Vintage Dawk as Broncos help Eagles

New York Giants wide receiver Steve Smith is tackled by Denver Broncos safety Brian Dawkins during the first quarter of an NFL football game in Denver. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)

In an otherwise awful day of Thanksgiving Day football, one player's performance stood out for Eagles fans across the country.

Brian Dawkins.

The Broncos' safety, who turned 36 in October, played like he was 10 years younger, forcing a fumble, recovering another and leading all players with eight tackles in Denver's 26-6 win over the Giants.

The Broncos had lost four in a row, prompting Dawkins to call a players-only meeting during the short week. And on Thursday night, he provided an example to some of his inexperienced teammates about what it's going to take down the stretch to get into the playoffs.

"He’s been playing like he’s 25 all year,” Broncos coach Josh McDaniels told the Longmont Times-Call. “That’s the spirit he has. His spirit, I’ve said it a number of times already, I don’t think I’ll ever be around another player that has the spirit that Brian Dawkins has."

Quite a quote, considering McDaniels' background with the Patriots.

"His leadership, his quality of it, and just his persona, his positive attitude, the things that he brings to our team every day. What a great example for every player, every coach, whether they are young or old."

Something football fans in this city saw on display for 13 years.

Meanwhile, the Giants looked like a lost football team, going down for the fifth time in six games.

Offensively, they managed just 38 yards in the first half and 57 yards rushing overall.

The loss puts the Giants at 6-5 and in third place in the NFC East, two games behind the Cowboys, who beat the Raiders earlier in the day to improve to 8-3. New York's remaining five games include three straight against divisional opponents and a date with the 9-1 Vikings in Week 17. They have a huge matchup a week from Sunday against the Cowboys.

As for the wild-card picture, the Packers improved to 7-4 with a win over the Lions. The Falcons are very much in the mix at 5-5, and Chicago (4-6), Carolina (4-6) and San Francisco (4-6) still have outside shots of sneaking in.

The Birds, meanwhile, despite their up-and-down season, will find themselves in great position with a win over the 'Skins Sunday. They will have a chance to determine their own fate down the stretch - both for the division and wild card - with games remaining against the Cowboys, Giants and Falcons.

Later, we'll post our weekly Q&A with Dave Staley of We'll also do 10 obersvations on the Redskins and take a look at who's picking the Eagles on Saturday. Plus, we'll be chatting live from the Linc Sunday afternoon.

Hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving. And we are thankful that you make MTC one of your daily stops.