UPDATED: The Giants have downgrades wide receiver Mario Manningham to out and he did not make the trip with the team to Philly.
Manningham suffered a concussion Monday night against the Rams and had been listed as doutbful. He did not practice all week.
The Giants already are without wide receiver Domenik Hixon, who tore his ACL for the second time in 15 months.
It looks like Victor Cruz will start with Hakeem Nicks as the Giants receivers.
Here are the five things we will be watching when the Eagles host the Giants on Sunday:
Air Assault. One of the Eagles’ greatest strengths is their receiving corps and one of the Giants’ biggest weaknesses is their pass defense. Both Sam Bradford and Rex Grossman torched the Giants for 300-plus yards. The weakest link is cornerback Aaron Ross, an injury-prone former first-rounder who hasn’t lived up to expectations. Regardless of who starts at quarterback Sunday, he’ll almost certainly go after Ross.
Dealing With the Giants’ Run Game. The Eagles have given up 292 rushing yards in their first two games. That coupled with a depleted Giants receiving corps means the Birds are going to get a heavy dose of Brandon Jacobs and Ahmad Bradshaw, at least early. Eagles have allowed 6.6 yards per carry on first down and already have been torched for 10 double-digit runs in two games, including that momentum-swinging 61-yarder in the fourth quarter last week by the Falcons’ Michael Turner.
Eliminating turnovers. The Eagles turned the ball over three times Sunday – twice on Mike Vick fumbles and once on a Vick interception. The Falcons scored 14 points off of those turnovers. One of them also killed an Eagles’ scoring opportunity. Take away those giveaways and the Eagles would’ve won in a walk. Giants forced two turnovers in last week’s win over the Rams.
Protecting Mr. X. The Eagles’ offensive line played better in Week 2 than it did in Week 1 and needs to continue that improvement this week regardless of who lines up behind center. They won’t have to deal with dome noise, but they will have to deal with a formidable Giants pass rush that is expected to get Osi Umenyiora back this week. Defensive coordinator Perry Fewwell also frequently likes to bring his corners and safeties off the edge.
Red Zone Redux? Last year, the Eagles’ defense had the worst red-zone percentage in the league in the last quarter century. Allowed touchdowns on an astounding 76.7 percent of their opponents’ trips inside the 20. With all of the offseason additions on defense, it was supposed to be better this year. Then, last week, the Falcons went 5-for-5 in the red zone against the Eagles. – Paul Domowitch