Giants and Eagles know what to expect in key clash

By Larry Fine

EAST RUTHERFORD, New Jersey (Reuters) - The New York Giants and Philadelphia Eagles know what to expect when they square off in a pivotal NFC East clash at Giants Stadium on Sunday night that will affect the playoff race.

"Every time we play each other it's a knock down, drag out, physical football game and this won't be any different," Eagles coach Andy Reid told reporters in a conference call.

Giants quarterback Eli Manning said there was no secret formula.

"Not a lot of things change between these teams," Manning said by his locker after practice. "You kind of know what's going on. It's just a matter of execution. It comes down to guys winning the individual battles."

The Giants are 7-5, one game behind NFC East co-leaders Dallas Cowboys and the Eagles, who are both 8-4.

The New Yorkers are coming off their second victory of the season over the Cowboys, and the Eagles have another game to play versus Dallas.

"We won a good game the other night. We had great energy. We had great passion. We played physical. That is the way we play," said Coughlin, whose team has rebounded with two wins in the past three weeks after four losses in a row."

"The last one (against Dallas) was a big game, but we've got four big ones left and no bigger than this one against Philly," said Manning.

The Eagles have won three games in a row and have swept the last three meetings with New York, including a 40-17 pounding last month in Philadelphia and a playoff victory last year.

"Every game is different," said Reid, who was rewarded with a contract extension on Wednesday through the 2013 season.

"The Giants are going to have some wrinkles and we're going to have some wrinkles, but what it comes down to is getting after each other and both teams do that well."

The Eagles could be close to full strength as all-purpose running back Brian Westbrook returned to practice Wednesday after missing the last three games because of concussion.

"We'll take it day by day here and see how he feels," said Reid, adding that explosive wide receiver DeSean Jackson would return after missing last week's game against Atlanta.

Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb was asked if Giants-Eagles games were as rough as any in the NFL.

"I believe so," he said. "These are two physical teams that really don't like each other too much.

"It's going to be a grind. We know it, they know it. But that's what makes the game exciting."

(Editing by John Mehaffey)