Jason from 'Bleeding Green Nation' and I have been continuing our conversations regarding this weekend's New York Giants-Philadelphia Eagles playoff game.
Remember to stop by 'Bleeding Green' and see how the Eagles' fans are reacting to our little chats.
Anyway, follow the jump for the result of our second conversation. This one was started by yours truly.
Big Blue View: Everywhere I look this week I see stories about how the Eagles are hot, that they are following the Giants' script from last season. I have some thoughts on that, but I'd love to hear yours first.
Bleeding Green Nation: I think in some ways the Eagles current run mimics the Giants last year and others it doesn't. For one, the Giants' situation at the end of last year was never as desperate as ours was. The Eagles were .500 around midseason this year and rarely looked like they'd be in the postseason. As I remember things never got that desperate for you guys last year. By week 17 last year you'd clinched a playoff spot. We were praying for miracles to happen in week 17 this year ...
I think when people refer to the Giants "getting hot" they're talking about the postseason. For now, when people talk about the Eagles getting hot I think they're referring to the past month. Now if we go on the road and beat the NFC East champs in the divisional round of the playoffs ... then I think the Giants comparisons will start to get stronger.
Now, the one area where I think legit comparisons can be made between the run that Giants team went on and this Eagles team is that they're both doing it with defense. Not to take anything away from Manning and co, but the Giants got to the superbow because they had a hot defense that got after the QB and created turnovers. That's the Eagles defense is doing right now and that's what has fueled their run to the postseason.
Big Blue View: Interesting. I would have said that the thing that changed for the Eagles -- probably starting with the second Giants game -- is that they started remembering that they had a guy named Brian Westbrook and actually started consistently handing him the ball. Would you agree with that?
Bleeding Green Nation: I would agree with that, but I think it had as much to do with his health as much as anything. He spent a good part of the first of this season beat up. Missing games, playing hurt... It seems like down the stretch he's gotten much healthier and the focus of the offense has been on him. That said, I would agree that there's been a greater emphasis on running the ball for the most part.
I thought it was very interesting that despite having very little success running the ball against the Vikings, the Eagles uncharacteristically stuck with it. I would imagine they'll do the same this week, especially given how well they ran the ball against you guys last time. Speaking of that... what do you put the Eagles rushing success in game 2 on?
Big Blue View: Short answer to that is Antonio Pierce. Simply, he has not played well since the whole Plaxico Burress thing. The Giants have been burned for long runs in each of their last four games, and Pierce has been out of position on several of those. Also, both Barry Cofield and Fred Robbins have been dinged up. The Giants have gotten pushed around a bit right up the gut of the defense toward the end of the season, and to be honest it's a huge concern.
Bleeding Green Nation: I noticed you wrote this week that you think the key to beating the Eagles is simple. Stop Westbrook. Is that possible with Pierce playing poorly and your interior lineman beat up?
Big Blue View: Is it ever really possible to stop Westbrook? I think, honestly, that only injuries and Andy Reid can keep Westbrook bottled up forever.
I have mentioned a couple of times how important I thought the bye was for the Giants. I think their defensive line will be as healthy and as rested as they have been in a long time, and I expect that group to play well.
As for Pierce, I don't know what to expect. Against Minnesota he played well, expect for one play where he was hopelessly out of position and Adrian Peterson went for about a 70-yard touchdown run.
He's not dominating physically, so he needs to be in the right place. Also he has seemed slow in pass coverage. I'm hoping the Giants get him out of the game in obvious passing situations, or assign a safety to Westbook.