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Around the NFC

Compiled from Times wires

© St. Petersburg Times, published January 3, 2001


Giants have a special ticket plan

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- The New York Giants, who beat the Eagles twice in the regular season, defeated Philadelphia fans Tuesday.

The fans had hoped to buy some of the 5,000 tickets New York put on sale for the semifinal Sunday at Giants Stadium, but when they called Ticketmaster at noon, they found out they couldn't.

Fans from southern New Jersey and the Philadelphia area were told tickets were not available in those areas. The Giants changed the sale area after the Eagles beat the Bucs on Sunday, Giants spokesman Pat Hanlon said.

The Giants announced Saturday tickets would be sold by Ticketmaster locations in the northeast. After the Eagles won, the northeast became central New Jersey, the New York City metropolitan area and southern Connecticut.

"That's northeast enough," Hanlon said. "The home-field advantage is gained when your house is full of your people."

EAGLES: The Giants' victories were by a combined 32 points. Coach Andy Reid said he knows what the Eagles did wrong, but he isn't telling. "I'll tell you that after we play them," he said.

RATINGS: The Saints' 31-28 victory over the St. Louis Rams on ABC drew a 17.6 overnight rating. That was up 12 percent from last season's second Saturday wild-card game, in which Washington led Detroit 27-0 at halftime.

Sunday, Philadelphia's 21-3 victory over the Bucs on Fox averaged a 17.1 rating, down 16 percent from last season's Sunday wild-card average.

Overnight ratings measure the country's 49 largest markets. Each ratings point represents a little more than 1-million homes.

SAINTS: Running back Ricky Williams is doubtful for Saturday's game against the Minnesota Vikings. Williams hasn't played since breaking his left ankle in a Nov. 12 win over Carolina. He practiced in a handful of plays and was expected to test the ankle again today to see if he can continue practicing. ... Rookie fullback Terrelle Smith, who started 14 games, did not practice as expected. He hasn't played since Dec. 10 because of bulging back discs. "His back was doing worse," coach Jim Haslett said.

VIKINGS: Quarterback Daunte Culpepper said he will be "100 percent" Saturday, bouncing back from an injury that often takes more than a month to heal.

Two weeks ago, Culpepper sprained his upper right ankle against the Green Bay Packers. He said his greatest difficulty is planting the foot to run. Coach Dennis Green said Culpepper could run for a first down or touchdown if necessary. "I'll stick with Daunte," he said.

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