Here are my thoughts on Five Things To Watch Sunday when the New York Giants try to snap their six-game losing streak against the Philadelphia Eagles. Kickoff, in case you don't already have it burned into your brain, is 1 p.m. ET.
Giants Secondary vs. Eagles Receivers -- This is the obvious place to begin. How does a depleted Giants secondary that got torched by Rex Grossman and Sam Bradford handle Michael Vick and the plethora of receivers Philadelphia will be sending down the field?
We have talked a lot this week about Aaron Ross, but this game won't be all about Ross. Containing this high-powered aerial attack will have to be a team effort. The assignment errors and confusion that have plagued the Giants on some plays thus far have got to disappear Sunday. When the Giants blitz Vick the rush has to get there, and the secondary has to maintain its discipline and not let guys run free.
A group with DeSean Jackson, Jeremy Maclin, Steve Smith, Jason Avant, Brent Celek and LeSean McCoy to throw to presents a formidable challenge. The Giants simply have to find a way to keep these guys in front of them, then make tackles when the ball gets caught.
- Can the Giants Control the Clock? -- That is short-hand for two things the Giants have struggled with in their first two games. Can they run the football successfully? Can they convert some third downs? The Giants are averaging only 3.3 yards per running play, and have converted just six-of-25 third downs (24 percent). Not good enough. Those numbers are, of course, intertwined and the Giants must do a better job if they are going to a) keep the Philly offense off the field and b) score enough points to have a chance to win the game.
- Giants Punt Coverage vs. DeSean Jackson -- Obviously, Giants fans remember what happened the last time Jackson fielded a punt against New York. That, largely, is why veteran Steve Weatherford is the Giants punter this season and Matt Dodge is not. The Giants will be relying on Weatherford to either kick the ball out of bounds or pin Jackson to the sidelines and not give him any angles. Oh, and it would be nice if the Giants can stay in their lanes and make tackles.
- The Giants' Passing Attack -- More aptly, this should be titled 'Who Will The Giants Throw To?' With Domenik Hixon gone and Mario Manningham likely out, the Giants are missing two of their top three receivers. Victor Cruz will have to step up, and Brandon Stokley will hopefully have digested enough of the offense to make a couple of plays. Offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride said during the week that Travis Beckum could provide a lift, if he is healthy enough to get on the field for the first time this season.
- Will Beatty vs. Trent Cole -- Beatty has done a nice job in his first two games as the full-time starter at left tackle. He will have his hands full Sunday with Trent Cole, Philadelphia's best lineman and one of the best pass-rushing defensive ends in the league. The Giants had better plan on giving Beatty help with a back or second tight end, but the primary responsibility for keeping Cole off Eli Manning's back falls to Beatty.