Giants vs. Eagles Breakdown 2009

Ruchir PandyaCorrespondent IJune 30, 2009

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - DECEMBER 07:  Eli Manning #10 of the New York Giants meets with Donovan McNabb #5 of the Philadelphia Eagles at the conclusion of their game at Giants Stadium on December 7, 2008 in East Rutherford, New Jersey.  (Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images)

A different writer wrote a similar article, though I believe it was lacking in substance.

I will try to be as unbiased as possible. 

The reason I pick these two teams is that they are often talked about as the two best teams in the NFC East and in the conference overall.

One of these two teams could (should?) make it to the Super Bowl, and the two (or three) meetings between them could have a heavy impact on the Big Game.

First, I'll look at each position, then I'll look at individual matchups (O-Line vs. D-Line, WR vs. corner).


QB: Eagles have the advantage.

This is a classic argument.

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Giants fans argue that Eli's Super Bowl ring gives him the advantage, while Eagles fans point to statistics, head-to-head history, and every other piece of evidence.  Eli is one of the best at the two-minute drill, and he has come up with some fourth-quarter magic.

But, so has McNabb, and (for most of his career) he's done it with subpar receivers.

I'll go with McNabb for a few reasons, but the main one is turnovers. McNabb has the lowest interception percentage in NFL history; Eli has thrown 65 in four years as a full-time starter (that's more than one per game) and 74 for his career, against just 98 touchdowns.  Compare that to 194 touchdowns to just 90 interceptions, and the statistics give McNabb a clear edge.  McNabb also has a higher career completion percentage, threw for more yards even though it was a down year for McNabb and a career year for Eli, and has better arm strength, which was a factor in the two meetings in the windy Meadowlands last year.

In a close game between the Eagles and Giants, a turnover can easily swing the outcome. 

In addition, McNabb has better arm strength (which is key in the windy games they play) and ability to avoid the pass rush. Still, Eli is a solid QB and is definitely better than Tony Romo and Jason Campbell.

RB: Giants have the advantage

Brian Westbrook is one of the most exciting players ever, but the Giants have better depth. Jacobs and Bradshaw both have a great deal of experience, and Jacobs has a chip on his shoulder.

The Giants' rushing attack should be formidable once again. Rookie Andre Brown also figures into the equation.

On the other side, the Eagles use their running backs differently. I think Brian Westbrook will still create nightmares for the Giants' linebackers, and Lesean McCoy will also be used extensively. 

However, the Giants have two proven commodities and one unknown; the Eagles have only one proven and one rookie.

So, I'll give the Giants the edge, but keep in mind that both teams use their running backs differently.

The Giants may have more success on the ground, but Westbrook and McCoy will be effective off screens and short passes.

LT: Advantage Eagles

David Deihl is solid, but Jason Peters has amazing versatility in both pass protection and running the football. Whether or not Jason Peters is the best in the NFL is debatable, but he is up there. 

LG: Even

Rich Seubert has experience, but Todd Herremans has steadily improved and could be on the verge of a Pro Bowl.

C: Advantage Giants

Shaun O'Hara is the best in the business.


Jamaal Jackson is above average, but O'Hara is an All-Pro.

RG: Advantage Giants

Once again, Chris Snee is one of the best players in the NFL at any position. Stacy Andrews is still young and is moving to his more suitable position. His size will allow him to win most battles, but Snee has experience and pedigree.

RT: Advantage Eagles

Despite the position switch, I think Shawn Andrews will be successful. He is a better fit at right tackle because of his athleticism. He has been to Pro Bowls and should dominate this year.

I like Kareem McKenzie, too.  He has a lot of experience, but I think Andrews' talent wins the battle here.

Overall O-Line: Advantage Giants

This unit has played together in a Super Bowl, and that experience makes them the best line in the NFL, with the Eagles a close second.

WR: Advantage Eagles

Desean Jackson is a lot better than Steve Smith. He demands double teams and went for nearly 1,000 yards last year. Smith is solid, but is not on Jackson's level. 

Kevin Curtis has more experience and better hands than Domenik Hixon. The rookies are largely unknown, but think of the fact that Jason Avant basically equalled Steve Smith's production last year, and he would be the Eagles third or fourth receiver. 

Maclin should have an immediate impact, but so should Hakeem Nicks.

However, I think the Eagles' proven commodities (two receivers who have gone over 900 yards in their career) give them the edge.

TE: Even

Kevin Boss is a great blocker, but not a great receiver. Brent Celek exploded when he started at tight end last year and is a solid, reliable target for McNabb. Cornelius Ingram will be used to create some mismatches, especially in the red zone. 

I call this even because both teams have tight ends that fit their needs. The Giants have an elite run-blocking tight end, and the Eagles have two tight ends that can create mismatches in the passing game.

Travis Beckum will also be used as a pass-catcher and should create some mismatches for the Giants.


Right Defensive End: Advantage Giants

Trent Cole is a magnificent and underrated every-down right end, but Osi Umenyiora is simply one of the best in the business. He terrorized Winston Justice in one game, and, though he is unlikely to reach the same level of success, he is constantly in other teams' backfields.

Right Defensive tackle: Advantage Eagles 

Chris Canty is making a position switch, while Broderick Bunkley had a breakout run at the end of the year last year and seems poised to be a force both against the pass and against the run.

Left Defensive Tackle: Even

Both Mike Patterson and Fred Robbins are experienced, brick wall-type run stuffers with playmaking ability.

Left Defensive End: Advantage Giants

Justin Tuck is a force to be reckoned with, while the Eagles' carousel has still not produced a consistent player. 

Depth: Even

The Giants have Rocky Bernard, Mathias Kiwanuka, and Barry Cofield; the Eagles have Darren Howard, Juqua Parker, Trevor Laws, Dan Klecko, and Chris Clemons. Both teams have great depth and ability to move guys around in different situations. 

Overall: Advantage Giants

The Giants will be able to generate significantly more of a pass rush, while both teams will be solid against the run.

WLB: Advantage Giants

Michael Boley is coming off a solid year in Atlanta. Akeem Jordan is a bit undersized and could lose his spot to Omar Gaither.

MLB: Advantage Eagles

Antonio Pierce was burned by Westbrook last year, while Stewart Bradley has the size, speed, and athleticism to be the next Brian Urlacher.

SLB: Even

Chris Gocong and Danny Clark are both solid, if unspectacular, 70-tackle players.

Overall: Even

Both teams have solid linebacking corps.


CB1: Advantage Eagles

Asante Samuel had a tough time getting used to Jim Johnson's system, but, once he did, it was smooth sailing.

Samuel had three interceptions in the last few games, including two in the playoffs, one of which he returned for a touchdown and another was returned to the two yard-line.

He's the second-best cornerback in football and is poised for a huge season.

The Giants are also set for the position with playmaking cornerback Corey Webster.  However, while both have lockdown abilities, I give Samuel the edge because of his playmaking ability to both force a turnover and be dangerous on the return.

However, both the Giants and Eagles are set at this position.

CB2: Advantage Eagles

Assuming Sheldon Brown is playing, he has the experience and was scored on just once last year. Aaron Ross is solid, but Brown is an elite corner and probably the best No. 2 corner in the league.

Nickel: Advantage Eagles

Terrell Thomas is another inexperienced player, while both Joselio Hanson and Ellis Hobbs are experienced corners.

Hobbs was the No. 2 corner for a Super Bowl team.

FS: Advantage Giants

Kenny Phillips improved greatly last year, while free safety is still a bit of an unknown. If Demps plays, I think Phillips' experience gives him the edge.

However, if Sean Jones starts at strong safety and the Eagles slide Quintin Mikell to this side, give the Eagles a huge edge.

Mikell is the best safety in the division. 

SS: Advantage Eagles

No matter how you slice it, the Eagles have the edge here. Quintin Mikell is a playmaker, while Sean Jones had five interceptions last year. Michael Johnson had a nice year for a rookie, but he is still improving as a player.

No matter who starts here, I would give the Eagles an advantage. 

Overall Secondary: Advantage Eagles

The teams are fairly well-matched.

The thing to notice is that neither team has a huge advantage at any position. The teams have very few to no weaknesses.

Should be entertaining NFC East battle.

In terms of matchups

I like the Eagles' secondary over the Giants' wide receivers, and I think the Giants' run game will be a bit of a stalemate. Jacobs will have a couple of big runs, but for the most part the Eagles will limit the bleeding.

Expect 17-20 points for the Giants.

On the other side, the Giants will be one of the few teams the Eagles will fail to light the scoreboard up against. The run will be almost completely shut down, but I believe the Eagles will make plays on short passes to Brian Westbrook, Lesean McCoy, Brent Celek, and Desean Jackson to keep the chains moving on back-breaking third downs.

Expect about 20 points for the Eagles. 

These will be close, tough games.

I expect turnovers to be the deciding outcome. In addition to having a slightly smoother offense, I think the Eagles are better at taking care of the ball and forcing turn overs, so I give them a slight edge head-to-head (though I think they will split the season series). 

In terms of facing the rest of the league, both teams should have a similar level of success because each has the ability to dominate other teams in certain aspects.