The New York Giants and Philadelphia Eagles will continue their much-anticipated and long-awaited rivalry on Sunday night at Lincoln Financial Field. The Giants ended a six-game losing streak to their division rivals in Week 3 of last season, but ultimately ended up splitting their matchups with Philadelphia, as a Vince Young-led Eagles team was able to return the favor in Week 9.
These two teams share an epic history and a deep hatred for each other. Whenever the Giants and Eagles face off, the season records go on the back burner and all that matters is winning just that one game.
The Giants are going into the game on a high note; the offense was clicking against the Carolina Panthers last week and the defense was dominant. The Eagles, on the other hand, were dismantled by the undefeated Arizona Cardinals.
This article will provide statistical projections for all the major offensive categories, as well as the defensive and special teams leaders.
Eli Manning: 31/42 for 330 yards, two TD, INT
The Eagles have a pretty stingy pass defense; they currently rank third in the league, allowing their opponents to pass for an average of only 173 yards per game. Expect Manning and the Giants’ potent passing offense to exploit the Eagles’ secondary.
The Philadelphia defense has taken on Browns rookie Brandon Weedon, as well as Baltimore’s Joe Flacco and Arizona’s Kevin Kolb. Manning will pose a unique threat to the Eagles defense, as they have yet to be challenged by a quarterback with his type of ability.
Manning will probably throw the ball more than 35 times since this Week 3 matchup may go down to the final minutes. He’ll be able to rack up the yards and build on his already stellar completion percentage (66.9%), but he won’t leave the game unscathed. Manning will throw a pick against the ball-hawking Philadelphia defense, and he will probably be sacked more than once.
Ahmad Bradshaw: 12 rushes, 50 yards/two catches, 15 yards
Bradshaw will return from his neck injury suffered in Week 2 against the Buccaneers and reassume his position as the team’s featured back. He’ll be in the game on most passing situations due to his expertise at picking up the blitz and ability to slip out of the backfield as a check down option. His carries will be limited, though, as the Giants will certainly want to ease him back into the mix.
Andre Brown: 10 rushes, 65 yards, TD/one catch, 10 yards
Because of Brown’s breakout performance against the Panthers last week, expect him to split carries with Bradshaw pretty close to 50:50. His tough and decisive running style should result in a higher average yards per carry than Bradshaw, but that doesn’t mean he’ll automatically take over as the team’s No. 1 back. He’ll get some short yardage and goal-line opportunities, which is why I predict he’ll have the team’s only rushing touchdown in Week 4.
David Wilson: one rush, >5 yards
Wilson has yet to find his role in the Giants’ offense, and it looks like his window of opportunity may be closing. Through three games, Wilson has carried the ball six times for eight yards. After fumbling in Week 1 and rushing for negative two (-2) yards on one touch against the Panthers, Wilson will have a tough time making an impact in the Giants’ running game.
Hakeem Nicks: six catches, 70 yards, TD
Nicks will prove to his doubters that his decision to sit out in Week 3 was strictly a precautionary measure. Manning will look to Nicks a lot against the Eagles in an attempt to replicate the Kolb-Fitzgerald connection that went for 114 yards and a touchdown on nine grabs last Sunday. Nicks will haul in a touchdown pass before the night is through.
Victor Cruz: 10 catches, 115 yards
With most of the attention back on Nicks, expect Cruz to reach the century mark for receiving yards against Philadelphia. He may have one or two big play gains, but most of his production in Week 3 will be in critical third down, move-the-chains situations. Cruz should be able to take rookie corner Brandon Boykin for a ride when lined up in the slot.
Ramses Barden: four catches, 35 yards
Hixon has been cleared to practice, but don’t expect him to rush back to action given Barden’s nine-catch, 138-yard performance against the Panthers. Barden won’t match his Week 3 production, but he should be able to get in the mix as the team’s third wideout.
Martellus Bennett: seven catches, 75 yards TD
Manning’s trust in Bennett is clearly growing now that he’s caught a touchdown pass in all three games. Bennett should be able to extend his touchdown scoring streak into Week 4, as Manning will continue to target him early and often.
Bear Pascoe/Henry Hynoski: one catch, >10 yards
It seems like every week Manning manages to locate either Pascoe or Hynoski for a solid 6-to-8 yard gain. Last week, Pascoe was unable to catch his only target of the game, but Hynoski caught two passes for 15 yards. Expect at least one of these blockers to make a play or two in the passing game.
Antrel Rolle: eight tackles (seven solo)
Rolle leads the team in tackles with 21. The impressive part is that 19 of them have been solo tackles. With Kenny Phillips holding down the back end, Rolle has had the freedom to make a lot of plays close to the line of scrimmage. He made seven tackles (all solo) against the Panthers last Thursday; expect similar production in Week 4.
Osi Umenyiora: two sacks
Umenyiora had 11.5 sacks in his first six matchups with the Eagles. However, Umenyiora hasn’t recorded a sack against the Eagles since 2009 (three games). He’s due for a big game against his division rival, so it would not be very surprising if he was to have his first multi-sack performance of 2012. Umenyiora should have some added motivation, too, given the recent smack talk Eagles running back LeSean McCoy sent his way.
Prince Amukamara and Kenny Phillips: one interception each
Amukamara made his 2012 debut last week, and against the Eagles he’ll have the opportunity to record his first interception of the season. He had a strong showing in his debut, and his cold-tub-dumping teammates have finally begun to warm up to the second-year corner. Michael Vick has already committed nine turnovers through three games, so you can bet that the Giants’ secondary will be on the hunt for a few more. Phillips may also snag an errant Vick pass while patrolling deep centerfield.
Steve Weatherford: three punts, 46.0 avg. yards per punt, one punt downed inside 20-yard line
The Giants haven’t relied too heavily on Weatherford’s punting ability as of late, and as long as their offense keeps clicking, they won’t have to. Expect Weatherford to play a minimal role on Sunday, possibly pinning the Eagles’ offense inside their own 20-yard line only once or twice.
Lawrence Tynes: 3/3 field goals, 3/3 extra points
Tynes has been solid through three games, hitting all 10 of his attempted field goals. His consistency should continue into Week 4, as long as the Giants’ offense is able to move the ball into makeable field goal range.
David Wilson: two kick returns, 32.0 avg. yards per return
Wilson has failed to impress in the running game, but he’s averaged 25.1 yards per kick return. He should play with a sense of urgency given Brown’s breakout performance last week, and the only way to expand his offensive role will be to impress the coaching staff on special teams. A big return against the Eagles could do just the trick.