PHILADELPHIA - Injured Eagles center Jason Kelce was in pain Thursday.
The source of his discomfort was not his right knee, which has two torn ligaments. He was upset about having to miss Sunday night's key game against the New York Giants.
"This game is different because there is a genuine dislike between the two teams," Kelce said. "Whenever we play them, the game is just a step up from most (regular-season) games. The intensity is stronger and everything speeds up a notch. It's almost like a playoff game during the season."
That became apparent earlier this week, when ESPN aired an "E:60" special about the rivalry that featured the ongoing feud between Eagles running back LeSean McCoy and Giants defensive end Osi Umenyiora.
The two have been exchanging insults - mostly via Twitter - for about a year and a half. Most recently, McCoy labeled Umenyiora as a "ballerina in a Giants uniform" during the TV show, though he backed off those comments on Wednesday.
"Well, he's probably right," Umenyiora said on the show. "I might be a ballerina in a Giants uniform, I'm lucky I got the contract, I'm lucky to be playing 10 years in the league, to have won two Super Bowls, all that is pure luck and I'm happy for him, I'm happy he got his contract and I'm happy everything is working out well for him in Philadelphia."
The Giants own an 83-75-2 advantage in a series that dates back to 1933, but the Eagles have won seven of the last eight meetings. Those last seven wins have featured some wild and whacky scenes.
In their most recent game, on Nov. 20, 2011, Eagles backup quarterback Vince Young overcame three interceptions to engineer a fourth-quarter touchdown drive that helped secure a 17-10 victory. Quarterback Michael Vick missed the game with broken ribs.
Two seasons ago, Eagles punt returner DeSean Jackson scored on a 65-yard return on the game's final play to give the Eagles a 38-31 win. The Eagles scored 28 points in the final 7 minutes, 28 seconds.
Jackson's return was just the latest in a series of "Miracles" the Eagles have used to defeat their NFC East rivals.
The first one took place in 1978, when Eagles defensive back Herm Edwards grabbed a botched handoff between Giants quarterback Joe Pisarcik and fullback Larry Csonka and sprinted 26 yards for a touchdown with 31 seconds left for a 19-17 Eagles win. The end-of-game kneeldown became much more popular after that gaffe.
In 2003, Eagles running back Brian Westbrook scored on an 84-yard punt return with 1:16 remaining in regulation to help the Eagles earn a 14-10 victory.
"We've had some great games against the Eagles, some classic battles," Giants quarterback Eli Manning said in a phone interview. "Not many of our games have been lopsided. You never know what to expect or what you're going to get during those games. I know the Eagles are going to be especially fired up for this one, though."