All the elements will be there when the Philadelphia Eagles visit the Meadowlands on Saturday to play the New York Giants: a nasty rivalry, a lot at stake and, most likely, football weather.
''This is the kind of game you live to play,'' the Giants' Tiki Barber says.
At stake for the Eagles is home-field throughout the playoffs: a win and they clinch it. At stake for the Giants is a playoff berth. New Orleans' shocking loss in Cincinnati last week lifted New York into the NFC's second wild-card spot. So all the Giants have to do is win to ensure a playoff berth.
The Eagles won the first game 17-3 on Oct. 28 and are favored by 1 1/2 points. But New York's offense has new life since coach Jim Fassel started calling the plays after the loss in Philadelphia.
After averaging a little more than 12 points a game with offensive coordinator Sean Payton making the calls, the Giants are averaging more than 27 with Fassel running the offense, and they've scored 81 in their last two games, including 44 in Indianapolis last Sunday.
This week, however, they face the Philadelphia defense, one of the NFL's best. The Eagles, on the other hand, have A.J. Feeley at quarterback, a more stationary target for Michael Strahan, who traditionally has had his way with Jon Runyan, the Eagles' right tackle.
The Eagles have won six straight; the Giants three straight. But the Giants seem on one of those Fassel-inspired rolls they got on late in 1997 and again in 2000.
Home field and hunger.
Kansas City (plus 7) at Oakland (Saturday)
The Chiefs are barely alive.
The Raiders can clinch home field in the AFC with a win.
Miami (pick 'em) at New England
The Dolphins are 2-5 on the road and traditionally lose in December.
The Patriots have lost two straight unimpressively.
Green Bay (plus 1) at New York Jets
If the Eagles lose, the Packers can get NFC home field, so a lot depends on what happens Saturday in the same stadium.
Carolina (plus 7 1/2) at New Orleans
After three straight losses, the Saints need help to get in.
New Orleans already has lost to two last-place teams: Detroit and Cincinnati.
These guys are better.
Atlanta (minus 2 1/2) at Cleveland
The Falcons win and they're in. The Browns win and they need help.
Jacksonville (off) at Indianapolis-
The Colts are another win-and-in team.
Tampa Bay (off) at Chicago
Can the Bucs finally win in cold weather?
Dallas (plus 6 1/2) over Washington
Dallas' 10-game winning streak over the Redskins ends. So does Dave Campo's tenure as the Cowboys' coach.
Tennessee (minus 8) at Houston
The old Oilers go back to Texas.
Seattle (plus 3) at San Diego
Holmgren's job is safe.
Baltimore (plus 7 1/2) at Pittsburgh
It's unlikely, but the Steelers might still get the first round off.
San Francisco (off) at St. Louis (Monday night)
The 49ers may play this one like an exhibition.
They still win.
Arizona (plus 11) at Denver
The Broncos aren't in very good shape.
Cincinnati (plus 7) at Buffalo
The Bungles blow the first pick in the draft.
Minnesota (minus 3 1/2) at Detroit Surging for next season.
LAST WEEK: 8-8 (spread), 7-9 (straight up).
SEASON: 118-117-5 (spread), 149-90-1 (straight up).
Peninsula Clarion ©2014. All Rights Reserved.