Eagles-Giants scouting report

Posted: November 07, 2008

Recent history: The Giants won both games last season and lead the series, 81-68-2.

Offense

Eagles: 368.4 yards per game (6th)

Giants: 371.4 yards per game (5th)

Quarterback

Eagles: Donovan McNabb struggled against the Giants last season, throwing one touchdown and averaging only 5.20 yards per attempt, though he spent the first meeting running/limping for his life. He's regained most of his mobility, which will allow him to extend plays and put pressure on the secondary.

Giants: Eli Manning has become a much more efficient passer than he was at this point last year. His yards per attempt are up (from 6.31 to 6.94), his completion percentage is up (from .561 to .612) and his interceptions are down (from 1 every 26.4 attempts to 1 every 50).

PICK: EAGLES

Running back

Eagles: The Giants have not had much success neutralizing Brian Westbrook. In his last four games against them, he's averaged 142 yards from scrimmage and 5.4 yards per rushing attempt. The Giants will try to hold up Westbrook when he releases out of the backfield and becomes a receiver.

Giants: Using a three-headed rushing attack headed by 264-pound Brandon Jacobs and Derrick Ward, the Giants have morphed into the Steelers. In the last five games, they've averaged 32.4 rushing attempts to 28.8 passing attempts. Jacobs (5.2 yards per carry) is the truck, Ward (6.1) the sports car.

PICK: EAGLES

Receiver

Eagles: Eagles wide receivers have 102 receptions in eight games, but just four TDs, which is only two more than Correll Buckhalter and Todd Herremans. Kevin Curtis has played 118 of 144 offensive snaps in the two games since his return from a sports hernia. He's got nine catches for 128 yards.

Giants: The Giants' potent ground game is going to have the Eagles' LBs in attack mode, which could leave them susceptible to play-action passes to the tight end. TE Kevin Boss has seven catches in the last two games, but injured his ankle vs. Cowboys. WR Plaxico Burress has been a matchup nightmare for the Eagles.

PICK: GIANTS

Offensive line

Eagles: Donovan McNabb has been sacked just 13 times in 288 attempts, or once every 22.2 attempts. That's far and away the best attempts-per-sack ratio of his career. The line has committed just nine penalties in the first eight games, and just three in the last four. They've only been flagged for holding three times.

Giants: This group has developed into one of the best all-around blocking units - pass protection and run-blocking - in the league. Any doubts about David Diehl's ability to move from LG to LT were long ago erased. Giants are second in the league in rushing and Eli Manning has been sacked just 10 times.

PICK: GIANTS

Defense

Eagles: 280.4 yards per game (5th)

Giants: 260.4 yards per game (3rd)

Defensive line

Eagles: Jim Johnson seldom uses starting tackles Mike Patterson and Brodrick Bunkley in his passing-down packages, which has kept them fresh to play the run. Look for LE Juqua Parker to play less and bigger Victor Abiamiri to play more against the Giants' potent run game.

Giants: Michael Strahan's retirement and Osi Umenyiora's season-ending injury should have devastated this unit, but hasn't. Defensive boss Steve Spagnuolo moved Mathias Kiwanuka back to RE from SLB and the pass rush has been as lethal as ever. LE Jason Tuck (team-high eight sacks) moves inside on passing downs.

PICK: GIANTS

Linebacker

Eagles: This unit has 13 of the team's 30 tackles for losses, 5 1/2 sacks and three fumble recoveries. Those sacks are 3 1/2 more than they had all of last year. They've been solid against the run as the Eagles have allowed more than 86 rushing yards just twice. The LBs must be alert for play-action.

Giants: MLB Antonio Pierce is a sideline-to-sideline player with Pro Bowl skills. SLB Danny Clark is an adequate replacement for departed Kawika Mitchell. Chase Blackburn, who has replaced injured Gerris Wilkinson at WILL, is better suited for MIKE or SAM. Eagles might be able to exploit him in the passing game.

PICK: EAGLES

Secondary

Eagles: Eagles' height-challenged corners have not matched up very well against 6-5 Plaxico Burress, who has 36 catches and six TDs in seven games vs. Birds as a Giant. Perhaps Asante Samuel will have better luck. SS Quintin Mikell (92 tackles) has played a big role in the Eagles' success vs. the run.

Giants: The Giants have nine interceptions in the last three games after recording just two in the first five. CBs Aaron Ross and Corey Webster have developed into a reliable pair of cover men. SS James Butler injured his knee last week vs. Cowboys and may not play.

PICK: EVEN

Special teams

Eagles: PR DeSean Jackson (2nd in NFC) and KR Quintin Demps (6th) won't have the operating room against the Giants they had in Seattle. P Sav Rocca is 4th in the league in net average; he has just one touchback and 14 punts inside the 20 in 37 attempts. PK David Akers has converted his last nine FG attempts.

Giants: Giants' coverage units are among the best in the league. They're tied for second in kickoff coverage (20.1) and third in punt coverage (5.4). Ageless P Jeff Feagles has had just 11 of his 30 punts returned. PK John Carney has converted 18 of 19 FG attempts, but has been scary short with his kickoffs.

PICK: EVEN

Hot and not

HOT:

Eagles: TE Brent Celek. Had six catches for 131 yards last week against Seattle.

Giants: DE Justin Tuck. 5 of his team-high 8 sacks have come in the last three games.

NOT:

Eagles: RB Lorenzo Booker. Has just seven touches for 9 yards in the last five games.

Giants: WR Plaxico Burress. Has just 21 catches and three TDs in his last six starts.

Key matchups

1. Eagles RT Jon Runyan and RG Max Jean-Gilles vs. Giants LDE Justin Tuck: Tuck will line up both inside and outside depending on the scheme. Tuck's quickness could give Jean-Gilles problems. ADVANTAGE: GIANTS

2. Eagles LBs Stewart Bradley, Omar Gaither and Chris Gocong vs. Giants RB Brandon Jacobs: The 264-pound Jacobs is a load, but Eagles have held six of eight opponents to fewer than 90 rushing yards. ADVANTAGE: EAGLES

3. Eagles CB Asante Samuel vs. Giants WR Plaxico Burress: Burress has averaged 17.6 yards per catch in seven games against the Eagles. ADVANTAGE: GIANTS

Domowitch's prediction

Giants 16, Eagles 12

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