Ten weeks ago time the Eagles faced the Giants, and the Birds offense was a disaster. Donovan McNabb was sacked twelve times. Second year offensive tackle Winston Justice got abused by Osi Umenyiora, who had six sacks himself. The Giants blitzed often, and brought tremendous pressure all game. McNabb accidentally fumbled the ball, when he bumped into fullback Thomas Tapeh. The Giants capitalized by recovering the fumble, and taking it in for a touch down. The Eagles lost 16-3.This Sunday these teams will meet again. What have the Eagles done to possibly change the outcome?
The main thing is the Iggles are healthy.
In the first match up, the Eagles were without several starters. Brian Westbrook, Lito Sheppard, L.J. Smith, Tra Thomas, and Brian Dawkins, were all unable to play.
All of them are back now, and are relatively healthy.
After missing the last two games with a sprained ankle, Donovan McNabb will be the starting QB this Sunday. Quintin Mikell who has been very solid for the Birds, might be able to give it a go as well.
Hopefully all of these players will be able to make a difference. They need to, because it is desperation time. One more loss would knock the Eagles out of the playoffs for sure. Their only hope of making the post season, is to win all of the four remaining games.
The Giants have some injuries of their own. Mathias Kiwanuka, and Derrick Ward will both miss the game because of a fractured fibula. Running back Brandon Jacobs has been limited in practice with a hamstring injury, and is questionable to play. Safety Gibril Wilson has not practiced with a sprained knee, and is doubtful to play. Plaxico Burress, and Antonio Pierce also missed practice, but should probably play.
Keys To Beating the G-Men:
- Protect the QB- Everybody knows about the 12 sacks last time, and that can’t happen again. Having Tra Thomas back is a huge plus. Jon Runyan will also need to pick it up against Michael Strahan. Andy will have to use a much better protection scheme, and keep guys back to block.
- Contain Plaxico Burress- This is much easier said than done. The Eagles did do a solid job on Burress last time, but he still managed to get in the end zone. Sheldon Brown has struggled against Plax during his career, and has to come up huge for the Birds.
- Hit Eli Manning- Getting pressure is always important, but one thing I have always noticed about Eli Manning is when he takes a good lick, he tends to fall apart. Jim Johnson needs to bring the heat, and dial up some exotic blitzes. Hopefully they can confuse Eli, and have him throwing some interceptions. Even if you can’t sack Manning, guys need to hit him. Trent Cole was shut down last time by David Diehl. He needs to bring his A game.
- Force some turnovers on defense- This has been a major problem all season. The Eagles defense has improved in many areas, but they struggle to get turnovers. Even when opportunities arise, guys are not making the play. Last week players dropped easy interceptions, and were unable to recover a fumble. These are the game changing plays that the Eagles need to win.
- Give Westbrook the ball- Brian Westbrook is the best player on the Eagles. He is their most explosive weapon on offense, and special teams. They need to use him as much as possible. Hand it off to Brian, get him the ball on screens, let him return punts, and even have him line up at WR. Let the play makers make the plays.
I think the Iggles can win this, if they have any fight left in them. If everybody does their job, the Eagles will win. 24-21 Iggles.
One final side note for the game, is that the Giants have signed former Eagles linebacker Tank Daniels.