Eagles, Giants kick off Philly-NY twinbill

PHILADELPHIA (AP) - October 31, 2009

When the Giants and Eagles clash with the NFC East lead at stake, they'll only be the opening act in a Broadway-Broad Street twinbill. Kickoff is set for about 7½ hours before the Phillies throw the first pitch against the Yankees in the World Series. The loaded lineup should only increase the tension between the tailgating die-hards from each city.

"Hopefully, we can go down there and take care of our business," Giants defensive end Justin Tuck said. "Hopefully, the Yankees can do theirs, too."

Once the game is over, fans will swap their Eagles green hats for Phillies red; Giants blue jerseys for Yankees pinstripes.

Members of the Giants and Eagles have kept on eye on their city's respective league champions during the postseason. Eli Manning is rooting for the Yankees, but offered no prediction. Donovan McNabb called his shot: Phillies repeat.

Neither city wants a split. But more than bragging rights are on the line for the throaty, and heavily accented, fans at both ends of the New Jersey Turnpike.

The Giants-Eagles winner can take control of the division at the midway point.

The Giants (5-2) have dropped two straight after starting 5-0 for the first time since 1990. The Eagles (4-2) thrashed the Redskins in their division opener.

"I think they get pumped up," Eagles coach Andy Reid said. "I always think that against the NFC East they get pumped up a little bit more. I talk about the rivalry." Hold the phone! There's another juicy subplot.

The Giants were irked in last season's divisional playoff game when McNabb ran out of bounds, grabbed a telephone near New York's bench and pretended to make a call. The phone is the one players use to communicate with coaches in the press box. The move got a big belly laugh in Philly, though the Giants have stewed about the sideline show.

McNabb said there was no one on the other end. Maybe someone hung up on him. Or service was disconnected.

"I don't have any regrets for doing it," McNabb said. "But in this game do you really need any psychological motivation? I don't think so."

The bigger insult to New York was how Philadelphia came to Giants Stadium and won to advance to the NFC championship game and deny New York's repeat Super Bowl bid. The 23-11 loss stung New York and serves as a motivator more than McNabb's prank call.

"I'm sure it does," Giants coach Tom Coughlin said. "They have a great memory."

Eagles offensive lineman Winston Justice has a memory he'd like to erase against the Giants. Justice is set to start against the Giants for the first time since Sept. 30, 2007. Osi Umenyiora, who was lined up against Justice, had six sacks as New York set an NFL record with 12. Justice's confidence was shot and he's been forced to answer for that game to this day, even as he moved into a starting job. Justice said he doesn't look back or talk about the fiasco.

"I'm not even thinking about that game," Justice said.

McNabb, who went down on those sacks, hopes Justice can use this game as a shot at redemption.

"That's tough because that's all people remember him as, and it's probably what people remember of him now," McNabb said. "Winston has done a great job. He's done a great job for us so far and he will continue to play well."

McNabb could be without Brian Westbrook in the backfield. Westbrook is a game-time decision after he suffered a concussion and was knocked out cold in the win against the Redskins. While the injury-prone Westbrook's numbers are down this year as he's yielded carries to rookie LeSean McCoy, he's tormented the Giants over the years with game-changing runs.

Manning might not have right tackle Kareem McKenzie (groin) protecting him.

Manning and the Giants had their championship celebration 20 months ago. McNabb is still waiting for his while a city once crazed about the Eagles has become bathed in Phillies red. The backpage headlines, talk radio chatter, and columnists have put a series full of classic fall games in the backseat for the Fall Classic.

"They've done a heck of a job so we take it as a positive," Reid said. "I don't care if there is a lot written about them or a lot written about us, we don't get into all of that. We're pulling for them and hope they have a great series and win the thing."

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