Last week I published an article on the keys to beating the Eagles. Unlike most ESPN announcers, I like to go back and see if what I said held true.
On Offense: The Giants, for the second week in a row, face a team that plays poorly against the run. In what is admittedly a small sample, the Eagles give up an average of 5.3 yards per rush. The Giants rushed for an average of 4.8 Unlike the Rams, the Eagles are extremely weak at the Linebacker position. To back-up this claim, the Eagles have re-aligned their much maligned Linebacking corps. The Eagles drafted Casey Matthews purely on name recognition alone. He is not an NFL Middle Linebacker. He has now been moved to the outside and is replaced by second year man Jamar Chaney. Andy Reid is saying the change is being made for the matchup against the Giants, in other words he’s searching for an answer to a huge defensive problem.The Linebackers made a total of 8 tackles Sunday. The Eagles play a scheme with their front four, as we all heard Sunday night ,called The Wide-Nine. Their Rush ends are split wide, about 4 and a half yards away from their interior tackles. Their sole job is to rush upfield and turn everything back to the inside. The linebackers are supposed to fill the holes, and make the plays in the gaps….they haven’t. The Giants will need to find some blocking schemes to exploit this alignment that the Eagles employ on almost every down. Getting a back one on one against a linebacker on the Eagles is a good thing, Bradshaw and Jacobs will need to carry the load this week. Bradshaw and Jacobs accounted for 200 yards of total offense. The Giants will run, run, run, setting up the over the top passes as they did last week when the secondary drops down to help. The Eagle Linebackers lived up to their reputation getting beat by Jacobs on his TD catch, and getting pinned inside by Tight Ends and WR’s on many running plays. The Secondary looked weak and confused. On Victor Cruz’s fabulous TD run, if you watch the play over you will notice Hakeem Nicks is also wide open streaking down the middle of the field.
On Defense: The Giants cannot cover all the speed the Eagles can employ in their offense. The pressure on Michael Vick must be relentless. As we all know the pressure was relentless. The Giants hounded Vick until he could take no more. Keeping Vick in the pocket, or forcing him to his right will be a key element in this game. The Eagles of course have also learned that Vick cannot throw when running right, so look for their line to move the pocket left from the snap. The Eagles also employ lots of screens, swing passes, and mis-direction runs. When trying to put maximum pressure on a Qb, it is very difficult to fill all the lanes on the back side. The Giants must remain disciplined in their attack, send pressure from the secondary, and do their best to keep the receivers in front of them. The Giants allowed only TWO plays over 20 yards. They did a magnificent job of dropping in coverage and keeping the plays in front of them. A few long drives by the Giants offense would go a long way in making the defense a success. No long drives to speak of, but more importantly drives ending in points.
I spoke of the fact that this game was going to be about turnovers and penalties…..The Giants had zero turnovers, while forcing three interceptions, and Three fumbles. Penalties were Giants 4-21 and the Eagles 7-36, with The Eagles making the key mistake of jumping offsides on the field goal attempt.
Finishing and Execution are the keys to a successful season…..This was a great example for the team to use for motivation moving forward.