5 Key Players in New York Giants vs. Philadelphia Eagles Game
While there should be 92 players suited up for the Eagles/Giants game this week, I believe that the outcome will hinge on the performance of five players.
Recent games between these two rivals have been close contests, including the last one that was determined on the last play of the game.
The Eagles are not as good as Vince Young's "Dream Team" comment indicates and the Giants are too good to let their injuries turn them into a bad team.
This means that we should have a great game typical of this long-standing rivalry. So let's take a look at those five key players.
NY Giants Brandon Jacobs Can Grind out the Yardage
The Giants need to keep the Eagles' high powered offense off the field. The Eagles linebackers are young and fast but not big and strong. None of the Eagles defensive backs or safeties are really run stuffers.
This means that Giants' game plan will include plenty of Brandon Jacobs up the middle, Brandon Jacobs to the right and Brandon Jacobs to the left.
Key stat: If Jacobs runs for over 90 yards and scores a touchdown, this points to a Giants victory.
Philadelphia Eagles Placekicker Alex Henery
Last year it was the Giants rookie punter that failed to kick the last punt out of bounds, allowing DeSean Jackson run back the winning punt return as the clock ticked down, ending the Giants' season.
This year the Eagles have both a rookie punter and a rookie placekicker.
The pressure on these two players will be enormous: first home game, first NFC division game and the Philly boo birds just waiting to show their displeasure at the slightest sign of a problem.
In a tight game like this, the game could be won or lost be the placekicker.
Key stat: If Henry scores at least 9 points, with three or more in the fourth quarter, this would point to an Eagle victory.
Philadelphia Eagles Slot Receiver Jason Avant
Tom Coughlin is not going to let DeSean Jackson beat him two games in a row. With the Giants' injuries, they likely will have to double cover the Eagles' two wide receivers: Jackson and Maclin.
That leaves Jason Avant as the key target for critical third down plays.
Key stats: If Avant catches five or more passes, with three or more converting on third down, this points to an Eagle victory.
NY Giants Defensive End Justin Tuck
Justin Tuck can create a lot of pressure on any quarterback the Eagles play. With the current health of the Eagles' quarterbacks, they can ill afford another injury.
If Tuck gets six or more hurries, hits or sacks, this means that the Giants are putting good pressure on the Eagles' quarterbacks, pointing to a Giant win.
Asante Samuel Picks off Eli Manning
The fifth key player of the game will likely be Asante Samuel. He has a knack for getting in the heads of quarterbacks by playing off the receiver and then jumping the route for an interception, as he did against Manning last year.
If Samuel picks one off this year, this would point to an Eagle win. However, if Manning pulls off a successful pump fake to bait Samuel and then goes long for a touchdown, this would point to a Giants win.