The Eagles went to the desert in Week Three and got blasted 27-6 by the Arizona Cardinals. Meanwhile, the New York Giants dominated the Carolina Panthers in Charlotte 36-7. Needless to say, the Giants are confident heading into this NFC East battle versus the Eagles in Philly. But who will come out victorious?
Quarterback Eli Manning and crew did any and everything they wanted against the Panthers. Well this week, the competition will be a little bit tougher. In order for the Giants to come out and continue their offensive roll, they must continue to get production from the running game. Running backs Andre Brown and Ahmad Bradshaw have been chewing up the yardage on the ground this year. They challenge for the Eagles will be to stop the Giants running the ball. And that task will be spearheaded by middle linebacker Demeco Ryans. If the veteran linebacker, along with the interior linemen, can stop the Giants from running the ball consistently, then you make the Giants one-dimensional. You also allow the safeties for the Eagles to not have to come up and help in the run game. If the Eagles have to commit more people to stop the running game, expect Eli to go to work early and often. Eagles cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha has been a guy that has been disappointing and teams have targeted him. If he does not have safety help as a result of the running game of the Giants, he will then be on an island with the likes of wide receivers Victor Cruz, Ramses Barden and potentially Hakeem Nicks if he is healthy enough to play. And that spells trouble for the Eagles if that happens. Another guy the Giants have to pay attention to is tight end Martellus Bennett. The former underachieving Dallas Cowboy tight end has been excellent for the Giants and will cause matchup issues with the Eagles secondary. If the Eagles are able to stimy the Giants running the football, that will allow them to control the line of scrimmage and unleash pass rushers like defensive ends Justin Babin and Trent Cole.
The Eagles offense is at a cross roads early in their season. They want to put the ball up in the air a lot, but their offensive line is not up to that task. Eagles quarterback Michael Vick has routinely been blasted while trying to make some plays happen in the passing game. But it seems like the Eagles are happy with allowing him to get blasted while turning over the football at an alarming clip. Going into this game, the Eagles must change their philosophy. They are not a team that is built to throw the football 35-40 times a game and be successful. Running back LaSean “Shady” McCoy must be the key to the gameplan. The explosive running back has been severely undervalued this entire season despite the 2-1 record of the team. To give you an example of how underutilized he has been, Shady had only 13 carries last week and 16 total touches while Michael Vick was asked to drop back and throw the ball 37 times. If the Eagles use McCoy and get him 25+ touches, the more problems you cause Giants. The running game would slow down the Giants NASCAR pass rush, led by defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul. It would also suck more Giant defenders up towards the line of scrimmage, further crippling the biggest weakness of the Giants defense: their secondary. If players like wide receiver DeSean Jackson are able to get man-to-man coverage against the Giants secondary, then it could be serious trouble for Big Blue. If the run is not used by the Eagles this game, then do not expect Michael Vick to make it out of this game. He will not be able to survive the season taking these big hits every week.
As far as the how the game will go, the big key will be the running games of both teams. If the Giants are able to run against the Eagles, then the Eagles will be off-balance all game long. If the Eagles commit to the run, then the Giants will have problems. I believe that the urgency of the situation will call for the Eagles to commit to the run more and with Shady getting more touches, the Eagles will soar to a win.
Prediction: Philadelphia Eagles 27, New York Giants 23