Sunday, November 9, 2008

Gameday Thoughts

A few players missed practice in the middle of the week, but it sounds like everyone will be fine for the game. The only key piece missing is still OG Shawn Andrews. This is a good injury situation for a key November game.

Everything is set up for the Eagles to come away with a big win. They're at home. The Giants have won 3 straight regular season games at The Linc, but this team is more talented and balanced than the last few years. Last year being at home wasn't a good thing at all (3-5), but this season we're 3-1 at The Linc. The Eagles have outscored opponents 97-46 at home this year. The Eagles are as healthy as you can be midseason. And everyone is playing relatively well. No player is in the middle of a major slump.

The Giants are coming off a big win against a division rival. If the Gmen were ever going to be complacent (even a bit), this would be the time. Eli isn't as good on the road is he is at home. He also hasn't produced a big game this year against a good defense. He played pretty well against the Steelers, but throwing for 199 yards and 1 TD isn't exactly a big game. The Giants are also going to be missing a few guys. CB Kevin Dockery, LB Gerris Wilkinson, and S James Butler are supposed to miss the game. Butler has played well this year. Rookie Kenny Phillips will take his place. Kenny has more raw talent, but Butler is experienced and is having a good year.

I think the real key to the game will be the Eagles ability to throw the ball down the field. They must come up with some big plays. Expect a mixture of spread sets and max protection. DeSean Jackson and Kevin Curtis must come up big in this game. The Giants don't have the fastest secondary and you have to punish them for that. Easier said than done, of course. Getting a guy open and getting good protection on the same play isn't all that easy. When that happens, McNabb must get the ball to his receivers.

The Eagles D must get pressure on Eli. He will force throws at times and has been known to fumble on occasion. Hit him and you have a chance to come up with turnovers. Let them run and give Eli time to throw and the Giants will methodically control the game.

No matter what happens, don't expect a blowout. Eagles-Giants games normally come down to the 4th Qtr, quite a few times to the final possession. I still have nightmares about the 2001 game where the Eagles were trying to clinch the NFC East title. The Giants trailed by 3 with a couple of seconds left and 70+ yards to go. They thew a pass over the middle and the receiver flipped the ball to a player coming across from the other direction. He took the ball down the sideline until we caught him inside the 10 yard line. My heart was in my throat. We won, but that was the longest few seconds in my life. I'm sure Giants fans feel the same about Westy's punt return in 2003, although that also came out in our favor.

Don't expect a pretty game, but you will see a physical, competitive affair that will bring out the best and worst in each team. The Giants have been the better team to this point in the season, but the Eagles have a great chance to win this game.

No comments: