After QB1 Donovan McNabb went down for the season in a Week 11 matchup with the Titans, few expected the then-5-5 Eagles to be a playoff contender come January. But surprisingly enough, under the guidance of veteran backup Jeff Garcia, the team rattled off five straight wins to finish the season at 10-6, good enough for a first round Wild Card matchup with the 8-8 New York Giants. (Not the strongest year for the NFC in general, to say the least, a disparity that would become abundantly clear come Super Bowl XLI).
As has often been the case when the Giants and Eagles meet up in recent years, Big Blue would have no answer for Brian Westbrook on January 7th, 2007. Westbrook abused the Giants for 141 yards on just 20 rushes, including a zig-zagging 49-yard run in the second quarter for a score. He was nearly matched on the other end by the G-Men's Tiki Barber, who ran for 137 yards in what would turn out to be the final game of his NFL career, but with the score tied at 20-20 late in the fourth, Westbrook helped make the difference with some key runs on a final Birds drive to get within field goal range. David Akers kicked a 38-yard field goal as time expired, and the Eagles won 23-20.
The Eagles' (and more specifically, Jeff Garcia's) storybook season would come to an end a week later against the New Orleans Saints, as Garcia played decently and Westbrook was once again stellar--15-30 for 240, a score and no picks for the former, and 116 yards and two TDs for the latter--but were just outdueled on the other end by the Saints' Drew Brees and Deuce McAllister. The Saints squeaked out the 27-24 victory, and the Eagles had another trying, partially-McNabbless 2007 season ahead of them. Meanwhile, the Giants rebounded from both the loss and the departure of the franchise RB Barber with a 10-6 record and an eventual shocking upset victory in Super Bowl XLII against the 18-0 Patriots.