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Dan Benton: Eagles at Giants: Battle of the Bottom-Dwellers


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I really like the ring to that title... :D

Dan BentonPosted Sep 28th 2007 6:28PM by Dan Benton

Filed under: Eagles, NY Giants, NFC East, New York, Philadelphia


To get you ready for week 4, FanHouse is previewing all 14 NFL games. Here is the Philadelphia Eagles/New York Giants preview.

2007 Records:

Philadelphia Eagles: 1-2 (t-3rd in NFC East)

New York Giants: 1-2 (t-3rd in NFC East)

Last Game(s):

Eagles 56 - Lions 21

Giants 24 - Redskins 17

When the Eagles have the ball: What Philadelphia does on Sunday night will be decided by the status of running back Brian Westbrook. If he's able to play, the Eagles will no doubt turn to him as their primary offensive threat. If he's not, the onus will be on Donovan McNabb and the wide receivers. And although McNabb really lit it up last week, he did so against the league's worst secondary. Then again, the Giants secondary hasn't played much better.

Defensively, the Giants will gameplan as if Westbrook is playing. Their main objective will be stopping him, and should he sit out, they'll be forced to adapt on the fly. Luckily for them, that would be the ideal situation. But in either case, they must play like they did in the second half versus Washington, and not the way they did for the first 10 quarters of the season.

When the Giants have the ball: Like the Eagles, what the Giants do offensively will really depend on the health of their players. Brandon Jacobs will likely be out for another week, while the status of Derrick Ward and Plaxico Burress remains up in the air. If the Giants are forced to feature Reuben Droughns and Sinorice Moss or Anthony Mix at wide receiver, you can easily assume that Amani Toomer and Jeremy Shockey will be the major players.

Unfortunately for the Eagles, their secondary is a bit banged up as well. It's been the Achilles' heel for them all season, and may be the exact weakness Eli Manning and the New York Giants target despite the personnel they are able (or unable) to put on the field. However, working in Philadelphia's favor will be their dominating front seven. Through three games this season they are only allowing 71.7 yards on the ground per game; good for fourth in the NFL.

The Edge: Experts, analysts and fans are always looking for the "edge" and what team has it. Since both teams are 1-2 and heading into a fierce divisional game, it could go either way. However, since the Giants will be at home, you'd have to give them the nod. Although New York fans are typically criticized (generally, by other fans) for lacking emotion, you can bet they'll be at full throttle with the Eagles in town.

What to watch for:

Jon Runyan versus Michael Strahan: This battle is always a blast to watch. For whatever reason, these two have developed an extreme hatred for one another, and it never fails to reach the boiling point when the Eagles and Giants meet.

Giants' offensive line versus Eagles defense: You can bet that Philadelphia will be coming after Manning all day long. If the Giants have any shot at winning this game, it will begin with his protection.

Aaron Ross: By all indications, Giants first-round pick Aaron Ross will be making his first career start this Sunday. Talk about pressure.

Note: The loser of this game will sit alone at the bottom of the NFC East standing; a place no one wants to be. A 1-3 start could mean doom for one of these two teams, and for that reason, everyone should expect a hell of an emotionally charged game.

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