By Annie Ross

You think Giants Week is a big deal in Philly?

Turns out it might mean more to the East Rutherford Gints than it does to Eagles Nation.

After the Giants beat the Falcons last Sunday to go 3-2, New York coach Tom Coughlin got down on bended knee surrounded by his players and gave a familiar speech about how they played with heart, desire, and intelligence. He congratulated them on their victory. Then he stood up and gathered them closer.

“Just a reminder guys,” Coughlin said. “You know where we’re going next weekend, huh? Ohhhhhh, yeahhhhh …”

Not that Coughlin needed to remind them, but the Giants are going to Philly on Sunday night for the first and perhaps most important of two straight NFC East games on the road. It’s a huge game that should tell the story of whether the Giants’ recent run is real, and whether they really are good enough to contend in this improved division.

This is a statement game for the Giants. It’s a chance for them to prove they’ve got a real shot in a division race that almost nobody expected they would win.

“We didn’t get a lot of credit preseason in our division,” said Antrel Rolle. “But I think the table is starting to turn a little bit. Dallas is playing good. Philly is playing good. We’re rising and we’re stepping up to the challenge. We’re playing some good football right now.”

They’ve been playing very good football the last three weeks, there’s no doubt. They’ve come a long way from where they were at 0-2 when they were standing on the edge of oblivion. But even after three straight wins, they’re still staring up at two 4-1 teams in the division standings. And the competition they’ve faced so far hasn’t been nearly as good as it will be through the end of November. The combined record of the teams they’ll face in their next six games is 20-8.

It’s the first test of that stretch, though, that matters most, because what better way to signal their arrival than for the Giants to go to Philly and knock off the defending NFC East champs. The 4-1 Eagles were picked by almost everyone to repeat in the division. Of course, as Rolle reminded everyone, the Eagles were simply the best of a sorry bunch last year, the Giants included.

“I don’t feel like there was much to really battle with last year in our division,” Rolle said. “It was a weak division last year. This year it’s definitely up and rising.”

Yes it is, considering both the Eagles and Cowboys already look like they might be among the best teams in the entire conference, if not the league. That’s especially true of the Eagles, even though it has been a struggle at times for them through the first five games of the season. But Chip Kelly’s team is as potent as expected, averaging an NFL-best 31.2 points per game.

The Giants, though, aren’t far behind them (26.6 points per game overall — 35 points per game the last three weeks) now that they’ve finally found their footing on offense. And the Giants’ defense seems a lot more solid than Philly’s too. This may have been hard to imagine after the first two games of the season, but maybe the Giants are just as good.

“They are the defending (division) champions and they have a great team so it’s going to be a challenge for us,” said cornerback Prince Amukamara. “I think we know the task at hand. Everyone knows how big of a game that is.”

“Great challenge,” Coughlin added. “Philadelphia has obviously all kinds of numbers. They’re played extremely well. Arguably they should be undefeated right now. So we know what that challenge is about and we’re excited about preparing and having an opportunity to play against the Eagles in our division.

“That’s what I’m embracing, if that’s the word.”

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