What we're watching in Sunday's Eagles-Giants game:
1. Ready, set, go. Marty Mornhinweg’s play-scripting has worked to near-perfection lately. In the Eagles’ last 5 games, they’ve scored 6 TDs and 2 field goals and have averaged 10.1 yards per play on their first 2 possessions of the game. Fast starts have been critical to their success this season. In their 6 wins, they’ve scored 76 points in the first quarter. In their 3 losses, just 3 points.
2. Protect and serve. Michael Vick already has missed 3 games with a rib cartilage injury and now is going up against a fierce Giants pass rush that has KO’d 5 quarterbacks this season. The Eagles have used a lot of maximum protection to give Michael Vick time to throw, and also have been getting him out on the perimeter with bootlegs and sprintouts. But Vick has to be smart when he runs because the Giants are going to be going for the kill shot.
3. Defending the run. The Giants are fifth in the league in rushing. They’ve averaged 167.7 rushing yards per game in their last 4 games, and with their receiving corps banged up, running the ball will be a point of emphasis for them Sunday night. But the Eagles have held their last 5 opponents to 3.6 yards per carry and have allowed just 8 runs of 10 yards or more in the last 104 attempts, including 2 Monday night in fourth-quarter garbage time.
4. Tale of the turnovers. The Eagles are one of the best takeaway teams in the league this season. They’re tied for first with 21 takeaways and are first in interceptions with 16 after collecting 3 more Monday night v. the Redskins. The Giants, on the other hand, are 31st in the league in giveaways with 25. They’ve turned the ball over at least twice in 7 of their 9 games. Giants are just 3-3 this season when Eli Manning has thrown at least one interception.
5. Third down. The Eagles’ offense is fifth in the league in third-down efficiency with a 44.4 percent success rate. That’s the highest in the Andy Reid era. In their last 4 games, they’ve converted 32 of 60 third-down opportunities (53.3). That’s the good news. The bad news is the Giants are first in the league in third down defense (28.9). Their last 3 opponents have converted just 4 of 29 third-down chances. – Paul Domowitch
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