Well, the rematch with the Eagles is on tap for this Sunday night, and represents game number three in the Giants’ murderers row of opponents. What looked to be a tough game a couple of weeks ago looks a little different this time. After the break, we’ll discuss the reasosn why. First, the Eagles have been beset by injuries. Michael Vick apparently broke his ribs on the second play of the game, and still nearly pulled out a victory. It remains to be seen if he will play this weekend, but the Eagles have been giving the backups equal snaps in practice. If Vince young plays, he would be a similar QB to Vick in terms of playing style. Thus far, he has thrown only 1 pass this year, and it was interecpted. The other back-up QB, Kafka, could cause the G-Men to have some kafkaesque momets on the field. Get the literary refernce? I’ll be here all week. Just the same, the Giants haven’t really seen much of either QB, and this could cause them fits. The Philly O-Line played very well in the loss to the Cards, and could give the Giants some trouble.
Among other injuries, Jeremy Maclin’s shoulder is banged up, and DeSean Jackson’s benching made things easier for the Cardinal’s defense. LeSean McCoy is slippery and elusive, but if the passing attack can get shut down, the Giants can key on him. The Giants’ rushing defense has been their weak point this year, so look for Da Iggles to keep the ball on the ground and control the clock. If it’s the back-up QB, look for the Eagles to try another “game management” scenario that the Niners used with Alex Smith. If the Giants are geared to stop the run, the Eagles might try to throw the ball. Steve Smith made news this week when he said he’d rather take more money than play for the Giants.
The Giants didn’t play a bad game against the Niners; they just ran out of magic. Of the two interceptions, one was Manning’s fault, and Mario Manningham bears responsibility for the other. The O-Line didn’t allow a sack, but they did allow 18 pressures and 2 hits. Not good. In the last couple of games against Philly, Manning has thrown for an average of 4 TD’s and 271 yards. The rushing game continues to improve, but is still barely adequate.
Intangibles: Philly is a talented team, but the coaching staff appears to be at fault for the miserable season. It looks as if the Philly ownership took a page from Dan Snyder’s playbook and tried to buy a championship. Players they got, a team they ain’t. Apparently, Andy Reid never changed the signals, so Kevin Kolb was able to alert the Cards’ defenders what plays the Eagles were running in the 2 minute drill. Coughlin will have worked on the Giants’ weaknesses, as he is looking to avoid another late season fold.
Bottom Line: The Eagles are angry and dangerous, but they are also banged up and in turmoil. The Giants are hungry, and Eli Manning’s passer rating of 94.95 is second only to Green Bay’s Aaron Rodgers. I’m going against my better judgement, and I’ll pick the Giants to win, 27-21. Let’s hope I’m right.