To get a more in-depth look at the rematch between the Giants and Eagles this Sunday, I was able to speak to Glenn Warciski of UltimateNYG.com.
With one game already in the books, I ask Glenn to do some reflecting on the previous matchup. He tells me both where the Giants did well and where they didn't. In his eyes, he states that this is a must-win game for the Giants. Looking ahead to Sunday, he tells us where each team will have an advantage on offense and defense and ends by giving a final prediction on the game.
BirdsFan: Looking back to the first matchup, what do you think the Giants did well?
UltimateNYG: Containing Michael Vick. Vick is not a good pocket passer. In Ron Jaworski's book, The Games that Changed the Game, Jaws talks about scrambling quarterbacks: "Although the Vince Young's and Michael Vick's of the world pull off amazing plays with their feet, it's harder for them to win consistently, because they don't make enough accurate throws from the pocket. They've proven they can win NFL games here and there, but over the course of a full schedule, it's hard for them to execute enough big plays in the passing game to reach a championship level. You see the problem of relying on these types of quarterbacks when you've got to throw on third down or if you're behind. When you're in a situation where you have to throw, those bootlegs aren't going to be worth much."
At UltimateNYG, in our preview before the earlier season matchup, we pinpointed the blueprint to offset Vick's effectiveness.
One of our experts, Peter Furman, shared the following:
"With Vick, the way to control him is to make him throw. I agree that you need to get a lot of pressure from the middle of the defense. Tuck will play a big role in this game, as he lines up at left end and must not over commit. Fewell needs to mix it up. There are a number of things he can do including blitzing a DB, blitzing Goff, stunting/blitzing Osi and keeping him in the pocket. Boley must play at his peak and can be used to blitz as well. You mix up your blitz packages as the one place Vick can’t hurt you is up the middle.
"I agree with Wonder (Our other expert at UltimateNYG) that you can’t let Vick scramble and buy time with his legs. He is NOT a good drop-back passer and is most dangerous when he rolls out.
"Do what the Giants did successfully for five games—use Phillips, Rolle, Grant, Tuck and Boley on different blitz packages. If you can spring Osi, Vick has to go left. There must be a contain man if he gets around Osi.
"Vick is not a good deep threat. If you beat him up a little you can disrupt him. The Tampa 2 is a loser against this guy. I agree that Jackson and the TE need to be covered. Those two are used in most of the Eagles offense. You cannot beat Vick playing passively. If Fewell plays extreme pressure and mixes it up the Giants can win. Keep Vick guessing and hit him. Keep him in the pocket and you eliminate his biggest threat. Everything is about Vick’s feet. Everything starts when he rolls. Pressure him, contain him and cover Jackson and the T.E. Do that and pressure him. Remember, the Eagle O.L. is their weakness. Exploit it."
BF: Where could they have played better?
UNYG: On offense. In the game at the Linc, the Giants gained 208 yards of total offense. And they turned the ball over FIVE times.
BF: What players will the Eagles see this week that didn’t play in the original matchup?
UNYG: Kick returner and running back D.J. Ware. Punt returner Will Blackmon.
BF: LeSean McCoy was able to expose the Giants defense late in the original matchup. Will the Giants change anything to try and prevent McCoy from picking up where he left off?
UNYG: I disagree. Up until his two long gains, the Giants held McCoy in check. On both of his long runs, I believe the Giants did not maintain their gap integrity. By gap integrity, guys not recognizing their keys. San Diego's Ron Rivera sums it up best: "The vast majority of big plays result from gap breakdowns by the defense. Mental errors which balloon into physical errors. One guy goes the wrong way, a gap opens, and that's it."
BF: In your eyes, is this a must-win game for the Giants? If they drop this game to the Eagles, do you believe they will still make the playoffs?
UNYG: Yes. The Giants have lost FIVE straight to the Eagles. And it may take 10 or 11 wins to get into the tournament. If they drop this game to the Eagles, do you believe they will still make the playoffs? Yes. Although no game is an easy game in this topsy-turvy NFL, in my opinion, the Giants would have to win both remaining games to assure themselves of a wild-card spot.
BF: On Sunday, where will the Giants have an advantage on offense? On defense?
UNYG: If the Giants offensive line continues their superb play, I think we have a good shot of winning on Sunday.
Our defensive line is the cornerstone of this defense. If we can put pressure and contain Vick, we can improve our chances of winning.
BF: Where will the Eagles have an advantage on offense? On defense?
UNYG: DeSean Jackson. This guy is like Crazy Legs Hirsch. If he can make plays on offense and special teams, the Eagles will win. Furthermore, TE Brent Celek will play a big role in this game. Besides Michael Boley, the Giants do not have speedy linebackers. Use Celek to exploit the soft belly of this Giants defense—the linebacker unit.
The Eagles secondary led by none other than Asante "The Eli Assassin" Samuel. If Samuel can get a pick, I think the Eagles win.
BF: What player could be a potential X-factor for the Giants on Sunday?
UNYG: Eli will not have his security blanket Steve Smith. WR Mario Manningham will take over as their slot receiver. Although he left Monday's game with an injury, he expects to play. And I think he will be a major factor on Sunday.
BF: Give me a score prediction.
UNYG: I like the Giants. Giants 24, Eagles 20.