This week’s game against the Eagles is going to be an interesting one for Giants linebacker Jameel McClain. Although he went to college at Syracuse, McClain is from Philadelphia and identifies strongly with the City of Brotherly Love.
“I love Philly, I love the fans, I love everything about it,” said McClain, “That’s something that I received, respect that I receive. I’m a Philly guy, you know, I’m through and through. I’m that, I represent that first, beyond anything. It’s my blood.”
We’ll see how much McClain loves the Philadelphia fans after he’s played in Lincoln Financial Field as a Giant. Although he’s been in the building as an opponent before, that was with the Baltimore Ravens. Things get cranked up a notch when it’s Giants versus Eagles, and McClain knows this.
“I expect it to be a battle like I’ve known it to be,” said McClain of the rivalry, “I grew up in Philadelphia so I’m very aware and I do have a firm experience on rivalries so I know it’s going to be a battle, I know what both teams stand for and I know what they represent and what this game means. I’ve never ran from a fight in my life, so I have my knuckles balled up. I’m ready.”
The game is especially fun this time around because both the Giants and Eagles are both playing well and battling for NFC East supremacy. With the Cowboys in Seattle for a tough matchup with the Seahawks, the Sunday Night game in Philadelphia could have first place on the line.
To win the game, the Giants will have to focus on slowing down Eagles running backs LeSean McCoy and Darren Sproles. Although McCoy has struggled a surprising amount in recent weeks, McClain knows better than to let his guard down.
“I know Shady, he’s a special football player,” said McClain, “He’s special, any second that you don’t pay attention to his dangerousness, for lack of better words, he hits you, he busts one out of the gate, he makes an amazing play, so always being aware of him.”
Against the Giants last week, Atlanta running backs caught 14 passes for 169 yards and a touchdown. McClain and company need to be much more effective in pass defense to stop an Eagles team that loves to throw to its backs.
“You always have to be aware of him, you always know where he’s at, you always know where Sproles is, you always know where these weapons that they have are, because the moment that they look to the left and then to the right, you just got left. That’s the big play.”