can slow Vick down, it might be the Giants. New York is giving up an NFL-low 270 yards per game and is tied for fourth in the NFL with 20 turnovers forced. The Giants are tied for ninth in the league with 24 sacks, just four off the league lead. They’ve also injured five quarterbacks through nine games.
“That’s one thing about the Giants, their defense is great,” Cole said. “They’ve got one of the top defenses in the league right now and they’ve done a great job, Osi [Umenyiora], [Justin] Tuck and all of those guys, they’re great pass rushers.”
The Eagles are a tad better though, with 26 sacks, tied for sixth in the league. And those 20 turnovers New York got? Philadelphia has 21, tied for second in the NFL. So, are the Eagles feeling a little extra motivation to prove that their defense is just as good as the Giants?
“We’re just going to go out there and play and then you determine that after the game,” Cole said. “Check the box score after the game, that should get you your answer.”
Cole said the same thing last week, when he was confident the Eagles would slow down Donovan McNabb and the Redskins and cause some havoc. After the game, he simply told reporters their answer was in the box score, as he promised. Philadelphia notched two sacks and three interceptions, even while letting up a bit with a commanding lead en route to a 59-28 win over Washington. This time around, Cole believes a lot is at stake in the NFC East, along with bragging rights that extend at least across the NFC, if not around the whole league.
“I think you’ve got two of the best teams that are in the top five,” Cole said. “This is just going to balance out everything. Who’s going to be the king of the hill?”
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