Philadelphia Eagles vs. New York Giants: Preview and Prediction

Brad Gagnon NFL National ColumnistDecember 29, 2012

PHILADELPHIA, PA - SEPTEMBER 25:  Quarterback  Michael Vick #7 of the Philadelphia Eagles and  Eli Manning #10 of the New York Giants talk at midfield after the Giants defeated the Eagles 29-16 at Lincoln Financial Field on September 25, 2011 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
Rob Carr/Getty Images

Don't forget the other game in the NFC East this weekend. Sunday's matchup between the eliminated Philadelphia Eagles and the almost-eliminated New York Giants still carries some weight because of that one word: almost. 

The Giants can still make the playoffs if they beat Philadelphia while getting some help from Green Bay, Detroit and Washington. The Eagles beat New York earlier in the year, which adds some spice to a game that a lot of their fans might prefer to see them lose in order to earn a top-five draft pick. 

Here's my preview and prediction for what is likely to be Andy Reid's final game as Philly's head coach and Michael Vick's final game as Philly's quarterback. 


What Philly must do to win, offensive edition: Avoid turning the ball over the way it did with Vick at the helm earlier in the season, and let LeSean McCoy run the show. 

What Philly must do to win, defensive edition: Don't let Victor Cruz or Hakeem Nicks beat you deep, and get pressure on Eli Manning without blitzing. 


What New York must do to win, offensive edition: Get the ball into the hands of Cruz against that secondary and maintain balance with a steady workload for Ahmad Bradshaw.

What New York must do to win, defensive edition: Pressure Vick, and focus on McCoy. Without DeSean Jackson, the Eagles don't pose a big threat deep. 


Five most important non-quarterbacks, Eagles edition: LeSean McCoy, Brandon Graham, Trent Cole, Nnamdi Asomugha, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie

McCoy has to be the centerpiece, although there's a slim chance of that happening. Either way, he's gotta break off some nice runs to keep the heat off Vick. Graham and Cole have to get that natural pressure on Manning, while Asomugha, DRC and Brandon Boykin have to limit Nicks and Cruz.


Five most important non-quarterbacks, Giants edition: Victor Cruz, Hakeem Nicks, Ahmad Bradshaw, David Diehl, Jason Pierre-Paul

Cruz and Nicks will have to make plays for the Giants to get out of this rut, and Bradshaw has to be there to keep the Eagles honest defensively. I'm not worried about Will Beatty, but Diehl will have his hands full with Graham and/or Cole. JPP leads that pass rush, which has to wake up. 


Injury analysis, Eagles edition

Out: Fletcher Cox (concussion), Mychal Kendricks (concussion), Evan Moore (back)

Questionable: Chris Polk (toe)

Probable: Jason Avant (calf, hamstring), Stanley Havili (hamstring), Jeremy Maclin (knee), Evan Mathis (ankle)

They'll be without two prominent rookies in the front seven with Cox and Kendricks out, which helps Bradshaw a fair bit. They also go from Nick Foles to Vick, which could be a major disadvantage considering how well Foles was playing and how well the Giants know Vick. 


Injury analysis, Giants edition

Doubtful: Prince Amukamara (hamstring), Chris Canty (knee), Jayron Hosley (quadricep)

Questionable: Hakeem Nicks (knee), Kenny Phillips (knee), Justin Tuck (shoulder)

Probable: David Baas (hip, shoulder), Ahmad Bradshaw (knee, foot), Tyler Sash (hamstring), Chris Snee (hip)

They might not have two of their top three corners, and Corey Webster's been a disaster. That could give Vick a chance to hit guys like Maclin and Avant for big gains, which the Giants have been known to allow, even with a healthy Amukamara and Hosley. Throw in injuries to starters like Canty, Nicks, Phillips and Tuck, and it's easy to see how the Giants can lose this game. 


B/R NFC East Blog prediction: I know the Giants have come up big in these spots in the past, but I don't see enough fight in this team right now. If they were going to rise to the occasion with their backs against the wall this year, that would have happened in Week 15 or 16. They're getting crushed, and now they've been ravaged by injuries. They don't have any gas left in the tank.

Eagles 26, Giants 23