Here is our weekly look at what we're watching for this Sunday's Eagles game against the Giants:
1. The turnover battle The Eagles went into the first Giants game with just nine giveaways in their first eight games. In the four games since then, they’ve got 12. The Giants have lost the turnover battle in just two games, the last one in Week 6. In the seven games since then, they’ve forced 20 takeaways.
2. Giants’ ground game: The Eagles’ MO will be the same as always: stop the run, then go after the quarterback. That first part didn’t work so well in Eagles-Giants I. Brandon Jacobs & Co. attacked the edges and rushed for 219 yards as the Giants controlled the football for nearly 40 minutes. Eagles’ front four needs to control the line of scrimmage and force Jacobs to do more east-west running than he’s used to.
3. Third-down offense: The Eagles converted 10 of 15 third-down opportunities in their Thanksgiving night win over the Cardinals. But in the five games before that, they were just 18-for-70 (25.7 percent), including 3-for-11 in Eagles-Giants I. Eagles’ third-down ineptness along with the Giants’ rushing success allowed the Giants to run 20 more offensive plays than the Eagles.
4. Getting McNabb going: Before the Arizona game, the Eagles had scored just seven points in the first quarter of their previous five games. Reason No. 1 was their quarterback’s rocky starts. In the first Giants game, he completed just three of his first 12 passes for a grand total of 17 yards. Considering that this one is being played in enemy territory, McNabb and the Eagles need to get off to a good start and let the Giants know this one’s going to be a 60-minute war.
5. Akers’ Meadowlands woes: David Akers has nailed his last 14 field-goal attempts, but none has been longer than 42 yards. On top of that, Giants Stadium and its swirling winds seem to completely freak him out. He’s 6-for-13 lifetime there and has converted — are you ready for this? — just three from 35-plus yards in the Meadowlands. If this game comes down to his leg late in the fourth quarter, be afraid. Be very afraid.