Well, we have been down the New York Giants vs. Philadelphia Eagles road often enough that nothing I have to write here should come as a surprise. But, let's go through 'What To Watch' on Sunday, anyway.
1. Michael Vick -- Can the Giants keep him in the pocket as effectively as they did in the first game, holding him to a quarterback rating of 83? Will all the Eagles' whining this week about the referees' treatment of Vick get them a call at a critical time?
2. David Diehl vs. Trent Cole -- The Eagles have plenty of injuries on defense, but they still have Cole, who has nine sacks this season. Diehl and whatever army of helpers the Giants decide to send Cole's way need to be able to contain him. If they can, what is left of the Eagles' front seven is hardly scary.
3. Eli Manning vs. ... himself -- Eli is an elite quarterback ... except when he isn't. The guy can do everything an elite quarterback needs to do. He can make every throw, he can read defenses, organize protection schemes and get his team into good plays based on the defense presented, he can win in the fourth quarter. He has tremendous durability. Those brain cramps, though. How does a guy as talented and savvy as Manning make some of the mistakes he makes? I love him and support him, but I don't understand him. Every quarterback throws the ball off-target now and again or has a ball tipped for an interception -- it happens and you live with it. The Giants can't survive Sunday, or the rest of the season for that matter, unless 'Good Eli' conquers his evil twin and plays mistake-free football.
4. Big-play prevention -- The Giants defense and special teams have to prevent the big play. No 91-yard TDs followed by 'Nestea Plunge's' for DeSean Jackson, please. Or, 50-yard runs by LeSean McCoy. Or, long punt or kickoff returns. Make the Eagles work for any score they get.
5. The crowd -- If you're going to the game, ROCK THE HOUSE! Please!!! Let's not have this sit on our hands and wait for something bad to happen nonsense, or for Tom Coughlin and rest of the Giants on the sideline to start waving their arms and begging you to get into the game. Get up off your duff, exercise your vocal chords and show the Eagles that New Meadowlands Stadium is the Giants house.
- Fantasy Football Focus
- When The Giants Have The Ball
- When The Eagles Have The Ball
- Shaun O'Hara Expects To Play
There is one scenario under which the Giants can make the playoffs this weekend. This came directly from the NFL media department, so don't start telling me I am imagining things. Here is the scenario:
-- Giants win + Chicago loss + Green Bay loss + TBampa Bay loss + NYG clinch strength of victory tiebreaker over TB
Not a likely scenario, but possible.