Hi BBVers, SP here with my analysis of the upcoming game against the Eagles.
I watched every Eagles game up until now, including "Coaches' Film" on NFL Game Pass.
Lemme tell ya, it was hard watching three Eagles games...
Anyway, here's what I saw.
A FERRARI MADE OF RICE PAPER
- Running Backs: LeSean McCoy is what makes the offense click. He is on all three downs either running, coming out of the flat, or on play-action pass. He tries to pass block occasionally. Andy Reid is right for calling plays that get him in open space; because if you sneeze on him he will go down.
- WRs: We know about them. Big-play makers. However they will never go over the middle, because like McCoy if you just look at them funny they go down. Thus they are mostly used on medium-to-long routes exclusively. Anyone who has to cover them will need both speed and stamina to keep up with them or they will burn you. Separation through speed is how they get open.
- TE: Brent Celek, the leading receiver. Based on what I saw this is because the WRs were not getting separation and Vick found him underneath constantly. The big catches from him that I saw were mostly when he was split out as a WR in a close "bunch" formation.
- OL: Weakness of the offense. The Cardinals knew exactly where to hit them and it is the inside of their line. Do the stats but I bet sushi that most of Vick's sacks were from pressure up the middle. It seemed that throughout the Browns and Cardinals games they brought pressure with stunts or blitzes. They also cannot block ahead; this is why almost all of McCoy's running plays are to one side or the other. This is why McCoy cuts back a lot as well - watch out for that! The tackles are not that great either IMO.
- QB: ASPCA Gold Card member Michael Vick is still good. Don't believe the hype about being yanked. Not gonna happen. Why is he being crushed 56 times a game? See down below.
IN YOUR GRILL
Defensive line: If we did not have the Kraken I would say the Eagles' DL is as good or better than ours. Watching those games, all four linemen got quick penetration on what seemed was every down. However the weakness to be exploited here is that they do that even on running downs, not playing gaps. The DEs MUST be accounted for! If I remember right last year they both had 10+ sacks each. Weakness: Both tend to go upfield a lot rather than bull rush - but this can be exploited (think Osi).
Linebackers: DeMeco Ryans is a beast. Does everything. Avoid him or get somebody to put a hat on him because he is going to be near the ball, count on it. He (as well as everyone except the safeties) plays close to the line; but he can do that because he has the speed to drop back if needed. As do the other LBs, but to a lesser extent. They have to be beaten mentally, get them out of position before the ball is snapped.
Secondary: I saw some bashing of them here, but they are better than you think. Both corners stick on receivers like pink on a ballet dress - throw on them if you must. As for the safeties, the corners are so good I barely saw them on screen. I guess they get a "Kwillie."
Eagles' Special Teams:
Both the punter and kicker are very good. That is all you need to know. Do not expect shanked punts or bumps off of goalposts. Not gonna happen.
INTERMISSION: BIG BLUE WRECKING CREW...
... IS NOT WRECKING ANYMORE
These are not the Giants of old. We are more likely to win on a long pass than a sack or interception. Don't believe me? Right now name every starter on both offense and defense without looking on this site or Google. I bet you name more offensive starters than defensive (unless you count Osi as our 3rd starting DE). Two rings says "So what?" but I digress.
BACK TO THE SHOW
FIRING ON ALL CYLINDERS (but which ones?)
RBs: Looking good with AB1 and AB2 with David Wilson in the wings. Question mark is how many snaps for each on which down&distance (can they get into a rhythm?) and AB1's health and yes, fumblitis.
WRs: When healthy are probably the best group in the league. Nicks needs to play this game because they will put a safety over VC all day and dare us to beat them with anyone else. Ramses Barden needs to cement his role as 3rd reciever by getting release off the line of scrimmage and using his long body to haul in 3rd down catches that whoever is covering him has no possibility to get. Go past them and we get mostly young speedsters for post routes.
OL: The OL had a field day against Carolina, but that's Carolina. Who are they scaring? Give me a second straight performance with the same people in the same positions and you get a hat tip. Having arguably the best OL coach in the NFL does help though... Beatty needs to cement his spot at LT with another good performance. He has the footwork to be an excellent LT, if he can stay healthy and increase his strength vs. power rushers or stunts.
With the exception of the QB, interior linemen, and VC, players have been in and out more or less every game. We have been lucky with offensive coaches who do what they can with what they have and make it work.
QB: Nothing to be said here. Out of the QBs playing in this league at this moment, we have the best quarterback in the league. Hands down. Period. Two rings and the most clutch 4th quarter performer since John Elway says your argument is invalid.
RETURN TO SPAGS
DL: What is supposed to make the Giants tick (Tuck?). However it has been obvious so far this year that our Front Four are not the Four Horsemen of years past. JPP is Eli of the defense. We are riding him, and without him we might be a mediocre defense. Unless Tuck shows me something different, he is past his prime. With JPP and the DTs playing well, even a corpse could at least get a pressure. Osi is proving himself quite useless on anything but a crucial 3rd down play when we are in the lead. DTs playing better than expected, clogging up blockers very well so even Chase Blackburn, whom I could probably beat in the 40yd, can make tackles near the LOS.
LB: Outside of Boley (who I think is just a tall safety) making plays, I have no idea what to make of this bunch. Chase is proving himself serviceable in run downs but is a liability in the pass. I think this is why Fewell went with three safeties previously. The other LBs have proved fast but not experienced (excluding Kiwi). Much like the DL, one star, then the supporting cast.
Assessing the front seven, I believe the lack of playmaking has led him to be more aggressive with the blitz. We no longer have the luxury of dropping seven and still getting the sack anymore.
DBs: We have excellent safeties. Rolle is a leader and seems to always be in the right place at the right time, and KP has become an attack dog against just about anything. These two HAVE to be good to cover up the mishmash that is our cornerbacks. Our corners are like Baskin Robbins, a different flavor every week, due to injuries.
Giants' special teams:
Both the punter and kicker are very good. That is all you need to know. Do not expect shanked punts or bumps off of goalposts. Not gonna happen.
- WHEN THE EAGLES HAVE THE BALL
The Eagles, knowing their weaknesses, almost never call a running play up the middle (except for draws in a passing formation), and for good reason. The Eagles' running back has to dance like a ballerina and get yards to the left or right, and if that is not working, off the cutback. The Eagles' ideal game plan is to establish positive running which plays into playaction passes where they can free up receivers going long, or screens. Last game, the OL showed they could not even get going left or right at times so McCoy had no choice to cut back (sometimes into a linebacker).
Passing the ball is a bit different. The Eagles must not have many plays because I could tell what they were going to call when watching the Coaches' Film. The WRs seem to run posts or long fades on almost every play! This plays to their strengths: get separation downfield through speed. Problem: this means you need time to let the play develop almost every time. So, if the coverage is good (as has been recently), your waits turn long and you get sacked. The center of the Eagles' offensive line has been an utter sieve (think Strahan vs. Winston Justice), and Vick has been seeing defenders in his face almost just after he takes the snap. You can see this in any game this year, but particularly in the Cardinals game. Consistent pressure up the middle, mostly by blitzing, cut off running room in front of him, and cut the time necessary to throw long bombs. Thus, SACKS.
- WHAT THE GIANTS' D NEEDS TO DO
Easy, right? Get pressure up the middle every down! Well, the way our tackles have been playing, creative playcalling utilizing multiple DL formations (Four Aces?) and in-your-face blitzing will certainly do that. I believe Fewell will do just that.
However with our turnstile at CB I do not foresee our secondary doing what it needs to do which is bump 'n run effectively for four quarters. The Eagles' two wins were against defenses that mainly played zone. You're just asking to be burned if you do that. Arizona was smart. Put a jersey or two within the path of the WRs, make Vick hesitate until the pressure up the middle gets him. I very much worry that we are going to get burned for long TDs at least once this game. Fewell is going to have to disguise heavily and count on the corners to hold because with McCoy in play-action and on screens and Celek in the game the safeties will not be able to wipe their behinds like in the Carolina game.
However the one thing the Giants must do is shut down McCoy. Without him they cannot run effectively (?) behind that line nor catch passes in the flat. Neither do bootlegs work well without McCoy in front of Vick for the dump-off.
Shut him down and the Eagles have no choice but to step into a hornet's nest of trying long pass plays and getting sacked. Assuming Andy Reid keeps on calling long passes (which I saw about 90% of pass plays).
- WHEN THE GIANTS HAVE THE BALL
I think we all know the routine: hope Eli makes the impossible possible. Folks, you can only do that for so long (see Eli's big brother). The offense must make a statement game showing just what they are beyond a good 4th quarter team and force its will in order to either get a big lead quickly or keep our D off the field for a breather.
Statement Game for the Offensive Line or "BE WATER MY FRIEND:" the Eagles DL is incredibly agile and makes their money avoiding hand contact as much as possible so they can keep running. Their directional movement is incredible, all four guys! The OL MUST get a hat on these guys quickly or they will be woefully out of position real quick, which does not bode well for Eli nor the running backs.
Trent Cole is more of an Osi-type - speed rush. If Beatty is smart, he goes with his flow and sticks to him like glue in case he changes direction or simply help him take himself out of the play.
Sean Locklear probably has the toughest challenge with Babin. He can speed-rush and also bull-rush. So, he must put a hat on him, but QUICKLY. He absolutely cannot drop back and wait for him to make a move. Locklear will be toast. He will need to engage Babin FIRST. I have enough confidence in our center three to handle the middle, especially with Baas playing well. Question is how will they handle the inside blitz? The OL will need to be Bruce Lee and flow with the Eagles' defense to make it turn itself into a disadvantage.
Running is going to be a challenge because of the excellent lateral movement of the Eagles' DL which allows them to penetrate into the backfield. In addition Ryans is waiting behind them... If I was Gilbride I would use AB1 to the sides and AB2 up the middle. However this is a risky proposition unless Hynoceros can not only find, but also lay the wood on Ryans. He is going to have to have a career game to neutralize the Eagles' LBs - but if he does he will be the game changer that you never heard of because the Eagles will be forced to commit another body to the run (assuming the the AB brothers can get consistent yardage) and opening up passing lanes for our WRs to devour.
Caveat: Because of the Eagles' flying-to-the-ball defense, I expect AB1 to get hit quicker than he expects. AB1, the trooper he is, will keep fighting for more yardage while in the grasp, which is where he fumbles the most. I would not be surprised if, coming from a week off, he fumbles at least once.
Passing will be harder than you think because both corners play VERY good man-to-man and the Eagles are not afraid to leave them on islands. I expect the Eagles to do this and gamble that VC won't beat them. They will more than likely do what Dallas/San Fran used to do when they had Deion: put the No.1 CB on Nicks (if he plays) and put a safety over VC. This frees up a safety to watch over the middle to tandem with an LB vs. MBennett or with the nickel CB. However, with the group of guys we have and the best quarterback in the league, I am confident Eli will find the holes and put the ball where it needs to be downfield. In addition this could be the Tall Guys breakout game.
The Pharaoh, if he has learned to use the huge leverage he has, can blow past the third CB or even LB easily and grab the up high passes Eli usually throws, or Eli can lead him as far as he wants laterally with those long arms, where the defender cannot reach - it's as if the defender is out of position all the time. Just don't lead him into an oncoming safety.
MBennett also has a chance to be a beast for the Giants on running downs if he is quick to the block because his size can dominate the smaller Eagles LBs. That might be another behind-the-scenes game-changer beyond Hyno. In addition if he is able to get even an inch of separation, Eli can just hang it high on the 6' 7" 280-lb behemoth for him to catch. I don't care who they are playing at satefy, if the Eagles safeties try to bring him down through a big hit, they are going to end up doing the same thing LaRon Landry tried against BJake... Google it.
THE OUTCOME: BACK TO THE FUTURE
If I was the Giants, I would try to get a quick score, then while maintaining a lead run, run, and run some more, letting the OL clamp down and wear down their DL while JPP is sipping Starbucks on the sidelines. Going back to old Giants football, smashmouth style (okay, without the quick score). Eli will be able to sniff out who is committed, audible into a pass, and make them pay all day. To make things even worse for the Eagles, if the run is established, this will open up play-action pass where even then Eli could audible out of it to a run or audible into a long pass. Ouch. With the great running by AB2 last week, I wouldn't be surprised if they try this. The stars of the offense need to be the Tall Guys and Hynoceros, who will draw attention away from our Pro Bowlers.
Our offense will be the best the Eagles' D has seen so far this season, thus I expect us to put at least 20 points on the board. The Giants have been averaging much more, but I believe we will play time-of-posession football, which does not normally lead to a lot of scoring. However I do expect the Giants to make at least two turnovers (probably one INT and one FUM).
Defensively this will be a make-or-break game for Tuck IMO as he hasn't done much of anything so far. Maybe he needs a week off? Mentos?
At any rate, he is going to have to step it up because our DL will make or break our defense (as usual). Anvil and Rocky/3rd DT need to capitalize on the paper dolls of the Eagles' interior OL. JPP and Tuck need to bring it on pass downs with the quickness without getting blown out of the play (automatic run lane for Vick) along with the DTs. Do so and the pocket breaks down quickly, forcing a sack, fumble, or ill-timed INT. Hitting Michael Vick can only result in good things. Yes, I am going to say it, I think the DTs will have as much or more sacks than the DEs this game.
Boley's speed is needed to cover, so I do not see him blitzing. It will have to be Chase and whoever is playing the third linebacker this week.
Fewell might be tempted to go with a nickel package as the base, and that might serve him well if he can find a good 3rd safety to put up at the line. Perhaps make an old "46" defense-like alignment, just with the extra safety? This might make sense because you do not need big guys to play the Eagles. You need fast ones.
Whatever happens, I expect Fewell to disguise the defense on every play to try and confuse Vick, in particular on the blitz. I am confident Boley can handle Celek. The other LBs can blitz or spy McCoy.
Problem is if our "what-flavor-is-it-today" corners give up big plays? Fewell might be tempted to lay off the blitz in favor of another CB. I expect either DeSean Jackson or Jeremy Maclin to grab at least one long touchdown pass. LeSean McCoy will score on an underneath route.
The Eagles, however are the team they still were last week and they will give up a ton of sacks and turnovers. If we get the lead early it is going to be a long long day for Vick. He might not last the game.
I expect about 4-5 sacks, at least one fumble and possibly an INT.
Because of the Eagles' killed drives (no pun intended) from the incessant pressure and sacks, Eli and the O have the chance to move as they will as the OL works together intact for the second straight game, and will be hyped-up against our arch-enemy.
This game can go either way, and I would not be surprised if the Eagles won.
However I am biased and expect that we will win the turnover battle and eat time of possession like pit bull so that Vick is forced to drop back into a pit of bamboo spears. Then our DL pins their ears back and creates a nightmare for the Eagles in Week 4. The O brings it, creating at least one rushing touchdown and one passing, along with a defensive turnover-based score (safety, pick six).
The Giants study up on Jeet Kune Do and go Back to the Future for a 24-17 victory.
Sorry for writing War&Peace Book 2, but if you have made it this long thank you because you found what I have wrote of some value.
By none other than
SP- the No.1 Giants Fan. In Japan.
It's past 1AM here in sushiland to I gotta clock out, but have at it guys!