Friday, September 15, 2006

Game 2 Preview

this is going to be a tough game, any way you look at it. the teams are pretty closely matched in terms of talent and the way the schedule lays out makes this almost a must win for the giants.

i'll lay out my thoughts at the end, but first what some others think about the game:
- eagles rank 5th overall in DVOA, 2nd in offense, 21st in defense, and 13th for special teams
- giants rank 10th overall, 1st in offense, 25th in defense, and 29th for special teams
Look for the Giants to win this game by pressuring McNabb and attacking the Eagles secondary, with Barber and Jeremy Shockey lining up as wide receivers to force mismatches. The Eagles will do a little less back-patting after this week, but games against the Niners and Packers will bring their chakras back into alignment soon enough.
les bowen
I'VE BEEN GOING back and forth on this all week. I think the Giants are good. They probably should have beaten the Colts last week. I can see them throwing underneath successfully on the Eagles, then pounding away with their running game. I'm not sure I really believe the Giants are going to Seattle next week 0-2. But I think the Eagles are pretty good, too, and it's hard to pick against them in their first home game, coming off a game in which they seemed to be firing on all cylinders. Yesterday's Brian Westbrook practice scare nearly swung me back to the Giants, but I'm going to take the Eagles until they give me good reason not to take them. A healthy Donovan McNabb has been a difference-maker many times in this series. In fact, the Eagles haven't lost to the Giants with McNabb in the lineup since the 2000 season (7-0).

Prediction: Eagles 24, Giants 20
ny post
HE Giants needed a Jay Feely OT field goal to survive in Philly last December, and that was against the battered Eagles' JV. So you certainly have to fear a healthy Donovan McNabb-Brian Westbrook-Donte Stallworth trio. Stallworth, then a Saint, caught eight for 141 yards vs. Big Blue in Week 2 last year. Still, if you go Giants, you get the better team, with points, and maybe a little early-season desperation.

The pick: Giants, +3

phil martelli
picks the giants to win 21-13 based on their better skill position players

espn scouts inc
This game will be a good test for the Eagles, unlike last week. The Giants are a good team that won the division last year. The Eagles must take advantage of a porous Giants secondary by spreading the ball around and using play-action to work the ball downfield. If the Eagles win this game, they have a good chance of starting the season 4-0.

The Giants must find a way of capitalizing on Eagles mistakes and limiting their own. They must get off the field defensively on third down and protect Manning from the Eagles' zone-blitz package. The Giants need to take the crowd out early by mounting a good, long drive or scoring quickly. The Giants need to put away all the excuses for the Week 1 loss, because they are going into hostile territory in Philadelphia. If they are going to win the division again this year, they need to find a way to win regardless of what happens. The good teams do.

Prediction: Eagles 27, Giants 24
what i think
the single biggest factor in this game will be whether or not the birds defense can control tiki barber. despite all of the talent in the skill positions, the giants do not go if tiki doesn't run. tiki's running takes pressure off young eli to make plays and that keeps the giants in games. if eli has to win the game the giants are in a tough spot.

giants o vs. eagles d
as with most games, the matchup between the giants vastly improved o-line vs. the eagles rebuilt d-line will tell the story. if the eagles are able to bottle up barber and get consistent pressure on eli, then the eagles will likely win the game. this will be easier said than done. while i don't think last week's game against the colts will be representative of how effective the giants o-line will be all season (especially on run blocking since the colts defense weighs about as much as a high school team), they were surprisingly effective in pass protection. i think they ate dwight freeney, who was invisible all game. the giants skill position players are impressive overall, but they'll only be as good as tiki and eli enable them to be. if tiki and eli have bad games, then all those skill position players will go to waste.

the eagles will be without lito for sunday's game, but in reality that is a plus. lito hasn't been healthy and has limited effectiveness anyway. if the d-line is able to control the line of scrimmage, then i'm not too concerned about all the what-ifs. if the d-line is unable to consistently control the LOS, then you definitely have to be concerned about who is going to match up with 6' 5" plaxico burress and 6' 5" jeremey shockey. the other concern is how disciplined trotter is going to play because barber feasts on cutting back behind overpursuers.

eagles 0 vs giants d
as per usual, the strahan/runyan matchup will be a key one to watch, but probably not *the* key anymore. the osi umenyiora matchup against a gimpy tra thomas is probably the most important individual matchup. the eagles should be able to run the ball effectively against the giants because the weakness of the giants d is their middle (which is now a strength of the eagles o-line) assuming the fragile brothers don't hurt themselves getting out of the shower and are able to line up in the backfield. giants secondary is nothing special, so i expect the birds receivers will have some room to run.

the giants made a big splash with the lavar arrington and sam madison signings. too bad it's not 2001 because those guys sucked in the first game of the season. madison can't stick to receivers anymore and arrington can't run. giants do have some weaknesses, but their strength at d-end will enable them to pressure donnie franchise. still, having fred robbins, barry cofield, and william joseph as your d-tackle rotation is less than, shall we say, stellar.

how the game will play out
giants will keep this game close because they face the possibility of starting off 0-2 with @seattle staring them in the face. they'll be fired up for this game. the eagles cannot afford to start this game flat, and i don't believe they will. last week's game was a look ahead game for the birds and is one of the reasons they came out flat against houston. this is a game the eagles have been pointing to since training camp, and i expect they'll be prepared. andy played it pretty close to the vest against the texans and i expect he'll have some wrinkles prepared for this game.

despite the improved eagles defense, expect to see tiki barber have a pretty good day, which in turn, will free up the receivers to have a pretty good day. on the flip side, the giants biggest weakness is still their secondary, so expect to see don do some damage. i do not expect this to be a low scoring game.

last note - after a slow start against them, don has owned the giants in recent years and i don't see how that is going to change in his comeback season.

prediction: eagles 27 giants 23



Anonymous Phil said...

The best play from the past couple years remains the Westbrook punt return for TD. And wasn't there a good Shockey clip from last year?

I think turn overs will be the key. Eagles D needs to take the ball away.

12:18 PM EDT  
Blogger The Big Dog said...

don't forget the inappropriate size for that position players that the Giants have....Brandon Jacobs is as big as a TE but has great feet and plays RB...Jared Lorenzen is 6-4 and 285 for a QB, he looks more like a guard....that being said Eagles 28 Giants 14

1:09 PM EDT  
Anonymous me-was said...

Slow down Tiki (no more than 110 yards) and put a serious rush on Eli and the game is ours. Manning uses his big-play receivers only if allowed to sit in the pocket comfortably. Think Troy Aikman, without the accuracy.

7:06 PM EDT  

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