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Philadelphia Eagles vs. New York Giants: Position-by-Position Matchup Preview

Darren GrossmanCorrespondent IDecember 22, 2016

Philadelphia Eagles vs. New York Giants: Position-by-Position Matchup Preview

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    Nick Laham/Getty Images

    This is the weekly position-by-position matchup breakdown.  As always, I will try to remain as unbiased as possible.  I am 3-0 predicting these games so far this season in my matchup preview, which is pretty impressive, I think.  This is probably the toughest one I have done, as many of these positions are very close.  So let's begin.

    This week the Giants travel down to Philadelphia in a battle for NFC East supremacy.  The 6-3 Eagles play host at Lincoln Financial Field to the 6-3 Giants. 

     

Quarterbacks

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    New York Giants

    We all know Eli Manning has a Super Bowl ring and comes from a great family of quarterbacks.  Manning leads a Giants offense that is ranked second in the NFL overall and sixth in the passing attack.  Manning is a very good quarterback, but he has thrown 13 interceptions in just nine games this season. 

     

    Philadelphia Eagles

    Michael Vick continues to amaze, with 11 TDs and no INT, and leads the NFL in passer rating.  Combine that with his scrambling ability, and Vick is virtually impossible to stop right now. 

    Advantage:  It's a tough call, but with the way Vick is playing this season, I have to with Philadelphia here.

Running Backs

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    New York Giants

    Ahmad Bradshaw and Brandon Jacobs give the Giants a heck of a one-two punch.   The Giants are fifth in the NFL in rushing the ball.  Bradshaw only needs 168 yards to eclipse 1,000 for the season.  He probably will not get there in this game, but it is possible.  The two backs have combined for 10 rushing touchdowns this season.

     

    Philadelphia

    LeSean McCoy has been effective in his Westbrook-like role, though with Vick manning the QB spot, McCoy's touches have decreased somewhat.  Also, the emergence of Jerome Harrison last week may cut into LeSean's touches as well.  Still, these two guys combined with Vick give the Eagles a heck of a running game.  The Eagles are third on offense in the rushing game, but a lot of that is due to Vick.

    This evaluation does not include Vick since he is not technically a running back.

    Advantage: Another close one, but this time, I think the Giants take it.

Wide Receivers/Tight Ends

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    New York Giants

    The Giants have a lot of talent at the WR position with Steve Smith, Hakeem Nicks and Mario Manningham.  TE Kevin Boss is an underrated tight end who could give the Eagles problems. 

    Nicks has enjoyed a breakout campaign this year, already catching 56 balls for 735 yards and nine touchdowns.  However, Steve Smith is injured and won't play in this game, which hurts the depth here tremendously.

     

    Philadelphia Eagles

    We know the one-two punch of DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin have been very successful this season.  Jason Avant played really well last week and continues to gain Vick's trust.  Celek is a good pass catching tight end, though he has not been that involved in the offense this year.

    Advantage: Smith is injured, which is a big factor here, so the advantage goes to Philadelphia.

Offensive Line

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    New York Giants

    Former Eagle Shawn Andrews has won a starting job and is playing at a high level again.  David Diehl is a fixture on their OL, and this is a pretty solid group that does a good job protecting Eli Manning.  The quick release Manning has also helps this group.  Their ground game has had a lot of success at times as well.

    This team will do what most teams do, which is pay extra attention to Trent Cole because the Eagles struggle to get pressure on the other side of the line consistently.

     

    Philadelphia

    The last few weeks, the Eagles offensive line has done a great job.  They did it again against the Redskins, but they will have their hands full with a talented Giants defensive line.  Still, Vick allows you to get beat and can still make a big play due to his elusiveness.

    Advantage: Even

Defensive Line

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    New York Giants

    We all know Osi Umenyiora well as he once demolished Winston Justice for six sacks in one game.  Justice has improved a lot since then though, but this Giants defensive line is still very talented.  Justin Tuck is a force on the other side as well.  Barry Cofield is a good run stuffer.

    This group has 16 sacks on the season, which is a solid number.  The key for the Giants will be to get pressure on Vick, but not commit too much to charging in because if you give Vick the outside, he's gone.  Tuck and Umenyiora have to contain the outside or Vick will burn them.

     

    Philadelphia

    If you read this piece every week, and I hope you do, you should know I am a big Trent Cole fan.  I think he is one of the most underrated players in the NFL and a great asset to the Eagles defense.  Jaqua Parker had his fifth sack of the season last week.  The Eagles line has 18 sacks on the season and could get Broderick Bunkley back this week. 

    Advantage: Even

Linebackers

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    Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

    New York Giants

    Michael Boley is one of the most underrated players in the league.  He is a force on the outside and leads a Giants linebacking corps that does not have any huge names on paper, but is a solid group.  Jonathan Goff and Keith Bulluck will be the other two guys you see often. While this group is not fantastic, the Giants linebackers will be solid against both the run and pass.

     

    Philadelphia

    A season-long weakness, the Eagles LBs are improving.  Ernie Sims is an intense player who always gives 100 percent and Stewart Bradley had a solid game last week.  Still, this group struggles to cover tight ends and Bradley is often out of position, which can hurt the Eagles over the middle. 

    Advantage: New York Giants

Defensive Backs

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    New York Giants

    This group may have been exposed a bit last week against the Cowboys, where they got beat deep often by Dez Bryant and also gave up a ton of yards to Jon Kitna.  Safeties Antrel Rolle and Kenny Phillips are solid and both played their college ball at Miami (FL), my alma mater.  Terrell Thomas is having a nice season and Corey Webster is banged up, but should play Sunday night. 

    The weakness here is when teams spread them wide, as Will Blackmon was not very good in Green Bay and has not gotten any better in New York.  Neither Aaron Ross nor Blackmon has really impressed anyone and they can drag down this otherwise solid secondary.

     

    Philadelphia

    Asante Samuel looks well on his way to another Pro Bowl season, while Dimitri Patterson has played well since becoming the starter two weeks ago.  The Eagles are a bit banged up in the secondary with Ellis Hobbs and Nate Allen both trying to recover from injuries.  There's a good chance both could play Sunday night.

    If Allen can't go, Kurt Coleman will fill in once again at safety.  Quintin Mikell started the season slow but has come on as of late.

    Advantage: New York Giants

Coaches

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    Al Bello/Getty Images

    New York Giants

    Coughlin has won a Super Bowl and is doing another solid job with the Giants this season.   Coughlin watched Monday Night and said he got indigestion watching Michael Vick, but he is an excellent coach and the Giants are a well-coached team.  They will likely spy Vick and at worst, will come up with coverages and schemes to try to contain him.

     

    Philadelphia Eagles

    Andy Reid is one of the longest tenured coaches in the NFL and rightfully so.  The Eagles are the youngest team in the NFL, yet are sitting at 6-3 largely because Reid had the guts to make the tough decision and go with Michael Vick.  I will be interested to see how Sean McDermott tries to combat a good Giants offense.

    Advantage: Even

Intangibles and Prediction

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    Intangibles

    On one hand, the Eagles are undefeated with Michael Vick as starting quarterback.  When Vick has played the entire game, the Eagles have not been beaten.  The Eagles are also home, which gives them an advantage.

    On the other hand, the Eagles are coming off a Monday night game, so it is a short week for them and the Giants are coming off an embarrassing home loss to Dallas. 

    The Giants rank second on offense and first in defense in the NFL, so the Eagles will have their hands full.  The Eagles offense is ranked third and the defense is ranked 11th.

    The Eagles have been heavily penalized, especially at home this season.  Still, the home crowd and the momentum with Michael Vick is probably the biggest factors here.

    If the Eagles win, they will have beaten both Mannings this season, which is a cool thought.

    Advantage: Philadelphia

    Prediction

    This is a really tough game to predict. The Eagles are riding high right now and they are at home, but the Giants are coming off a bad loss and are going to be fired up for this game.  This is going to be a really close game and I think it comes down to a one score game either way.  I have to ride the hot hand though in Vick.

    Eagles 27, Giants 24

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