Eagles must keep season alive vs Patriots

By Barry Wilner

Associated Press

Published: Thursday, Nov. 24 2011 3:06 p.m. MST

Two straight defeats erased the Giants' lead in the NFC East, and they have swooned a few times late in past seasons under Tom Coughlin. With Green Bay on deck after this prime-time visit to New Orleans, New York needs a quick remedy.

"We know the Saints are a very good home team," said Eli Manning, who grew up in New Orleans, where his father, Archie, was the Saints quarterback. "It's a loud stadium. ... We can try to start fast and move the ball and don't give up big plays to their defense, (that) should always help the occasion. It's just about being consistent."

The Saints haven't been all that consistent this year, either, but their deep corps of receivers, particularly tight end Jimmy Graham, will test the Giants' defense, which must find a pass rush that was absent last week.

Denver (5-5) at San Diego (4-6)

Tebowmania heads to Mission Bay, where the Chargers are drowning. They have lost five in a row, with their last victory coming at Denver, where Tim Tebow nearly rallied the Broncos to victory.

Tebow is 4-1 since supplanting Kyle Orton as Denver's starter, with three fourth-quarter comebacks.

"I obviously feel pretty comfortable with them. I played against them one and a half times (including last season), so that's the most I've played against any team," Tebow said. "I feel like I'll be able to know them pretty well."

Chicago (7-3) at Oakland (6-4)

A marquee matchup even though Bears QB Jay Cutler is out with a broken right thumb that could sideline him the rest of the way. So Caleb Hanie, who acquitted himself well in a relief stint in the NFC title game loss to Green Bay in January, takes over.

Hanie has a strong running game thanks to Matt Forte and an improving offensive line to support him. Chicago also has dynamic special teams and a defense as stingy as any in the NFL — outside of the Bay Area (meaning the 49ers, not the Raiders).

Oakland is hoping to get back star runner Darren McFadden (right foot), but Michael Bush has done just fine in his place with two straight 100-yard games.

Pittsburgh (7-3) at Kansas City (4-6)

Don't look for Kyle Orton, claimed on waivers by the Chiefs, to get much action this week. Tyler Palko, who played college ball in Pittsburgh and once was with the Steelers, gets the call at quarterback again. He didn't do much in a lopsided loss at New England on Monday night and needs Jackie Battle to get the running game off to a quick start.

That's hardly easy against this version of the Steel Curtain, which ranks second in overall defense and comes off a bye.

Houston (7-3) at Jacksonville (3-7)

Another quarterbacking change takes place in Houston, which also comes off a bye and must replace Matt Schaub, sidelined for the rest of the season with a right foot problem. Matt Leinart gets the call in what could be his final chance to prove he has the goods for the NFL.

Like Hanie, Leinart has plenty of help around him in RBs Arian Foster and Ben Tate, plus a solid defense. Star receiver Andre Johnson looks set to return after a six-week absence with a hamstring issue.

The Jags are good defensively, but other than Maurice Jones-Drew, they don't threaten offensively.

Minnesota (2-8) at Atlanta (6-4)

With Adrian Peterson likely to miss the game with a high left ankle sprain, the Vikings will be severely undermanned against a Falcons squad in the thick of the NFC wild-card chase. Minnesota has won four of its last five visits to the Georgia Dome, where the Falcons need to prosper the rest of the way to make the postseason.

Atlanta has its own injury issues and hopes rookie WR Julio Jones recovers from a right hamstring problem. But the Falcons won without him last week against the Titans, a more difficult foe than the Vikings.

Carolina (2-8) at Indianapolis (0-10)

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