Who should Big Blue fear the most in NFC East

Paul Schwartz: Now that the Giants look as if they're going to make some noise in the NFC East, it's time to determine which team they need to worry about most of all. The division is definitely improved but until proven otherwise, it's the Eagles, no matter what their record is at the moment. Clearly, the Birds from Philly aren't the dominating team of the recent past but they're the cream of this crop.

I have a feeling that Kenny P is going to disparage the Eagles, perhaps because he's spent too much time watching the Phillies and he now thinks that every team from the City of Brotherly Love has refined the art of choking and underachieving. The Giants haven't even knocked heads yet with the Eagles, but we do know that they played a fairly lousy game in Dallas and still should have come away with a victory. Anyone scared of the Cowboys has too much Parcells on the brain. You want to discount Donovan McNabb and that proud Eagles defense? You want to dismiss the way Andy Reid always seems to get his club to respond to challenges? Do so at your own risk. When the Giants march into Lincoln Financial Field and come away with a victory – they haven't won in Philly since 2000 – then come to me and proclaim that the Eagles are dead. Until then, respect the heavyweight of the division until he's knocked out.

Ken Palmer: The Eagles are done. Cooked. Finished. Only a fool would have to stick around to see them actually hit the canvas. They look like my boy Tommy Morrison did in between receiving punches number 926 and 927 against Ray Mercer way back in the ‘90s. That the Eagles are still wobbling is a credit to their talent, coaching and pride. But they can't stay on their feet much longer. The Cowboys are clearly the team New York should fear the most. They've got the best coach in the division and the strongest defense as well. They even appear to have themselves a nice little running game and receiving tight end – both necessary ingredients to win the NFC East. Methinks at this point that Big Blue has the inside track on the division, provided they can win the games they're supposed to in the coming weeks. But if anyone gets in their way and trips up New York's return to NFC East prominence, it will certainly be the Cowboys, who've obviously already proven they can beat the Giants, and not the Eagles, who don't even look like they could beat Rutgers at this point. And anyone who thinks the Redskins even warrant discussion on this topic is sadly mistaken.

PS: Enough about the other guys. Let's break down some Giants numbers. The most impressive statistic the Giants compiled after seven games was their remarkable offensive consistency as far as spreading out their points. From the first quarter to the fourth, they scored 57, 53, 48 and 51 points, meaning they find a way to grind for points at every juncture of a game. That's rare. There was a time when they scored on every opening drive. Then Eli Manning went through a stage where he couldn't get going early. No matter what, the Giants tack on points here and there. It keeps the pressure on opposing defenses. As far as the least impressive stat, how about the fact that the Giants allowed opponents to convert 45.4 percent on third down? That can't continue if the Giants want to grow into a serious contender. Getting off the field is a necessity for a secondary that gives up yards as easily and often as Kenny Palmer gives up his spot in line at the All You Can Eat Veggie Bar.

KP: While it's extremely impressive that the Giants led the league in scoring (29.9), were second in turnover ratio (plus-12), and also tied for the second best average starting spot after a kickoff (30.2-yard line) through seven games, let's dig a little deeper here than Paul's capable of. The single most impressive stat so far this season for Big Blue is that they were second in the entire NFL with an average gain on first down of 6.57 yards. Even a football novice like Paul can realize that the more you get on first down, the less you need on second and third. The worst stat for Big Blue continues to be the pass defense. Say what you will about the Giants getting leads and other teams throwing the ball on them a lot, there's absolutely no reason Big Blue should be ranked 30th – that's second to last in the whole league – in pass defense, allowing 266 aerial yards per contest.

PS: As the Giants head into the second half of their season, you just know someone is going to emerge as a bona fide surprise. Someone whose contributions flew under the radar will soar into prominence. My guess is it's going to be Corey Webster. Tom Coughlin has shown that he's proactive when it comes to making moves and he's not going to hold Webster back simply because he's a rookie. He's also not going to keep Will Allen in the lineup based on his veteran status. If you didn't sleep through one of those Coughlin conference calls you would have heard him say, "Will Allen was in position to make a play ... and again was not able to make the play" about another missed interception by Allen in the lopsided victory against the Redskins. Meanwhile, Webster was praised for forcing a fumble. "Of course, Corey Webster made a real nice play ... I liked that very much,'' Coughlin said. Connect the dots. Coughlin is not going to sit back and watch his secondary get shredded. He's going to act and Webster will be his response. And then, does anyone expect that the savvy kid from LSU is going to fail?

KP: Clearly Corey Webster's the easy choice here. However, it's obvious for all to see (or at least just me) that Tim Carter's coming out party is finally here. A free agent at year's end, Carter has done nothing through his three-and-a-half years in New York to prompt anyone to think big days are ahead, but he and I will show the NFL landscape the error of their ways. Carter's going to be called upon after an unfortunate injury slows Amani Toomer. With the opposition consistently double-teaming Plaxico Burress, the onus will fall on Carter to make big plays down the stretch. For once, he won't disappoint. Actually, he's going to do so well under the bright lights of a late-season race and postseason that he's going to earn himself an invite back to the Giants for next season.

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