Giant rivalry

While there’s been much debate about which team generates more hatred among Eagles fans — Giants or Cowboys — one thing is certain: Neither team is welcome.

“They say, ‘They don’t care what you do all year as long as you beat the Giants and Cowboys,” rookie Brandon Graham said.

Former safety Brian Dawkins always said beating Big Blue was his top priority. But with Dawkins gone — and a locker room of 20-somethings — Sunday will be their first taste of the Giants-Eagles’ feud. Rest assured, the rivalry is in good hands. These young Eagles have talked to the older guys, learned about the tradition and are ready to strap it up.

“It’s gonna be one of them games where you gotta knuckle up and be ready for all that’s coming … ‘cause them boys is tough,” rookie Brandon Graham said.

“Think of your college rivalry,” rookie Kurt Coleman said. “We don’t like the Giants and the Giants don’t like us.”

Coleman attended Ohio State, so he knows about big-time rivalries. He lived and breathed for beating Michigan. Graham, a Michigan alum, agreed.

“They say there’s really nothing like it and no experience like it,” Graham said. “Them boys come out hype and everyone looks forward to this game … it feels like a playoff game.”

Coleman and Graham will be playing the Giants for the first time. Cornerback Dimitri Patterson is in his second year with the Eagles, but he’ll be making his first start against New York. He’s had this game circled on his calendar.

“No doubt about it, it’s definitely a game we mark,” Patterson said. “You get the feeling early in the week. … The intensity level goes up.”

Can’t get punched in mouth

Eagles-Giants is always a huge deal. With Philadelphia and New York separated by a short turnpike, that’s just human nature.

This year, it will be magnified tenfold, with the winner taking sole possession of first in the NFC East. The game is also being contested under the bright lights at Lincoln Financial Field.
“There’s a lot at stake,” Coleman said.

Then there’s the hype machine. If the Eagles win, the national pundits will be jumping on them as the favorites to represent the NFC in the Super Bowl.

“There’s going to be talk, a lot of talk, but we can’t control opinion,” Patterson said. “We can’t get too high, can’t get too low. If you get too low, you can’t play. If you get too high, you get punched in the mouth.”

Paying the playmaker

On the field, DeSean Jackson and Michael Vick make sweet music together. So, it’s only fitting that the explosive duo is anticipating fat, new contracts. “We’re looking for them con­tracts,” Jackson said. “We know they’ll come.”

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