It was the other way around the last time these teams met here.
Eli Manning threw a 20-yard touchdown pass to Plaxico Burress, Lawrence Tynes made three short field goals and the Giants moved closer toward clinching a playoff spot with a 16-13 victory over the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday.
Akers hit the right upright on a 57-yard attempt with one second left after Donovan McNabb drove the Eagles 50 yards in the final minute.
Last January, Akers kicked a 38-yarder with no time remaining to give Philly a 23-20 victory over New York in a wild-card playoff game. He was trying to tie his career-long kick.
Now the Giants (9-4) have all but eliminated the Eagles from playoff contention with their sixth consecutive win on the road. New York is almost locked into the No. 5 seed in the conference with three games left.
“We’re playing pretty well on the road,” Giants coach Tom Coughlin said. “We hang together. We battle. We believe in each other. We believe that we can find a way to win and we never stop playing. We have good heart. It’s not always pretty, but some how, some way we scratch and find a way.”
The defending NFC East champion Eagles (5-8) can start looking ahead to next year following their third straight loss and fifth loss by four points or less.
McNabb hadn’t played since spraining his right ankle in the second quarter against Miami on Nov. 18. A.J. Feeley led the Eagles to a win over the Dolphins, but threw costly interceptions in the final minutes of losses to New England and Seattle.
After McNabb led the he Eagles into the end zone on their first possession, they managed just a pair of field goals the rest of the game.
“It’s really frustrating,” McNabb said. “It’s a collection of things at the wrong time that keeps leading to us getting field goals instead of touchdowns.”
The Giants were driving to put the game away when defensive end Juqua Thomas came from behind and forced Brandon Jacobs to fumble following a 21-yard gain. Thomas recovered it at the Eagles 5 with 5:51 left.
Philly drove to New York’s 44, but McNabb’s pass to Jason Avant on fourth-and-6 was incomplete and the Eagles didn’t get the ball again until the final minute. It appeared linebacker Antonio Pierce hit Avant early, but no flag was thrown.
“It was a call that was missed, but the refs are human, too,” Avant said. “He hit me. Then the ball came.”
With no timeouts and 53 seconds remaining, McNabb moved the Eagles from their 11 to the Giants 39, but Akers couldn’t send it into overtime.
New York took advantage of a rare fumble by the sure-handed Brian Westbrook in the third quarter to take their first lead.
Justin Tuck forced Westbrook to fumble after a 2-yard catch and Sam Madison recovered it, giving the Giants the ball at the Eagles 37. Westbrook hadn’t lost a fumble since Week 5 of last season, a streak of 559 touches in the regular season without losing the ball.
“It was a bad situation to turn the ball over,” Westbrook said. “As a leader, you can’t have that. I really hurt the club.”
Manning needed just three plays to find the end zone for the first time. A 19-yard catch by Amani Toomer set up the 20-yard scoring pass to Burress that put New York ahead 13-10.
After Tynes kicked a 23-yarder to make it 16-10 late in the third quarter, Akers hit from 39 yards following a time-consuming drive to cut it to 16-13.
When these teams met in Week 4, the Giants tied an NFL record by sacking McNabb 12 times, including six by Osi Umenyiora, in a 16-3 win. They didn’t bring McNabb down until Umenyiora sacked him in the third quarter.
McNabb had better protection this time, but didn’t seem to have anywhere to throw. He finished 20-of-30 for 179 yards, one TD and no turnovers. Westbrook ran for 116 yards.
Manning was 17-of-31 for 219 yards and one TD. Burress caught seven passes for 136 yards.
“We’re just finding ways to win games,” said Manning, who led the Giants to a comeback win in Chicago last Sunday. “We just have to keep it going.”
McNabb completed all three of his passes during a 68-yard opening drive. From the Giants 18, McNabb faked an end-around, rolled to the right and tossed a short pass to Westbrook for a score.
A false start and sack moved the ball back and the Eagles settled for a 29-yarder by Akers that put them ahead 10-6.
New York wasted an opportunity in the second quarter after a 35-yard run by Reuben Droughns put the ball at the Philadelphia 1. But the Eagles made four stops at the goal line and Tynes hit a 19-yarder to cut it to 7-3.
Tynes made a 23-yarder at the end of the first half to get the Giants within 7-6.