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Eagles-Giants forecast calls for gusty winds, chilly conditions

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- The NFC Divisional Playoff Game between the Philadelphia Eagles and New York Giants on Sunday probably will be played in near-freezing temperatures, with wind gusts reaching 25 mph.

The National Weather Service said Friday that a storm is expected to start Saturday afternoon and end early Sunday, leaving 6 to 8 inches of snow in the area where Giants Stadium is located.

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"It looks like by gametime, it should be dry, but it will be cold," meteorologist Brian Ciemnecki told The Associated Press on Friday.

Ciemnecki said temperatures for the 1 p.m. ET kickoff will hover around 32 degrees, with winds gusting out of the northwest from 15 to 25 mph.

"It looks like classic cold football weather," Ciemnecki said. "There could be some snow showers left over for those heading to tailgate really early. That also could be an issue for clearing the parking lots."

The New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority, which operates the 78,000-seat stadium in the Meadowlands sports complex, salted the plazas, seating areas and stadium spirals on Friday and covered the field after the Giants practiced.

The authority plans to bring in 300 people starting around 3 p.m. Saturday to clear the snow out of the stadium. The crew will work through the night.

"We're shoveling," sports authority spokesman John Samerjan said.

The authority hopes to avoid another snowball game.

The Giants finished a woeful season against the San Diego Chargers in 1995, and many fans spent most of the second half throwing snowballs at the field. A Chargers trainer was hit and injured by a snowball, and several fans were arrested. The Giants later sent out letters to their fans warning that any future violations would result in them losing their tickets.

Samerjan said crews would continue to remove snow until 11 a.m. Sunday, when the gates open.

"Just because there is snow on your lawn doesn't mean you have to throw it at a neighbor," Samerjan said, noting the sports authority will have a no-tolerance policy toward anyone violating its fan code of conduct.

Giants players said the field conditions shouldn't be a problem.

Halfback Brandon Jacobs said the ball might be wet and slippery, but it's something both teams have to handle.

"It's an artificial surface, and the water doesn't absorb the same way it does on grass," defensive end Mathias Kiwanuka said. "You just have to adjust your shoes. We're used to playing on this stuff. You have to make sure your cleats are the right length. Once that is done, all you have to do is play ball."

Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press

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