Pregame: Philadelphia Eagles

If it matters at all, which I don’t think it does, here’s the reaction to the week 4 loss in Philly… Eli played poorly and the coaching decisions were questionable.

As we all know, this week 17 match up could allow the Giants to back into the postseason. Even though the Eagles have had a season full of disappointments, don’t expect them to lay down in the final week and let us have a chance to move on. After sitting on the bench for 6 weeks, [QB] Michael Vick returns to action due to a concussed [QB] Nick Foles. It’s widely believed that Vick will not be in Philadelphia next year, so he wants to put together the best game possible to show his potential suitors. He should have an easy time, too, considering New York’s injury riddled secondary. Both [CB]s Prince Amukamara and Jayron Hosley are doubtful to play, leaving Corey Webster and Justin Tryon as the starters. Both of those guys have looked nerve-rackingly vulnerable at times this season, so I’ll be holding my breath every time Vick unleashes a deep pass. [WR] Jeremy Maclin hurt his knee in practice on Wednesday, but is listed as probable. So no help there. In the grand scheme of things, our safeties will be almost exclusively helping our weak corners over the top, so it will fall on our front 7 to stop the run. The absence of [DT] Chris Canty (also doubtful) sure doesn’t help, considering he was the only player on the defense who was in form last week. [DE]s Jason Pierre-Paul and Justin Tuck must contain both Vick and the speedy backfield of Philadelphia, because if [RB]s LeSean McCoy and Bryce Brown can pick up chunks of yard bouncing outside we’ll be in big trouble. JPP and Tuck haven’t played up to their own lofty standards this season, so hopefully they come out angry this week. We need their help to win this one. A big way our defense can win this game is by forcing turnovers, which seems likely — the Giants have the 2nd most takeaways (with 34), and the Eagles lead the league in giveaways (with 36). The main reason Vick was benched is he would fumble or throw interceptions every single game, so we’ll see if the time on the sideline has made him more conservative or more reckless. Pray for reckless. Rookie Bryce Brown has a bad habit of holding the ball away from his body as he runs, which defenses have recognized and has caused major fumbling issues. [MLB] Chase Blackburn has forced a team high 4 fumbles, so I’m sure he’ll be on special alert when Brown is in the backfield. Only Arizona has allowed more sacks this season than the Eagles, so with Vick taking the snaps the sack-strip (paging Dr. Umenyiora…) will be the goal of the pass rush. Bend-don’t-break isn’t going to cut it this Sunday; our boys will have to be aggressive about making big plays to cover up the weakness outside.

As injured as the Giants defense is, the offense has been the unit looking more pathetic over the past two weeks. Now, they’ll get a chance to redeem themselves against an underwhelming defense. If [WR] Hakeem Nicks (questionable) doesn’t play, I’m curious to see how the snaps are distributed among the rest of the receivers. I think that taking the hobbled Nicks off the field will be helpful to the offense as a whole, especially to Eli who hasn’t been able to practice with Hakeem during the season as much as he’d like. The Eagles have also struggled to get pressure from their pass rush, which some blame on the coverage behind them. Rookie [DT] Fletcher Cox, T-1st on the team for sacks, will be out on Sunday with a concussion. Also missing the game with a concussion is rookie [LB] Mychal Kendricks, who is 3rd on the team in tackles. If our offensive line can withstand the rush, perhaps [TE] Martellus Bennett can get into a groove catching the ball. He is only signed for this year, so this could be an important game with regard to his contract offer. There will be no shortage of ways to attack this defense, so we’ll see if the Giants are able to get a running game going for one of the few times this year. I’m surprised to see that [RB] Ahmad Bradshaw is going to play, especially considering our first round pick is the fill-in. Bradshaw said during the week that playing against Baltimore and getting his knee banged around actually helped him feel better running on it. Go figure. That guy is nuts, and apparently our best option despite his obvious struggles in pass coverage last week. I’m more excited to see [RB] David Wilson in the kick return game anyway, because our kick coverage loves to block for our biggest game-changer.

Last but not least — let’s go Detroit, Green Bay, and Washington! I may be in the minority, but I believe in our boys to shake off the funk if we find ourselves in the playoffs. Positive attitude people, if only for one day.

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