Sunday's game with the Giants is big. It's really big. The NFC playoff race is very tight right now and there is going to be a big battle for the two wild-card positions. With that being said, both the Eagles and Giants want to win the NFC East to ensure a spot in the playoffs. Sunday's matchup will have a big impact on the race for the division.
The Eagles and Giants have already met this season, with the Eagles winning at home. This week, the Eagles are forced to travel to the new Meadowlands in search of a win. Although the Eagles have an easier remaining schedule than the Giants after this game, the Eagles could still really use a win this week.
Every time two NFC East teams get together, it's typically a battle. With the stakes of Sunday's game being what they are, this game will be no exception.
Here are five reasons I think the Eagles will complete the regular season sweep of the Giants on Sunday.
The Eagles had multiple opportunities to score touchdowns in the first game against the Giants and failed. Why did they fail? Their receivers dropped the ball, literally.
No one receiver can be blamed as the Eagles "big three" all had plays they'd like to have back. DeSean Jackson dropped a pass that would have been a touchdown. Jeremy Maclin dropped a pass on the goal line. Depending on where his body came down when he landed, the play could have resulted in a touchdown. At the very least, it would have given the Eagles a 1st-and-goal on the 1-yard line.
The worst drop of the night came from the usually sure-handed Jason Avant. Near the goal line, Avant broke away from the pack and was open in the back of the end zone with no one surrounding him. Michael Vick threw Avant a pass that hit him right in the hands and was dropped. The drive resulted in a field goal rather than a touchdown.
When it comes down to it, the Eagles receivers failed to make plays. They had the ball in their hands and simply failed to hold onto it. This isn't something that happens every day. Avant would go on to make a great catch later in the game; one that was much harder to catch than the one he dropped in the end zone.
If the Eagles receivers get the same opportunities again, they will make the catches.
Asante Samuel has missed the last three games of the season due to an MCL injury. Ironically, the last game he played in was the first matchup with the Giants. In that game, Samuel intercepted Eli Manning twice. This was his second multi-interception game in the last thee games he played in.
It appeared that Samuel would make a return to action last week against the Cowboys, but he was not able to play. However, it appears that Samuel will make his triumphant return this week and look to pick up right where he left off.
The Eagles have always had success in forcing Manning to make mistakes and they will be using the same formula to do so on Sunday. Manning will see a lot of pressure, and the Eagles corners will have their opportunities to make plays on the football.
Despite missing time this season, Samuel is still the league leader in interceptions and will have multiple opportunities to add to his tally on Sunday.
The Eagles offense is explosive. Led by MVP candidate Michael Vick, the unit currently ranks second in points per game, with an average of 28.8 points. In the first matchup, the Eagles offense put up 27 points and could have easily had more.
Offensively, the Eagles love to throw the ball. Vick has emerged as a legitimate passing threat this season and has plenty of weapons around him to throw to. The Giants were successful in not letting Vick hit on any home run balls, but the Eagles receivers still had a lot of success.
On the day, Jeremy Maclin had nine receptions for 120 yards, DeSean Jackson had five receptions for 50 yards and Jason Avant had two receptions for 39. There is no stopping the group as a whole. If you shut down one receiver, another will step up. They're just too much to handle.
Although they love to throw the ball, LeSean McCoy ran for 111 yards on just 14 carries in the first matchup. He was the closer for the Eagles, and has shown success in that role since then. Of course, you'd like to see the Eagles get McCoy involved earlier.
Regardless, the Eagles offense is explosive and will score points.
Coming into this game, both teams have injuries on their team. It's no surprise at this point in the season, but the Eagles will be without two defensive players who have played well this year, Stewart Bradley and Brandon Graham.
Bradley will be replaced by rookie Jamar Chaney. In relief last weekend, Chaney looked good against the run. With the success of the Giants run game and the injuries they have at the receiver position, the Giants will look to run the ball early on the Eagles. Chaney will need to play like he did against the Cowboys dynamic running duo.
Although Chaney is making his first start, the coaching staff has a lot of confidence in him. The Giants will try to key on him, so his play will have a big impact on the game. However, I have confidence that he will be able to fill in strongly in Bradley's absence.
Graham has bounced in and out of a starting role this year. Juqua Parker was back in the starting lineup last weekend and will be there again this week. Although Graham hasn't had the impact many expected him to make this season, it would be nice to have him out there. However, the Eagles bolstered the defensive end position this offseason and have other players who will step up.
The Giants were scheduled to play at 1:00 PM last Sunday but did not end up playing until 7:00 PM on Monday night. Due to the collapse in the Metrodome, the Giants were first unable to get into Minnesota, then forced to make travel arrangements to Detroit.
This may not be the biggest contributing factor to an Eagles win, but the Giants definitely get off on the foot they expected to in order to prepare for the Eagles. Players and coaches always say they don't look ahead in their schedule, but all of the Giants knew the implications of the rematch with the Eagles before they played the Vikings last week.
Although both teams had the chance to game-plan for one another earlier in the season, both coaching staffs will still have to make changes in their game plans.
The Eagles were able to start focusing on the Giants immediately after the win over the Cowboys. The Giants had a change in plans.