Giants' Umenyiora takes aim at Eagles

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"It was a team we should have beat," Giants defensive lineman Osi Umenyiora (left) said of last season's playoff loss to the Eagles, which he missed due to injury. (David Maialetti/Staff file photo)

I've said it before, and I'll say it again.

A special buzz is building around the 2009 football season in Philadelphia, and a lot of it has to do with the rivalry between the Eagles and Giants.

Defensive lineman Osi Umenyiora stoked the fire a little bit today while talking to reporters during the team's OTAs.

He told Mike Garafolo of The Newark Star Ledger that the bitterness the team holds over the way last seaon ended is contributing to their work habits in the offseason.

"They should. I do -- and I wasn't on the football field," he said. "I was on the field, but I wasn't playing and I saw the way it ended. It was a team we should have beat and it was a team that, if the opportunity arises again, we will beat."

The Eagles beat the Giants at the Meadowlands, 23-11, in the divisional round of the playoffs. The two teams split during the regular season, with the Eagles winning a Week 14 matchup, and the Giants taking the first game in Week 10.

Umenyiora missed all of last season and told Garafolo he has no pain in his surgically repaired knee.

In 2007, he had seven sacks in two regular-season contests against the Eagles, one of those being the Winston Justice game.

Umenyiora is not the only Giants player to speak up this offseason.

Last month, running back Brandon Jacobs predicted (at least) 13 wins for the Giants during his radio show.

Meanwhile, quarterback Eli Manning also took a look back at the way last season ended.

"We had a good shot at repeating," he said, per ESPN.com. "We were playing good football. And we let one slip away. We all talked about it -- the guys in this room have talked about it. We all know what's at stake here. We think we have something special -- just like last year."

I guess it's not too early to circle Sunday, Nov. 1 on your calendar. That's the date the two teams first meet, in Week 8 at the Linc. The second meeting is a Sunday night matchup in Week 14.

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