By Brandon Pemberton
On Twitter @BrandonOnSports
The Philadelphia Eagles are coming off of one of the more horrible loses in the Andy Reid era, when they lost to the Arizona Cardinals last week 21-17. The Eagles where unable to hold another fourth quarter lead, allowing 2nd year quarterback John Skelton to lead his team to 14 points, upsetting the Eagles at home. There was plenty of blame to go around, from the horrible play of Mike Vick, the horrible offensive game plan, and the defense inability to stop a nose bleed. With that being said, they face the Giants tonight in a revenge game being as though the Giants won the first contest 29-16 in Philadelphia.
The Birds will be without starting quarterback Micheal Vick(Broken Ribs) and number one wide receiver Jeremy Maclin(AC joint and hamstring), so the innovator of “The Dream Team” Vince Young will get the start tonight and we will most likely see Steve Smith or Jason Avant start in Maclin’s place. There were reports that came out earlier this week on Profootballtalk.com that Young still didn’t have a hold of the playbook. Look Reid couldn’t make thing real easy on his back up QB and the rest of the offense by giving Shady McCoy the damn ball 30 times and letting him take over the game. In the Eagles last two wins, he carried the ball 58 times for 311 yards and 3 TD’s. In the last two games, both losses, he’s carried the ball only 30 times for 152 yards.
Hopefully this week’s gameplan involves more runs and screen passes to McCoy, which would benefit Young and maybe allow some play action passes downfield to DeSean Jackson, who returns to the field after being deactivated last week for missing team meetings. But then again, this is Andy Reid we are dealing with, so I wouldn’t be surprised if McCoy didn’t get the amount of touches he should. Vince Young has won games in this league, he has ability, but he also played in a ball controlled offense in Tennessee as well. If Young can not turn the ball over, and McCoy gets his rocks off, the Eagles will have a shot at winning this game.
The Giants have been pretty good offensively over the last few weeks, even without starting running back Ahmad Bradshaw and a healthy Hakeem Nicks. Quarterback Eli Manning is playing the best football of his life and his trio of wide receivers, along with the surprising play of tight end Jake Ballard is one of the reasons why, along with his better decision making. The Giants even without Bradshaw, still pound the ball with Brandon Jacobs and love to throw the ball of off play action.
The Eagles have been a little better against the run lately, but the Giants always make a effort to run the ball and have balance in their offense. So whether they gash the Eagles or not, they will run the ball and attempt to wear their small front seven down over the course of the game. The Eagles front four likes to get after the passer, so a run game will help keep Eli Manning upright, allow him to feel comfortable and effective passing the ball.
The Eagles defense played pretty well for three quarters last week, the problem is there are fours quarters in a game. They allowed backup quarterback John Skelton to drive his team down the field for over 80 yards twice in the fourth quarter to win the game. This isn’t anything brand new, the defense has made a habit of giving up leads at home all season. In order to slow down this Giants offense tonight, the Eagles need to stop the run first and force the Giants into known passing situations where the Eagles front four can get after Manning. Everyone knows the more hits you get on Eli Manning, the bigger chance he throws one up for grabs during the course of the game. Also, they just need to be more physical and just make tackles tonight.
The Giants are a middle of the pack team defensively according to the numbers, but they are at their best when able to allow their vicious defensive line get after the opposing teams quarterback. If they can hold Shady McCoy in check( 24 carries for 128 yards in the 1st meeting) and force Vince Young to beat them, they will be in a good spot. The Giants won’t have Vick or Jeremy Maclin to deal with, but they also must be weary of Young’s ability to keep plays alive with his feet and not allow DeSean Jackson to get loose deep for big plays. The Giants are far from a great defensive team, but they might be helped if Andy Reid doesn’t feature McCoy tonight.
My Prediction: The Giants come into this game a 6 point favorite(as of 3:30 pm EST), the line started out at 5. It would be easy for me to say that the Giants win and win big, but I have a feeling this game is going to be closer then expected. I like the Eagles to win a close game 24-21 in upset fashion. Big night from McCoy and a breakout game from DeSean Jackson wins the game late for the Eagles.
Eagles 24 Giants 21