If you are like me you are pretty much talked out when it comes to tonight's NFC East showdown between our New York Giants and the rival Philadelphia Eagles in Philly. Still, we haven't gone through the 'What To Watch' items for tonight's game, so let's do that.
We have already talked about a lot of these, but they are still interesting. Here they are.
1. The left side of the Giants offensive line: We know Shawn Andrews will get an ugly reception from the Eagles fans. Question is, will he play or won't he? Whether he does or not, the left side of the line bears watching. Center Rich Seubert, left guard Kevin Boothe and either Andrews or Will Beatty comprise a makeshift left side, and how they hold up will be a key factor.
2. Communication between Eli Manning and his receivers: We know the deal here. No Steve Smith. No Ramses Barden. Bear Pascoe is playing fullback and tight end Jake Ballard has been activated from the practice squad because Kevin Boss is battling a back injury. Manning will be throwing to an unfamiliar cast of characters that will, at times, include Ballard, Duke Calhoun and Derek Hagan. Mis-communications between quarterbacks and receivers lead to disasters, and the disaster potential is heightened with Eli throwing to unfamiliar targets.
3. The Giants defensive game plan: How will the Giants try to handle the high-flying Eagles offense? Will Perry Fewell put together a blitz-happy game plan, and if he does where will the blitz generally come from? Will the Giants rush four and play some conservative zone to try and combat the big play? Will Fewell come up with another of his 'exotic' game plans? How the Giants decide to play this one will be fascinating.
4. The Giants offensive game plan: We know the Giants can move the ball up and down the field -- the 480+ yards in each of the last three games tells us they are equipped to compete in a high-scoring game. It will be interesting to see, though, if Tom Coughlin and Kevin Gilbride go more to the run and the short pass in an effort to control the clock and keep Philly's offense off the field. Mario Manningham and Hakeem Nicks are big-play receivers, and no matter what the plan I think the Giants still have to take shots. Another fascinating thing to watch.
5. The special teams matchup: In all honesty, I will settle for a draw here. If the Giants can simply not get hurt on special teams then I think that will be a positive.