NFL Week 3 Picks: 5 Reasons Why the Eagles Will Beat the Giants
After two weeks, the Eagles have to be considered the cream of the NFC East. Sure they're tied for second place, but they convincingly won in St. Louis and almost pulled off a win in one of the toughest places to play with their third string quarterback.
And I'm still convinced the Eagles would have won the game if NBC didn't pull a bonehead move and display a replay of the Kelvin Hayden interception.
Though the game should be close, I'm predicting an Eagles win. Here's why:
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I haven't heard the word 'psychology' since taking the AP course in high school. It has something to do with the mind, right?
I'm sure the Giants have to be thinking to themselves, "can we beat the Eagles?"
The last time the Giants defeated the Eagles was in 2008—five days after Barack Obama won the election. Yeah, its been that long.
The Eagles were being blown out and had nothing going for them until the fourth quarter of the Miracle game. Then disaster struck the Giants and they choked away a big lead.
In other words, the Giants pulled a 'Lebron James' and couldn't stop the Eagles' explosive offense.
This upcoming Sunday, the Eagles will never feel like they will be out of the game and this extra confidence could be great coming off a disappointing loss in Atlanta.
Michael Vick and the Offensive Weapons
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With Michael Vick's likely return (he reportedly practiced fully today), the Eagles will have a huge advantage at the quarterback position.
Even an unhealthy Vick is an upgrade over Mike Kafka. Though Kafka was great in the fourth quarter against Atlanta, the Falcons defense wasn't geared to stop a pocket passer. They were geared to stop the most explosive athlete at the quarterback position in NFL history.
The Giants defense is missing a lot of their key defensive pieces and will struggle to contain Vick.
A main reason why they were able to blitz Vick consistently with an extra secondary player was because their cornerback tandem of Terrell Thomas and Corey Webster was one of the best. However, Thomas is out for the year and his physical presence will allow Jeremy Maclin and DeSean Jackson to have field days.
I'm sure Vick will have no trouble picking apart the embattled Aaron Ross.
The Giants also have Greg Jones starting at middle linebacker, a rookie sixth-rounder from Michigan State who has the physical tools to contain Vick, but much like the Eagles linebackers, tends to be overaggressive and over-pursue. That will not bode well, especially against Vick.
LeSean McCoy is one of the shiftiest back in the league and will have no trouble making cuts against Jones and New York's linebacking corps.
Elite Pass Rushing Defensive Line
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It doesn't get any simpler than this: If Eli Manning faces pressure, he makes mistakes.
It's been years since the Eagles had pass-rushing consistency from the front four, until now. Led by Trent Cole and Jason Babin on the outside and Cullen Jenkins on the inside, the defensive line is very difficult to block.
The Eagles haven't used much of the blitz these past few weeks because of how strong the line is.
Eli Manning will have to make quick decisions with the football, otherwise he will be on the ground for the majority of the game.
And we all know what happens when Manning has to make quick decisions in front of pressure.
Best Cornerback Tandem in the League
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In last year's Miracle game, Eli Manning was purposely targeting the cornerback spot opposite of Asante Samuel, which allowed him to throw for four touchdowns in the game. Dmitri Patterson was the victim in that game.
This time around, if Eli tries to throw around Samuel, he will only have to throw at Nnamdi Asomugha, which is obviously not a tough task.
In all seriousness, Eli will have to make quick decisions with the ball, especially with the front four creating pressure, and then throw against two ball hawks.
I'll take the Eagles tandem over trusting Manning to make correct decisions with the ball.
Shuffling the Linebackers
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In the latter article titled "3 Linebackers Who Could Replace Casey Matthews in the Middle", I proposed Jamar Chaney as the number one choice to replace Matthews.
Finally, the Eagles came to their senses.
Matthews was overpowered and couldn't get off blocks. On Michael Turner's huge, momentum shifting 61 yard run, Matthews was too aggressive, opening up a hole for Turner to shoot through. It was clear it was too early for the Eagles to put their trust in him. I thought eventually Matthews could have excelled at middle linebacker, but throwing a rookie in one of the key positions on defense was just absurd.
Matthews will have less duties as the weak-side linebacker and could be very solid there.
Chaney hasn't been great, but his natural position isn't the strong-side, but at middle linebacker. Some could make the case for him at weak-side as well. Chaney had 16 tackles in his first start in the middle against the Giants. He can be a mainstay at middle linebacker for the rest of the season.
Lastly, Moise Fokou will move back to his natural position at strong-side linebacker, where he proved to be a very good run stopper. Fokou has struggled mightily on the weak-side.