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Eagles, Giants Prepare for Round Two of NFC East Battle

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By Larry Fine –

(Reuters) - The New York Giants and Philadelphia Eagles are getting ready for round two of their NFC East divisional series with first place on the line again Sunday at the New Meadowlands Stadium.

Giants safety Deon Grant said he and his team mates have been waiting for the rematch from the time they walked off the field in Philadelphia after New York's 27-17 loss in November.

"We were upset going to the locker room," Grant said about squandering a 17-16 fourth-quarter lead. "We couldn't wait to get to play those guys again."

Said Giants offensive lineman David Diehl: "This game has always been about a 60-minute fight."

Eagles coach Andy Reid told reporters in Philadelphia that he expected a high caliber contest.

"Those are always great football games when two rivals have an opportunity to play each other," said Reid, whose team has won five in row against the Giants.

"It's kind of neat that both teams are in a position where the game is important this late in the season. It's a tribute to both teams and how they've played."

The last time the teams played they were tied for the division lead at 6-3. Now the NFC East co-leaders are both 9-4 with Sunday's winner earning the inside track to a possible playoff bye or home field advantage in the first round.

Even stoic Giants coach Tom Coughlin was charged up.

"In the division. For the lead in the division. Mid-December. It's exciting, very exciting," Coughlin said in opening his news conference Wednesday.

Both defenses shined in that first contest.

The Giants limited the scrambling threat posed by Philadelphia quarterback Michael Vick by applying disciplined pressure to limit him to 34 yards on 11 runs.

Philadelphia held the Giants to a season-low 208 yards of offense and registered five turnovers on three interceptions and two fumble recoveries, leading coach Coughlin to lament his team's "disregard for the ball."

Since that defeat, the Giants have leaned on the double-barreled running threat of Brandon Jacobs and Ahmad Bradshaw, who expect to play a pivotal role in the game plan with wide receiver Steve Smith lost to injury.

"We've got to get the running game going," said Bradshaw. "That's our primary focus."

Manning said he had to limit turnovers that could fuel the Eagles' explosive attack.

"With their offense, you don't want to give them anything easy. Our defense is playing great football and you don't want to give the opposing team a short field," he said.

Said Vick: "We all know the magnitude of the game. We know it's a big one. Where else would you want to be?

"Come Sunday, it's going to have to be lights out on both sides."

(Editing by Steve Ginsburg)

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