Samuel, Jackson expected to play vs. Giants

PHILADELPHIA - December 17, 2010

Philadelphia (9-4) indeed listed Pro Bowl cornerback Asante Samuel (knee) and Pro Bowl wide receiver DeSean Jackson (toe) as questionable for Sunday's NFC East showdown at the New York Giants (9-4), which officially means they have a 50-percent chance to play.

But after going through Friday's indoor practice, both are expected to participate in the battle for first place.

Coach Andy Reid wouldn't have it any other way.

"They both practiced and they both feel better," Reid said. "They got more work today and that's a plus. I just want to see how they feel tonight and tomorrow."

Samuel was listed as questionable the past two weeks and did not play. But Reid sounded much more optimistic Friday. Samuel suffered the MCL sprain in the Eagles' last game against the Giants, a 27-17 win on Nov. 21.

"I'm feeling good. I'm pretty excited," said Samuel, who has missed four games this season. "Every day, I'm feeling better. I'm looking forward to tomorrow and the next day."

That would be Sunday, when the Eagles and Giants vie for control of the NFC East at New Meadowlands Stadium.

"You have an MCL sprain, you know what comes from that," Samuel said. "But nobody is 100 percent this time of the year. You just have to deal with it and overcome it. Not being out there and not being able to perform and play with the confidence that you normally would, that gets a little frustrating. But I'm making strides."

Jackson, who rarely lacks confidence - please see his touchdown reception vs. Dallas on Sunday night - also plans to be on the field for what has turned into the biggest game of the season for both teams.

"I still got two days to get ready, so I should be fine," said Jackson, who had 215 receiving yards last week. "At practice today, I did some things. It felt pretty good. I did a lot more today than I did yesterday. I don't think it's that serious to hold me out for a long time. So we should be good and smooth. I'm really not into sitting out games."

Samuel had no choice but to sit out the past three. The Eagles were able to go 2-1 without him, but they allowed 82 points. The Eagles pass defense has also fallen from 13th to 17th since the Samuel injury.

Right tackle Winston Justice, also questionable, was limited in Friday's practice. He appears like a game-time decision. If Justice cannot start, King Dunlap would go in his place.

NOTES: Eagles quarterback Michael Vick was surprised to hear the news coming out of Washington, regarding former Philadelphia quarterback Donovan McNabb's benching. "It's shocking to hear that," Vick said. "I don't know the circumstances, so I don't want to say too much. I just wish him well."

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