CARDINALS at PANTHERS
Last time (Week 8)
The Cards blew a 17--3 third-quarter lead in Charlotte, and a 65-yard Jake Delhomme strike to Steve Smith clinched the Panthers' 27--23 win.
Arizona lost all five of its East Coast games, and only the defeat at Carolina was close. What the Cards bring now is "a chip on our shoulder," says defensive tackle Darnell Dockett. "We're supposed to be the worst playoff team, we shouldn't even show up." Can hard feelings soften the one-two rushing punch of DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart? Maybe for a series or two, but not for four quarters; the Panthers had an NFL-best 30 TDs on the ground. And if Arizona's D pays too much attention to the run, Delhomme will send Smith deep, with little or no safety help.
Panthers 26, Cardinals 17
EAGLES at GIANTS
Last time (Weeks 10 and 14)
The Giants won at Philadelphia by five, and the Eagles won in New Jersey by six. The combined score of their last six meetings: Eagles 126, Giants 124.
With 6'5" receiver Plaxico Burress in the Giants' lineup, Philly's D couldn't devote enough energy to New York's physical running game, which piled up 219 yards in a Week 10 win. With Burress out in Week 14, the Eagles prevailed by bringing a safety in the box. Burress again won't be around, but Eli Manning has handled adversity superbly in the last 13 months, and running back Brandon Jacobs will have had three weeks for his left knee to get better. A new deep threat—probably Domenik Hixon—will stretch the field a couple of times for Manning, which should be enough.
Giants 27, Eagles 20