After three weeks of the 2012 NFL season, the New York Giants are 2-1 and will be playing Sunday Night Football against division rival Philadelphia Eagles for Week 4.
Eagles quarterback Michael Vick is entering his third season as the starter for the team, and the Giants have grown accustomed to what damage he can do on the field. Last year Vick dealt with injuries, but defensive end Justin Tuck still views Vick as a dangerous quarterback to not take for granted.
"I saw some plays in [the Arizona Cardinals] game where [Vick] still looked the same and he got out of the pocket and started running," said Tuck. "I think he's had some injuries on the O-Line and he's getting some clean shots at him and obviously that's going to take a toll on any player, not only him. I think he's still one of the most dangerous people on the football field."
Philadelphia had their struggles in 2011 after making some free agent splashes after the lockout, including picking up Pro Bowl cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha. The Eagles suffered their first loss of the season to the Arizona Cardinals Week 3 where wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald had a field day. Fitzgerald had 9 receptions for 114 yards and a touchdown in the Cardinals 27-6 win over the Eagles. Giants wide receiver Hakeem Nicks, however, still doesn't see Philadelphia as a walk in the park after Week 3.
"Arizona had a real good game, but Philly is a good team and they've got a good defense," said Nicks. "They've got two Pro Bowl corners. We've just to look forward to competing and those guys, they know us, we know them, we're rivals, so it's gonna be competitive."
The Giants are currently in a three way tie for first place in the NFC East with the Eagles and the Dallas Cowboys, all of which are 2-1. Dallas currently has the edge for defeating the Giants Week 1, so it makes this game very important to take advantage of and win. Giants' quarterback Eli Manning doesn't just view this game as important.
"They're all important. It doesn't matter what your record is, you really don't think about it in those terms," said Manning. "You think, 'Hey, we've got Philadelphia at Philadelphia.' And it's always a tough environment and they're a great team and we've got to have a great week of preparation, you go out there and know it's going to take four quarters and it's going to take great football to get a win."
Manning had to deal with some adjustments in his offensive line against the Carolina Panthers when David Diehl went down with an injury, but he said that he's never bothered by changes when the occur. "We trust all of our guys up front to do a great job and to make their blocks and so you have total confidence and my job is to worry about what the secondary is doing, what the blitz is, what checks to get into and then you just have to trust those guys to do their job," said Manning.
With the Giants having a very effective offense coming off the Carolina game, Tuck sees what great damage it can do against opposing defenses. He recognizes how Manning takes control of the game and gives the defense rest while moving the ball down the field taking time off the clock.
"It's been a lot of Eli, Victor [Cruz], and Hakeem ... so now when you take some of that pressure off Eli and getting in these manageable down and distances, that's going to be tough," said Tuck. "We were pretty rested the last game because they controlled the ball and moved it down the field and gave our defense a lot of rest so I think that's a huge advantage coming into the fourth quarter and still having your legs up under you and to be able to finish games on defense."
The Giants came off a huge win in Carolina with some of their key players missing and will look to take advantage o their extra rest going into Philadelphia. Being 0-1 in the division isn't the only reason why Tuck views this game as important either. Like Manning, they all are.
"Every game takes on an extra importance now. We've got a very tough division," said Tuck. "It seems like every team is gonna be right there and have a shot at it, so we've just got to do our part in trying to keep pace with these guys and I'm hoping that we can do that this week."
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