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Week Eight Morning Aftermath: Eagles 40, Giants 17

We were impressed by the ability of the Giants to overcome a disappointing finish to the 2008 season by settling back into the valley of 0-0 and climbing out of it, one win at a time.

But then, after five straight victories to start the season, the Giants have fallen.

And they can’t get up.

The last three weeks have been disastrous for the Giants. A 21-point loss at New Orleans, a sluggish performance at home in prime time against an Arizona team that lost by 21 when they last entered the Meadowlands to face the Jets in 2008, and now a 23-point drubbing at Philly, where the Giants had won four straight times.

Our theory, consciously or otherwise, is that once the Giants got a taste of just how good the Saints are, the Giants realized that this year won’t be New York’s year to win another Super Bowl, or to even get there.

And so that slap in the face made it hard for the Giants to get their act together before playing the Cardinals.

Still, a 23-point loss at Philly should raise eyebrows in New York. Linebacker Antonio Pierce called it “a complete embarrassment and disappointment,” according to Ralph Vacchiano of the New York Daily News.

The root cause could be a level of arrogance that the talent level on the team doesn’t justify.

“We keep talking about ‘Well, that team ain’t better than us. We just didn’t play good,’” defensive end Justin Tuck said. “After three weeks in a row, something is not clicking the way it needs to be. We’ve got to look ourselves in the mirror and get this ship right. Now.”

It sounds good. But it’s not like the Giants have lost three straight games on fluke plays. They were blown out twice, and they came off as uninspired in the home loss.

Again, it appears that the 5-0 start was influenced in large part by the fact that the Giants primarily played bad teams (Redskins, Bucs, Chiefs, Raiders). Their only impressive victory came at Dallas, but it arguably wasn’t a game the Giants won as much as it was a game the Cowboys lost.

So the reality could be that the Giants haven’t lost their magic. The reality could be that, this year, they simply don’t have any -- and that they’re going to be the last ones to figure it out.

The Eagles, on the other hand, have put an embarrassing loss at Oakland in the rear-view mirror, and they’ve moved to 5-2, good for a first-place tie with the Cowboys. Tailback LeSean McCoy did a fine job of filling in for Brian Westbrook (concussion, knee) and fullback Leonard Weaver pitched in with a stunning 41-yard touchdown scamper.

And with quarterback Donovan McNabb having time to cook lunch and do a crossword puzzle before throwing most of his 23 passes, the Eagles rolled to a 30-7 lead at the half, making the final two quarters a glorified exhibition.

The big test for Philly comes next week, when the 5-2 Cowboys come to town for a Sunday night game. (On NBC.) Regardless of the outcome, it now looks like this division will be determined on January 3, when the Eagles and Cowboys get together in Dallas.

Possibly once again in prime time.