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The Law of the Yukon

The Law of the Yukon is survival of the fittest and The Law of the NFL is The Law of the Yukon.

Couple of years ago, when McNabb went down with an injury, as he often does, Jimmy — my-hair-never-moves — Johnson stated unequivocally, the Philadelphia Eagles won’t make the playoffs. Jeff Garcia then promptly took them to — yeah, that’s right — the playoffs. Couple of weeks ago, after an embarrassing tie with the Bengals, one of the “geniuses” at ESPN declared the Eagles out of the playoff race. Well, guess what — they’re back.

Credit where credit is due; year in and year out, the Eagles stay in the hunt. Maybe not good enough to win it all but, they stay in the hunt. After losing to the Giants a couple of weeks ago and with eleven days to prepare for the rematch, the Eagles made adjustments, committing to the run and — more importantly — adjusting to not needing double-coverage on the suspended Plaxico Burress. For the first time in years, they were able to commit an extra tackler to ‘the box’ and not worry about getting beat deep over the top.

Domenick Hixon could have changed that but he muffed a great deep pass from Eli Manning that could have caused the Eagles ‘D’ to reconsider their strategy. And, except for play here and there; the Giants looked slow, dis-spirited and, maybe, even a little bewildered yesterday. If they don’t make some adjustments, they’re going to be in deep, deep doo-doo — and very soon.

That paradigm of great coaching, Jerry, I-don-t-have-a-clue, Glanville, while referring to the short shelf life of unsuccessful coaches like himself, said NFL stood for Not For Long. Well, Not For Long can also stand for how long it takes the league to catch up with what a team is doing. The league watches film and by this time of year everyone knows exactly what everyone else does well and what they don’t do well — and they prepare accordingly.

Last year, the Patriots roared through the league with blowout out after blowout. But, by the end of the year, the league was playing them tougher — including the Eagles who damn near beat them, the Giants who came close in week 17, the Chargers who also came close in the Championship game and finally the Giants who beat them in Super Bowl XLII.

Now, the league knows they can commit an extra man to ‘the box’ because, until proven otherwise, without Plaxico Burress, there’s no deep threat and the Giants can’t make them pay for that extra man. Teams like the Redskins and Cardinals weren’t able to cash in on it but better teams like the Eagles can and will. In the next three weeks, the Giants face off against three ‘better’ teams: the Cowboys, the Panthers and the Vikings. If they can’t re-establish a deep threat, they won’t be able to run and, if they can’t run … well, you do the math.

That’s what the season has come down to — three games. Yeah, the Giants can still make the playoffs with three losses but is that the plan? Dallas is waiting next Sunday night and both are faced with what it’s always been in the Not For Long League — The Law of the Yukon; survival of the fittest. Know what? Maybe that’s not such a bad thing after all.

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