The Philadelphia Eagles have showed how good and awful they can be through the first two weeks of the year. At this point, Eagles fans like myself still don't know when the good and bad versions of this team will show up, and which one will be more dominant by the end of the season. But Philadelphia isn't the only team to be this up and down, as the New York Giants have made a habit of it for years.
This year's Giants appear to be no different, as they have been rotten for most of their first two games. Yet their good versions returned long enough to survive a Week 2 shootout. But which New York team will show up on short rest against the Carolina Panthers on Sept. 20?
This is already the second Thursday night game for the Giants this season, after they laid an egg against the Dallas Cowboys on opening night two weeks ago. Despite getting a longer rest for their next game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sept. 16, the Giants still came out flat and looked set for an ugly 0-2 start. Yet Eli Manning's 500+ yards saved New York and helped it salvage a 41-34 escape.
When the good version of the Giants show up, Manning can take over a game and deliver two Super Bowl championships. When the bad version shows up, New York does things like lose to Dallas and start a season at 7-7. But who will the real Giants be this year?
The good Giants could make a big statement by showing up in Carolina, despite their short rest and a rash of injuries. Hakeem Nicks and Ahmad Bradshaw are among those missing in action, leaving New York's offense shorthanded and less likely to rack up 41 points. Since it is going up against Cam Newton, it may need all the points it can get.
If the exhausted, shorthanded Giants can't keep up and fall to 1-2, it will further the theory that last year's championship was a fluke. Given its struggles through most of the first two weeks, New York hasn't done too much to disprove that theory. Of course, whenever people dismiss the Giants and overlook them, that's usually when they catch fire to win Super Bowls.
The Eagles would prefer the Giants to be up and down this season and stay there, so that Philadelphia can be an unlikely champion out of the NFC East this time. If New York loses to Carolina and Philadelphia gets past the unbeaten Arizona Cardinals on Sept. 23, the Eagles will have an early two-game lead over the defending champs - which is always nice to have no matter how early.
This would be the kind of the hole that the Giants love to overcome, however. But will they make things easier on themselves for once and show some consistency? Or has the usual rollercoaster just begun in New York - with no guarantee that they'll escape getting derailed again?
Robert Dougherty is a life-long Philadelphia resident who has followed the Eagles since he was eight years old.
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