This is the game of the year for the Giants and Eagles, no question about it.
Around here at GmenHQ — there’s an extra generous feeling of camaraderie when it comes to sharing opinions about the game tomorrow so we decided to try a roundtable format this week. Jennifer Allman, Sam Rincon, Sean Kerr, and David Simpson. Here’s some of what we talked about:
This is the biggest game of the year for both teams — the Eagles and Giants both need this win. What is your sense of Philadelphia’s excitement level about this game? Are they excited or nervous?
Jen: I try to avoid that city like the plague this time of year, and I am completely ignoring my Eagle-fan friends, but I can’t imagine there isn’t as much excitement there as there is up here. Any logical Eagles fan has to feel nervous about this game and the safety of their quarterback.
Sam: I feel like theres alot of nervousness in the Philly blogs. I feel like the 5 game winning streak against us is the only thing that helps them sleep at night and alllows them to pick there team in this game.
David: Based on the Philly blogs, indigenous newspapers (Philadelphia Inquirer) and reader comments it seems as if the Philly faithful are a little nervous. I garner this opinion by their obvious arrogance and defiance regarding the ability of the NYG to stop Vick and their offense in critical situations. Their distain for anything Eli is also somewhat palpable. My long-distance take on the overall attitude of Philadelphia Eagle supporters is concern camouflaged with a seemingly forced swagger. These teams are so evenly matched and know each other so well I find it a stretch for any reasonable football observer to be betting the mortgage on this game.
Sean: In Philly? I can only think that there is a sense of nervous cockiness. They know that the Giants are a good football team, despite what they say with their outloud voices. I have no doubt that most think that this game is a wrap for them, seeing as how they have won the last 5 against us and are on a 5 game winning streak. The NY Giants have been breaking streaks all season long and this week will be no exception.
Shootout, ground game, or defensive battle?
Jen: I would say defensive battle. The ground game for the Giants has been incredible, and the Eagles aren’t afraid to take shots downfield early and often. Vick is a factor on the ground and in a shootout. Both defenses have to find solutions to these issues, and the team that has the stronger defense on the day will win this one.
Sam: I feel like these games are extremely hard to call. It seems like both teams play really tough on defense but they always manage to be high scoring
David: A great question and virtually impossible to determine pre-game. Games such as these have a tendency to take on a life of their own. Both teams have the ability to avail themselves in all three areas. For the Giants to prevail I believe they must take shots downfield early, blitz packages on defense in hopes of forcing turnovers and finally physically controlling the game once the Giants have secured the lead. Philly is too explosive against any defense for the Giants to play cautiously or playing rather to win but “not to lose”.
Sean: Philly will try to start their shootout right from the gate. This has been their typical offensive scheme throughout the season. The Giants will be expecting it. It won’t go over as the birds have planned. Both teams will try to establish a run. The Big Blue defense have continued to stay healthy and get better as the season has progressed. They are on fire right now. The team with the best defensive outing will take sole ownership of the NFC East. The Giants have the better defense, and arguably the best defense in the NFL. The Eagles will not be playing the same Giants team that they played 4 weeks ago.
The Eagles have had the Giants number the past few years — what do you attribute that edge to?
Jen: Last year’s three losses, including the playoffs, was because of the inept play of the Giants defense. The problems that existed then are gone now. Certainly the Eagles offense has become incredibly dynamic, but so has the Giants defense, so we should see some incredible football when these two units face off.
Sam: I feel like people put too much into this 5 game skid. In 2008 we played them when we were falling apart down the stretch and then again in the playoffs after we finshed the season 3-4.2009 we all know how that year played out and this year its an entirely different team. Last game it was just them making more plays then we did and Eli’s embarassing fumble.
David: 2 very evenly matched teams whereas the Eagles have made big plays at critical times. I would also offer that at times it seems as if Andy Reid has his team better prepared. In the last game it seemed, at times as if the Eagle defenders where in the huddle with the Giants. Giants must add a wrinkle or two.
Sean: It is rare that a team in the NFC East gets swept by one of their division rival, unless of course that team is in disarray. That was the NY Giants case last year, for reasons I still can’t fathom. We all saw the collapse of the Giants last year. The Eagles swept us last year. They took 1 regular season game and beat us in the postseason in 2008. They have beaten us once this year. It’s really just the way the math has worked out. 2009 is still a season that Giants fans can not understand. We started the season 5-0 and then things started to go haywire for us. The NY Giants beat themselves in 2009. The 2 games that Philly won against us last year, while they were a good team, it was the Giants who took themselves out. Sometimes we’re our own worst enemy.
Michael Vick is leading the Pro Bowl voting, he’s a hot topic right now. But Vick has finally broken the seal on the turnovers though and now seems to give up a couple balls every game… is that something the Giants are going to seeing again on Sunday? Is he getting worn down? Too aggressive? Hit too much?
Jen: I don’t care who you are, getting hit often throughout a game and turning the ball over is going to get into your head. Vick is not the typical quarterback for many reasons, and it has worked for him, but he needs to learn a little more self-preservation and be more willing to slide feet first when he runs, rather than dive for extra yardage. Any defender will take advantage of this to be able to put legal hits on a QB in the open field. The Giants also love to strip the ball, so if he is smart he will be a bit more conservative, because the Giants will look to exploit him when he leaves himself open to hits. Don’t forget, these are the Quarterback Killers, with Tarvaris Jackson being their latest victim.
Sam: I think people are figuring him out plus, I just dont feel like he sees the field that well. I believe its more about how much time he was been getting in the pocket and his ability to create.I just think when he gets pressured he’s human.I dont want to take anything away from him though, he truly seems like hes matured on and off the field and hes a deadly weapon.
David: I think defensive coordinators are beginning to understand Vick’s tendencies, the season is a long one and he has absorbed some violent hits and finally there comes a time in every person’s development where a plateau is reached. Michael Vick has come into this season virtually re-inventing himself and is deserving of high praise for his accomplishments. However, as with all NFL quarterbacks he does many things very well and some things not as much. I think Michael is still learning about himself and his limitations and that is when mistakes reveal themselves.
Sean: It’s December. Most of the players in the NFL are worn down now. They taken a lot of hits. They’ve been battered around. In Vick’s case, he had 4 weeks off after taken a huge hit from the Washington Redskins. The rest paid off for him. The non-Giants world thought he walked on water and was the second coming. We have all seen that this is not the case. In the last game against the Giants, Justin Tuck sacked him three times. He felt those hits and hobbled up from a few of them. Tuck forced two fumbles from Vick and one was recovered. He came back, after the 4 weeks off, the week before he played us. Personally, I think that Vick’s has carried those 3 Tuck sacks with him for the rest of the season. The 15 sacks he incurred since our last game haven’t helped him much. Oh yeah. He’s hurting’ and he’s going to be a real hurt puppy, pardon the pun, on Sunday. I see another victim for the “QB Killers.”