By MARK HALE
All bets are off when the Giants face the Eagles.
Two years ago, the Eagles’ comeback from a 21-point fourth-quarter deficit ruined the Giants’ season. Last year, in a Week 3 game at Philadelphia, Victor Cruz — who entered the game with two career catches — exploded for 110 yards and two touchdowns in an impressive Giants win.
“I think that’s one of the reasons why you’ve got to love playing [the Eagles],” Justin Tuck said yesterday. “You never know what’s gonna happen. It’s one of those games where you’re going into it and knowing that you’ve got to play your best game to win it. I think they feel the same way about us.”
There have been 154 regular-season meetings between the Giants and Eagles, and the average score has been Giants 19.1, Eagles 18.5. Sunday night in Philadelphia, the teams, both 2-1, will face off on national TV.
More important than who takes the early lead in the divisional race (Dallas is also 2-1) is the potential tie-breaker implications. Because the Giants lost the season opener to the Cowboys, they would fall to 0-2 in the NFC East with a loss to the Eagles. That’s a bad start and a potentially worse long-term issue.
“[Games are] all important. It doesn’t matter what your record is. You don’t really think about it in that term,” Eli Manning said. “You think, ‘Hey, we’ve got Philadelphia at Philadelphia.’ ”
Manning may be the better quarterback heading into this game, but the more intriguing one is the Eagles’ Michael Vick. The gifted quarterback has fired only three touchdown passes against a whopping six interceptions in the season’s first three games.