This pick was released to clients on December 31, 1969 at 9:00PM ET.
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Philadelphia at New York

January 11, 2009
img1:00 PM Eastern
Premium Pick
2 units on Philadelphia +4 (-105) (risk 2 to return 2)

Back at the beginning of the season, I picked the Eagles to contend for the NFC East title and to come out ahead of the Giants. Early in the season it became clear that something was wrong with Philly as they struggled to a 2-3 start. But they finished 7-4. I picked them in week 16 and again last week. I'm not done with them yet. The fact is, this team is much better than their record indicates. A VERY good team simmers under the surface. When healthy, this team can beat anyone. Donovan McNabb has had an odd year. He found himself benched for a bit during mid-season, but came back strong. In some ways it mirrors the year that last year's Super Bowl QB had. Eli Manning was getting booed at midseason last year but then turned things around and became an instant classic and Super Bowl hero. There has been nothing odd about Donovan's play vs. the Giants, which has been vintage McNabb. The two games vs. the G-men this season have seen McNabb go 36-66 for 385 yards with four touchdowns and only one pick. The Eagles beat the Giants in New York after losing in Philly earlier in the season. One of the main reasons for the Giants' loss was the absence of Plaxico Burress. Burress has been a one man wrecking crew for the Eagles, and now without having to focus so much attention on him, the Eagles have been able to shift their focus to other areas of the Giants offense. Eli Manning was just 13-for-27 for a mere 123 yards in the return match without Burress, while the Giants strong running attack was held to just 100 yards. These teams know each other very well, and this is a heated rivalry. That leads to a very intense game, and games that are usually played very tightly and close. The last time these teams met in the playoffs, the game was decided by 3 points. Overall in their last nine meetings, six games were decided by 6 points or less and two games went to OT. There was a time when getting the bye in the first round of the playoffs was considered a panacea. The rest at this time of the year was deemed to be a huge benefit. My how things have changed! Playoff teams coming off of a bye have been brutal ATS with just a 6-14 ATS mark in the last 20 games going back to 2003. It's been even worse lately at just 3-9 ATS since 2005! The Eagles look a lot like the Giants last year down the stretch. The Giants struggled for much of the season, but then caught fire, and began to look like the best team in the league come playoff time. They ultimately were, as they won the Superbowl beating an undefeated team. This season, the Eagles needed a miracle in week 17 to even be here, but it breathed new life in them as they demolished the Cowboys 44-6. They then went to Minnesota and beat up the Vikings in their house. Right now the Eagles are very hot. These games are close, and the Giants are not playing the same right now, as they closed the season 1-3 after an 11-1 start. Getting more than a field goal is important here as the points may loom large , and I will back the Eagles to at the very least stay close.

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New York Giants
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