OK gang, time to our full attention to those pesky varmints from Philly, the Eagles. With that in mind, I traded some info with Jason over at our Eagles blog, 'Bleeding Green Nation,' and we have our regular '5 Questions' feature.
Here we go.
Big Blue View: Judging from the numbers, it looks like both Brian Westbrook and Donovan McNabb are completely healthy. We know how much of a difference that makes with the Eagles when that is the case. Are they both healthy?
Bleeding Green Nation: It looks that way. McNabb is definitely 100%. Westbrook has had ankle and rib injuries this year that have caused him to miss games, but since the bye he looks like he's getting healthier and healthier. I believe he put up a career high rushing yards just two weeks ago.
BBV: Obviously, a key to being successful against the Giants is handling the pressure the Giants bring. Do you think the Eagles will be able to do that?
BGN: The Eagles have done a nice job protecting McNabb so far this year, there's only 6 or 7 starting QBs that have been sacked less than him. The offensive line is pretty healthy, the only loss being pro bowler Shawn Andrews... that said, Andrews has missed most all of this year so they're used to being with out him. It's pretty difficult to make any predictions about how they'll handle the Giants because their pass rush is clearly superior to our recent competition, but McNabb was only sacked 3 times when the Eagles faced the NFL sack leading Steelers. So that could be reason for optimism.
BBV: Even though they are defending Super Bowl champs, the Giants did not get that much respect when the season started. Now, everyone is jumping on the bandwagon. Are you surprised at the start they are off to?
BGN: Honestly, I think the only reason the Giants didn't get a lot of talk at the start of the season was because of the national media's love affair with the Cowboys. But I'm not that shocked at the Giants great start, if they were going to dominate either half of their schedule it was going to be the first half. I really don't want to sound like I'm downplaying the start in any way because you play who is on your schedule... but I think the way the Giants play the tough second half of their schedule will tell us more about them than the first half did. You guys certainly started that tough portion off well with two great wins over the Steelers and Cowboys.
BBV: Is there an area you think the Eagles can exploit Sunday night? Or, where you think the Eagles have a clear advantage?
BGN: I actually don't think there's an area where the Eagles have a clear advantage... but I'm very excited to see the strength vs strength matchup that is the Eagles run defense vs the Giants running game. Clearly the Giants offense starts with the run game, which is the most efficient in football right now. The Eagles run defense has been great for most of the year, allowing just two 100 yard rushers and shutting down a lot of high profile backs. I really think the whole games comes down to this matchup. If we shut down or severely limit your run game I think we'll win this game. If the opposite happens... I think us Eagles fans are in for a long day at the Linc.
BBV: Props to the Phillies for winning the World Series. Does that add pressure on the Eagles to match the accomplishment, or take a little heat off?
BGN: That's a really good question and I'm not totally sure of the answer. I have no doubt that the Eagles organization probably sees it as putting more pressure on them, but I'm not sure about the fans. There's no doubt that right now the mood of the Philly sports fan is very good. We just had the parade, we've got Phillies phever, and it would take quite a bit to ruin that... but the fact is that the Phils are done for now and the Eagles have center stage back. The fans certainly aren't going to give them a free pass if they falter in the second half of this season. Still, if they were to falter it would hurt a bit less this year.
Final thoughts: My Q&A sessions with Jason are some of my favorites each season. I may not like his politics, but I do like his style. Be sure to stop by Bleeding Green to see my answers to Jason's questions. And, as always, behave yourselves over there.