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Week 11 matchups: Giants at Eagles

Manning and Giants Receivers vs. Eagles Secondary – When the streaky Manning gets on a roll he sometimes resembles big brother Peyton in that it almost doesn’t matter who suits up to catch his passes because he’s so locked in. Manning won’t have Steve Smith or Ramses Barden this week against an aggressive secondary and in their places step in undrafted rookie Duke Calhoun and recently re-signed Derek Hagan. Manning will still have the wonderful Hakeem Nicks [56 catches, 735 yards, nine touchdowns] and the speedy Mario Manningham [35 catches, 476 yards, and four scores] and that may be enough to engage in what should be a shootout, as the Eagles’ secondary is known to give up the big plays.
EDGE: GIANTS

Ahmad Bradshaw and Brandon Jacobs vs. Eagles Run Defense – The best rushing duo in the league, Bradshaw [838 yards, five touchdowns] and Jacobs [377 yards, five touchdowns] weren’t effective as usual in last week’s loss to the Cowboys. Look for the Giants to try and establish the run more, as to alleviate pressure off of Manning. The patchwork O-Line, however, could hinder the duo’s running lanes, as injuries have mounted. If that happens and the offense becomes one-dimensional, the dynamic duo’s five yards per carry average will be for naught. Philly has a knack for exploiting an offense’s weaknesses with timely run blitzes and the Giants’ O-Line is banged up, so this could be another down week for the Big Blue rushing attack.
EDGE: EAGLES

Giants’ O-Line vs. Eagles’ D-Line – Center Shaun O’Hara and left tackle David Diehl are likely out for this game. Even their understudies, backup center Adam Koets and tackle/guard Shaun Andrews, have injury problems. Koets is out for the year, while the former Eagle Andrews is dealing with back issues. Injured linemen Kevin Boothe and Will Beatty both returned last week and saw action for the first time all season but they both showed their rust in committing egregious penalties and missed assignments. The Giants were already thin along the line, so going in undermanned against an aggressive pass rush may spell doom for Manning.
EDGE: EAGLES

Michael Vick and Eagles Receivers vs. Giants Secondary – This may be the most fascinating matchup, as Vick has finally evolved into the precise dropback passer that the West Coast Offense requires. Add to the fact that speedy Philly wideouts DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin have been known to get loose in New York’s secondary and it could be a long day for Big Blue’s back four. The Giants can’t afford to ‘spy’ on Vick with a defender because that’ll just take an extra man out of the coverage – and the defense will need all the men it can use to defend the wideouts, tight end Brent Celek, and even running back LeSean McCoy out of the backfield.
EDGE: EAGLES

McCoy vs. Giants Run Defense – McCoy’s nickname is “Slim Shady” and he’s shown to be very slick when trying to corral. McCoy [615 yards rushing, 4.7 yards per carry, and five touchdowns] is a dual-threat in the mold of former Eagle great Brian Westbrook in that he can run with elusiveness, power, and also be a threat in the secondary as a receiver. The Giants’ run defense, however, has tamed bigger names than McCoy this season and should be able to slow him down. New York has been pretty staunch against the run, only allowing four rushing touchdowns and 3.5 yards per carry all season. On his own, McCoy’s rushing won’t beat New York. But when you couple in Vick’s rushing potential and the fact as a unit the Eagles have the third-best ground attack [151.1 yards per game], it could keep Big Blue’s defense on it’s heal.
EDGE: EAGLES

Eagles O-Line vs. Giants D-Line – When Kevin Kolb was the starter early in the season, he was battered and bruised from all angles. In stepped Vick and suddenly the O-Line is an impenetrable wall? We’re not buying that. Vick still gets sacked often but his marvelous athleticism only masks what an average job the guys up front actually do in pass protection. New York’s vaunted pass rush has been on hiatus these last two weeks. They may not sack Vick but rest assured defensive coordinator Perry Fewell will make Vick a very busy man back there, as he’ll certainly unleash bookend rushers Osi Umenyiora [eight sacks] and Justin Tuck [four].
EDGE: GIANTS

Special Teams – This could be the deciding factor. The Giants’ return team is nothing to brag about, as neither newcomer Will Blackmon nor the recently-benched Darius Reynaud have impressed. Meanwhile, the Giants’ coverage team hasn’t been truly tested yet. They managed to avoid Bears return specialist Devin Hester most of the night in Week 4 but have a tendency of allowing Eagles receiver/specialist Jackson get at least one solid attempt at a return in each outing. Giant fans are still haunted by the vision of Jackson streaking down the left sidelines for a 72-yard punt return touchdown at the old Giants Stadium in the teams’ last meeting, last season. If rookie punter Matt Dodge makes the mistake of out-punting his coverage, Eagle fans may be rewarded with another breathtaking Jackson jaunt.
EDGE: EAGLES

Coaching – Both coaches have been NFC East mainstays. The Giants Tom Coughlin owns a ring, while Eagles head man Andy Reid does not. Be that as it may, Reid does not take a backseat to any coach in the entire league. He’s coaches a consistent winner, has beaten Coughlin head-to-head in the playoffs, and has masterly handled what would have been a massive quarterback controversy for other teams. Coughlin is also masterful at turning a bad situation into a team-rally effort, as perhaps no head coach in the NFL has a better pulse of his team. This is a tough decision because while Coughlin owns the hardware, ringless or not, Reid is Coughlin’s equal.
EDGE: PUSH

 
 
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