Sunday's game between the Philadelphia Eagles and the New York Giants is a huge game. The Eagles have high expectations for 2011. Starting 1-2 and 0-1 in the NFC East is not what they had in mind. The Giants also don't want to start 1-2 and they really don't want to make it seven straight losses to the Eagles.
Leading up to this game everyone is going to be talking about the last meeting between these two teams, "The Miracle at the New Meadowlands". The Giants blew a 21 point lead halfway through the fourth quarter of their Week 15 matchup from last season. It left a bad taste in the Giants' players mouths and they will have revenge on their minds.
The officiating crew will certainly earn their pay on Sunday as these are two teams that really don't like each other. This game will go along way in deciding both teams future playoff chances even though it's only Week 3.
Michael Vick's status for Sunday's game was in serious doubt earlier in the week. After no concussion symptoms and Vick being a full go in practice on Thursday, it seems very likely that Vick will start after all.
Vick should be in line for a big game. In his first two starts as an Eagle against the Giants, he has thrown for 500 yards and four touchdowns. Vick has also ran for another 164 yards and two touchdowns.
Vick is off to another fast start with 429 passing yards, 122 rushing yards and four touchdowns through the first two games. He is making more plays out of the pocket while still being the dynamic running quarterback he has been for his entire career.
Vick will be looking to bounce back after a mild concussion forced him out of his first start in Atlanta since 2006. His competitive nature and team first attitude will make sure that he doesn't let the Eagles fall to 1-2 to start the season.
The Eagles offense has had their way with the Giants defense, putting up 150 total points in the last four meetings. The Giants aren't the only defense the Eagles have had success against, but they seem to be the team they have the most success with.
The Eagles are loaded with talent and speed on offense. The major change on offenses this season is more depth at wide receiver with the addition of former Giant Steve Smith and an improved offensive line. Smith has had a limited impact for his new offense while the new look offensive line had given up just three sacks through the first two games.
The Giants defense on the other hand are going in the wrong direction. They are currently ranked just 23rd in points given up and have yet to record an interception. Since the lockout was lifted and training camp began the Giants have lost several impact players on defense due to injury including Osi Umenyiora, Terrell Thomas, Prince Amukamara, Marvin Austin and Jonathan Goff.
On paper this a complete mismatch. The Eagles have far more talent on offense than the Giants do on defense. The Giants may have sacked Michael Vick six times last season, but he still managed to lead the offense to a combined 65 points against a healthy Giants defense. It will even tougher to contain the Eagles fast break offense this time around.
During the Giants six game losing streak against the Eagles, Eli Manning has thrown eight interceptions. Manning struggled with ball control in 2010, as he had a career high 25 interceptions. He has already thrown two this season and is on pace to throw at least 16 for the fifth time in his career.
Manning will find that the Eagles secondary is a bit tougher to complete passes against this season with the additions of Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and Nnamdi Asomugha. Last season Manning threw for 436 yards, six touchdowns and four interceptions against the likes of Dimitri Patterson.
Manning had just four games in 2010 where he didn't throw a pick and the Giants went 4-0 in those games. This will be a major focal point for the Eagles defense on Sunday. Look for the Eagles secondary to be aggressive and try and force Manning into some early mistakes.
The Eagles defensive line has been absolutely relentless. Both Cullen Jenkins and Jason Babin have been great free agent acquisitions, racking up three sacks each. Trent Cole has two sacks as well to go along with eight total tackles.
The Giants offensive tackles, Will Beatty and Kareem McKenzie, will be a test much like the Rams and Falcons were. The Eagles have racked up six sacks from the defensive end position already through the first two weeks. Now with both Juqua Parker and Darryl Tapp injured, Cullen Jenkins will play defensive end in some defensive packages. Jenkins has three sacks from the defensive tackle position already and will be even tougher to block coming off the end.
The Eagles will use seven different linemen throughout the game on Sunday, and all seven pose a serious threat to the protection of Eli Manning. Look for Manning to get pretty familiar with the turf going up against an elite pass rushing unit.
Okay, so this isn't so bold on paper. The Eagles are loaded on both sides of the ball while the Giants are riddled with injuries. It's still a rivalry game and anything is possible, but the Giants have a lot to overcome.
The Eagles have greatly upgraded both sides of the ball with six former Pro Bowlers including Nnamdi Asomugha, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and Jason Babin. The Giants have gotten older, lost several starters to season ending injuries and lost Kevin Boss and Barry Cofield to free agency.
The Eagles should be able to move the ball with ease early and often. The defense may give up a big chunk of rushing yards, but they will get a lot of pressure on Eli Manning and force a few turnovers as well.
As long as Michael Vick takes care of the football and the Eagles convert their red zone opportunities into touchdowns, this one should easily go to the Eagles.