PHILADELPHIA — Only the shoulder pads will be talking Sunday. finally. And sure, the Eagles can wear all-black uniforms for the first time in their Super Bowl championship-deprived history, but to Eli Manning and the New York Football Giants, Black Sunday only means the mourning they plan on leaving behind when they transform a bloodthirsty Linc into an NFL funeral parlor.
This isn’t, of course, about which city has the better cheesesteaks and which city has Broadway, it is about a tale of two football cities and the great expectations and hatred that travel up and down the Turnpike each time the war between these worlds rages.
The perfect storm awaits: Chip Kelly’s Eagles driven to prove they are no one-hit wonders; Tom Coughlin’s Giants driven to take back the division and mount a long-lost playoff drive, on prime time, no less.
After all the childish trash talk from both sides, here comes a Thrilla in Phila that will separate the men from the boys.
One of those games that will leave the gladiators lingering longer in the hot tub on Monday morning.
“More sore than usual for sure,” said Giants linebacker Jon Beason, who hopes his big toe is able to return from a three-game absence. “And you’re always more sore if you lose.”
Black & Blue Sunday.
One of those big games where big players are supposed to play big.
Perhaps it was coincidence, perhaps not, but around the same time that the Eagles’ video circulated depicting “Lil Eli” scared pantsless by the ambush blackout being prepared for him, Coughlin was showing his Giants compelling evidence to the contrary Friday morning inside the Quest Diagnostics Center.
“We saw a stat today: He has 18 passing touchdowns at the Linc, which is the most of any quarterback that’s not an Eagles quarterback,” Giants offensive tackle Justin Pugh said of Eli. “So obviously, we want to keep that going.”
It resonated with the other side of the ball as well.
“Coach put up a stat today that says that Eli has like the most touchdowns from an opposing quarterback in the Linc, and Eli’s been playing amazing so far,” Giants cornerback Prince Amukamara told The Post. “And it also feels great to have [Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie] on the other side of me. It makes a lot of people’s jobs a lot easier.”
So does not have to be worrying about DeSean Jackson, who now is in Washington.
The Giants believe, if this one isn’t decided by Manning’s skill, it will be decided by their collective will.
It is hardly lost on them that the Eagles suffered their lone defeat when the 49ers rushed 42 times for 218 yards and possessed the ball for 42:17 in a 26-21 victory.
“I think San Fran had 218 yards against ’em. If we can put up some rush numbers, get over 35 rushes, that’s always the goal,” Pugh said. “That would be nice.”
There isn’t a single Giant who isn’t confident that the game will not be too big for rookie running back Andre Williams as he replaces Rashad Jennings (knee).
Asked Friday after practice what his state of readiness would be, on a scale of 1-10, Williams chuckled.
“I’m at like a 12 right now,” he said. “By the time gametime comes around, I might be about 15, 16.”
Williams, 230 pounds of bully, carried 42 times last year for Boston College (for 339 yards) against North Carolina State, and relishes wearing down and punishing a defense.
“They’re getting up slow, they’re making grimacing sounds on the way down to the ground, they’re quiet. … That’s when you know you got them,” he said.
Asked if he feels any pressure, Williams said, “I don’t necessarily believe in the term pressure. Pressure’s not something that you can quantify, so why feel it? You could tell yourself, ‘This is something I want to do, not something I’m pressured to do, and then that changes your whole feeling about it.”
You can bet your last soft pretzel “Lil Eli” won’t feel pressure either.
“Unlike Andre, who has played in some big [college] games, Eli’s played in the biggest game in this profession,” Pugh said.
“I think all-black looks tough, it looks more combative, I would say, as opposed to any other combination,” Beason said. “ I think it’s something that gets players excited ’cause I remember when we changed uniforms, I think we brought out the red jerseys again, anytime that happens I think it’s a good thing.”
Not Black Sunday, but Black & Blue Sunday instead.
“Uniforms won’t have any bearing on what’s gonna happen,” Beason said. “I think we’ll be pretty fired up for it, regardless of uniform.”
No westies allowed.