Are the Giants a Trap Game for the Eagles?

Al Bello

Most Eagles fans and writers are banking on a win Sunday against the 0-4 Giants. Don't count on it.

Like many sportswriters, I've been cautioning readers not to get too discouraged about the the Eagles' slow start, because the schedule is about to get much easier. San Diego and Kansas City are much better so far than anyone expected, and the three teams that beat Philadelphia now have a combined record of 10-2.

However, I'm starting to be concerned that Sunday's game against the Giants is a potential trap game. The mood leading up to it is reminiscent of the days before the ill-fated Chargers game, where everyone -- riding high after the great upset of Washington -- thought Philadelphia would cruise against the Bolts. (In retrospect, the Redskins are much worse this year than anyone expected -- another reason to be cautious about predictions.) I think the team got a bit cocky against San Diego, and it could easily happen against a squad underachieving as dramatically as New Jersey York.

The Giants are a proud team playing below expectations. They have some extraordinary veteran players -- not least of whom is Eli Manning. (He could call up his brother, who seems to have figured the Birds out pretty well, and get some tips.) Perhaps some of their players are on the downside of their careers, but these are wily veterans who -- in many cases -- won a Super Bowl recently. On any given Sunday, old bones can rise to the occasion and crank out one more great game. Pride alone will give them a reason to avoid an 0-5 start, and the Eagles' woes will give them some hope.

Then there's this: we're all taking solace in the fact that the Eagles have played the NFL's second toughest schedule so far, so 1-3 isn't actually all that bad. Guess who has played the league's hardest schedule, according to Brent Cohen? That's right, the Giants.

The Vegas line favoring New York still seems crazy to me, and I picked the Eagles to win. But it's certainly not a gimme. Emotions are already a bit ragged among Eagles fans. Let's not get too confident here, or we might be setting ourselves up for major despair.

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