The New York Giants and Philadelphia Eagles both will be coming off losses when they meet Monday night in the first of two games that will almost surely decide the NFC East.
But they're totally different kinds of losses.
The Eagles were shocked two weeks ago at home when Arizona scored in the final seconds, handing them a loss they probably can't afford -- New York and Philadelphia are far better than the other three teams in the NFC East.
The Giants lost 15-14 at St. Louis to the NFL's only unbeaten team in a game they could have -- and probably should have -- won.
"That would have been a big win in our pocket, but it's not there," Jim Fassel said. "It's a loss, we deal with it and we have to move on."
Some side issues:
1. The Giants have beaten the Eagles nine straight times, including three times last season, once in the playoffs. Probably not relevant. Or if it is, the law of averages favors the Eagles.
2. Donovan McNabb. He's been trying to prove he's a pocket passer this season, which takes away a lot of his effectiveness. It cost the Eagles in both their losses -- to St. Louis and the Cardinals.
3. Michael Strahan. He has 8 1/2 sacks in his last three games and right now is the NFL's best defensive player. He handled Jon Runyan, the Eagles' right tackle, in the playoff game last year and the two seem to have a running feud.
Go with Strahan and the ability the Giants have shown to control McNabb, even when he does run.
St. Louis (minus 6 1/2) at New York Jets
The Sunday undercard for the Eagles-Giants Monday night. The Rams should have lost last week and will lose some time.
Why not now?
Buffalo (minus 9) at Jacksonville (Thursday night)
The Thursday night special. Jacksonville's hurting. So are the Bills, who have the added burden of being a bad team.
Green Bay (minus 3) at Minnesota
The Vikings are still overrated.
Pittsburgh (plus 5 1/2) at Tampa Bay
The Bucs are better at home.
Baltimore (minus 7) at Cleveland
The Ravens' defense vs. Cleveland's offense is a mismatch. And Baltimore bounces back well.
Tennessee (minus 6) at Detroit
The Lions are right down there with the Redskins and Cowboys.
Atlanta (plus 8 1/2) at New Orleans
The All-Blacks had their scare last week.
New England (plus 10 1/2) at Indianapolis
New England won 44-13 three weeks ago in Foxboro and they're double-digit underdogs here? Tom Brady is playing better than Peyton Manning.
Carolina (minus 3 1/2) at Washington
How many times will LaVar Arrington hit Chris Weinke late? If he doesn't ...
Chicago (pick 'em) at Cincinnati
Old rule: If a team isn't good enough to win four in a row, it won't.
Denver (off) at San Diego
The "off" is Brian Griese's shoulder. If he's off, Doug Flutie won't be.
Kansas City (minus 2 1/2) at Arizona
Trent Green isn't what he was supposed to be.
LAST WEEK: 5-7-2 (spread); 8-6 (straight up)
SEASON: 37-30-4 (spread) 47-24 (straight up)
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