When the Eagles are on Offense:
Vick and the Eagles appear to be catching the Giants defense at just the right time. New York allowed 533 total yards last week including allowing two Baltimore running backs to rush for 107+ yards. They allowed 33 points last week and 34 the week prior against Atlanta, a game in which they were shut out. The Eagles will look to LeSean McCoy, who rushed for 123 yards in their first meeting this year, to balance the offense. McCoy has rushed for 100+ yards in each of the last three matchups against the Giants.
The strength of the Giants defense last year during their Super Bowl run was the defensive line. Unfortunately, the defensive line this year has been less than stellar. They still have a Pro Bowler in Jason Pierre-Paul but his numbers are down this year. He has just 6.5 sacks after recording 16.5 last year. The defense as a whole has 16 less sacks this year than last year. He has not recorded a sack since November 4th against Pittsburgh. That is putting pressure on the secondary which has been ravaged by injury. Cornerback Corey Webster was picked apart by Joe Flacco as he found Torrey Smith five times for 88 yards and a touchdown.
When the Giants are on Offense:
Luckily for Manning he is facing a secondary that, although it has improved recently, is still struggling mightily because, ya know, safety is an actual position in the NFL. The Eagles safeties are just terrible. Nate Allen and Kurt Coleman combine to tackle nobody and break up little-to-no passes thrown their way. Nnamdi Asomugha and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie both give half-hearted efforts more times than not. Half-hearted is an overstatement at times. The team’s only interception since October 14th came from backup safety/special teamer Colt Anderson last week off a deflected ball.
The running game has been a bit inconsistent for the Giants as well. Last week featured back Ahmad Bradshaw had just 39 yards. Bradshaw, like Nicks, has been mauled by injuries but when healthy is an effective and dangerous runner. However, as much of a threat as Bradshaw is, the player that could kill the Eagles is running back David Wilson. The rookie out of Virginia tech has blazing speed that gave the Eagles fits last time around and he has now been worked into the running game more. He had a 14 yard touchdown run last week against the Ravens.
Special Teams and Prediction:
Eagles kicker Alex Henery has been the team MVP this year. He is an incredible 27-for-30 on the year. He is 16-for-17 inside of 40 yards and 27-for-29 inside of 50 yards with his season long being 49 yards. Two of his three missed field goals came against Tampa Bay two weeks ago. One of his misses was from 58 yards in which he had the distance but hit high up the upright.
The Giants need to beat the Eagles then have the Vikings (home v. Green Bay), Bears (@ Detroit), and Cowboys (@ Washington) all lose to secure the last playoff spot. They need a lot of help but we have seen stranger things happen. The Eagles are not playing for much besides pride (while some of them are playing for their jobs next year) at this point.
The Giants need this game while the Eagles don’t necessarily need it but everyone wants to win the division games. The Eagles have been swept in the division by the Cowboys and Redskins this season and have been embarrassed. Michael Vick will probably be rusty and they might be sloppy at first but I see this being a closely contested battle between two teams that aren’t playing their best football at the moment.
I really think the Eagles have a realistic shot to win the game but I’m going to pick the Giants for the simple fact that the Eagles have lost 10 of their last 11 games.
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