By Brandon Pemberton
catch me on twitter @Bashir28
Tomorrow at 1pm, the Philadelphia Eagles will face their hated NFC East rival New York Giants in the home opener at Lincoln Financial Field in South Philly. Micheal Vick is coming off of a concussion in the team’s loss to the Falcons the prior week and as of Thursday all reports say he has passed all tests and will start for the Eagles tomorrow afternoon. The Giants are coming off of a 28-16 win at home over the St. Louis Rams, but they are a depleted squad. Wide Receiver Mario Manningham has been ruled out of the game with a concussion, Domenik Hixon tore his right ACL for a second consecutive season and is out for the year and defensive end Osi Umenyiora is not expected to play as well. But as we know, when these two teams get together its going to be some good old fashioned, NFC East physical football.
The Eagles offense is playing pretty damn well, they scored 31 points last week and in my eyes that’s more then enough for the team to win. Like I said earlier Vick is returning a week removed from a concussion and the Birds need to do a good job protecting the QB. Jason Peter played a hell of a game last week, the best I have seen him play since becoming a Eagle and he will have his hands full going against Giants defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul. New York’s defensive line is clearly the strength of the defensive unit and the key to winning the game for the Eagles will be keeping them off of Vick. If Vick has time, he along with receivers DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin will exposed the depleted secondary of the Giants. I would also like to see a heavy dose of running back LeSean McCoy in the run game and catching the ball out of the backfield.
The Giants are a team who likes to establish the run game first and then use play action pass for big plays down the field. They have one of the better running back duos in all of football, with Ahmad Bradshaw and Brandon Jacobs. Most likely they will depend heavily on these two as we all know the Eagles are weak against the run. Last week the Falcons were able to abuse the Eagles linebackers in the run and pass game, so look for the Giants to call some plays to get them one on one in space. Hakeem Nicks is obviously quarterback Eli Manning’s go to guy, but the loss of Hixon for the season and Manningham for this game is going to be a problem for the Giants. If they can’t run the ball tomorrow and are forced to throw the ball frequently, they will have a hard time winning this game.
The Eagles gave up 35 points last week to the Atlanta Falcons and majority of the damage done was in the run game and in the middle of the field against the tight end and safeties. The Eagles corners are playing as advertised so far, and I don’t expect their play to tail off this week. The Eagles made moved Jamar Chaney back to his natural position of middle linebacker and placed Casey Matthews at they weakside backer. This had to be done as Matthews was having a hard time getting off of blocks, reading and making plays. I thought from the minute he was drafted that he would be a better fit at the “Will” spot, but I also think he lacks the speed to be affective there. We will see how it plays out. The Defensive line was straight filthy last week, led by the play of defensive ends Trent Cole and Jason Babin. I know this is getting repetitive, but if the Eagles can stop the run and force the Giants into 2nd and 3rd and longs, they will win this game easily.
The Giants defensive line is one of the best units in all of football and they allow the Giants to leave seven in coverage at times because of their ability to pressure the QB. But the Giants also came up with some blitz packages last season against the Eagles and Mike Vick that were very productive. They often blitzed corners or safeties and it worked for the most part because they were fast enough to tackle Vick when he tried to escape the pressure. But this season the Giants defensive backfield is short handed after losing their starting corners to injuries. If they can make things uncomfortable for Vick in the pocket and possibly knock him out of the game, they will give their team a shot at beating the Eagles on the road. Also they linebacker will have to play well in coverage against the Eagles LeSean McCoy out of the backfield.
The Eagles are a 8 1/2 point favorite in this game, Vick is ready to play and as long as he plays the whole game and takes care of the ball, it’s no way the Eagles lose this game. The Birds must keep Vick protected though, playing a week after a concussion is dangerous regardless of if he passed all of the required tests during the week. But I believe the Eagles get up early and force the Giants to pass the ball and the Eagles tee off on Eli Manning’s ass for the duration of the game.
Eagles 28 Giants 17