After a terrible loss in the desert to the Arizona Cardinals, the Philadelphia Eagles will face the New York Giants in a big NFC East battle at Lincoln Financial Field on Sunday night (8:30 p.m. on NBC 10). The Eagles (2-1) were defeated 27-6 by the Cardinals in a contest where the team was beaten on both sides of the football.
The defending Super Bowl champions Giants (2-1) are coming off a 36-7 victory over the Carolina Panthers on Thursday so the Giants should be well rested. Defensively, the Eagles will be tested in this contest.
Giants quarterback Eli Manning had a terrific game in the win over the Panthers. Manning completed 27 of 35 passes for 288 yards with one touchdown and no interceptions. But what’s more impressive about the win is the Giants played without wide receiver Hakeem Nicks and running back Ahmad Bradshaw. Despite the lack of talent, they were still able to dominate.
Manning has completed 79 of 118 passes for 1,011 yards with five TDs and three interceptions. His big target is wide receiver Victor Cruz who leads the team with 23 receptions for 279 yards and one TD. Andre Brown is the Giants’ top rusher with 33 carries for 184 yards and three TDs.
The Eagles will have to get a strong pass rush from their front four. Defensive ends Jason Babin and Trent Cole have been the team’s best pass rushers. Babin leads the team with 2.5 sacks. Cole has 1.5 sacks. Both players have also played well against the run. Babin has nine solo tackles while Cole has four solo hits.
If they can get to Manning early, that could make a difference. Although the Giants can run the football, the Eagles have played extremely well against the run. The linebackers have been outstanding. Middle linebacker DeMeco Ryans leads the team with 18 solo tackles. Ryans has been a real good leader. Rookie linebacker Mychal Kendricks has been sensational posting 12 solo tackles.
In the secondary, the Eagles have had problems guarding some of the league’s big time receivers. Larry Fitzgerald, Cardinals wide receiver, had a great performance in the Cardinals victory. Fitzgerald had nine receptions for 114 yards and one TD catch. Cruz has ability to get deep against most with his speed. He should pose a big challenge for either Eagles cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie or Nnamdi Asomugha. Both players will need some help from safety Kurt Coleman with the long passes. Coleman has played some great football. He has 17 solo tackles and three interceptions.
Offensively, the Eagles have to find a way to protect quarterback Michael Vick who has been sacked nine times this season. In addition, that doesn’t count all the hits he has taken when he releases the ball.
Vick completed just 17 of 37 passes for 217 yard with no touchdowns and interceptions. He also had two turnovers (two fumbles). Vick has completed 69 of 125 passes for 905 yards with two TD passes and six interceptions this season. He has 21 carries for 94 yards and one rushing TD.
The Eagles should use running back LeSean McCoy more to open up the offense and take some pressure off Vick. McCoy is averaging 4.5 yards a carry. He had 13 carries for 70 yards.
Overall, the Eagles have to keep the turnovers down. They have 12 turnovers on the season.
In spite of that, this should be an interesting matchup between the Eagles and Giants. They split with the Giants last year. In fact, the Eagles defeated the Giants, 17-10 at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J., with then backup quarterback Vince Young as the starter. Overall, the Eagles have defeated the Giants seven out of the last nine times since 2008. Both teams have played some memorable games including the contest in 2010 when DeSean Jackson returned a punt 65 yards for a TD in the closing seconds to give the Eagles a 38-31 win.