Monday, February 8, 2016

Eagles-Giants: What to watch

With the game a few hours away, here are a few elements we'll be keeping our eyes on today, plus links below to the Inquirer's full Sunday preview.

Eagles-Giants: What to watch

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Eagles quarterback Michael Vick will start today for the Eagles. (Yong Kim/Staff Photographer)
Eagles quarterback Michael Vick will start today for the Eagles. (Yong Kim/Staff Photographer)

With the game a few hours away, here are a few elements we'll be keeping our eyes on today, plus links below to the Inquirer's full Sunday preview.

Ballhandling
Mike Vick has been dangerous on the run (against the Rams) and through the air (against the Falcons). But he needs to take care of the ball. Vick has 14 turnovers in his last nine games, including three last week. The Giants, meanwhile, led the NFL in forced fumbles last season, according to Eagles offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg. New York has yet to intercept a pass this season. Vick doesn't want to end their slide.

Mr. Smith
Ex-Giant Steve Smith did everything he could to dodge questions this week about facing his old team. But he was a much bigger part of the Eagles offense in Week 2, and you can expect his role to increase as he grows more comfortable. A big day would be a major Week 3 statement to a team that didn't think he'd be ready this early in the season.

Linebacker shuffle
It's the same players but new positions for the Eagles linebackers. Against a team that needs to run because of injuries to its wide receivers, is the new alignment an improvement? Or do the same problems just arrive from new angles? At least there's no Hall of Fame tight end to torment them this week.

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Tanks on 'E'?
The fire-breathing defensive line ran out of steam against the Falcons without rotation ends Darryl Tapp and Juqua Parker. Both will be out again, possibly forcing Cullen Jenkins to end. Can the line keep up its frenetic pace and get pressure late?

Third down
The Eagles let the Falcons take the lead on two long drives last week. But the Giants rank 29th in third-down conversions. Could be an opportunity for the defense.

Dancing with the stars
Home games give Eagles starters a chance to run through the smoke and deliver a personalized celebration to open the game. Do any of the many new faces add some personal flair to the pregame ceremonies? Our money is on Jenkins - the big guy has a well-developed sense of humor.

The rest of our Eagles-Giants preview is online here on Philly.com and in the Inquirer today.

McLane has a look at how teams are targeting Vick, and the risks for the quarterback playing seven days after suffering a concussion.

Tamari has team-wide scouting reports on the Eagles-Giants match ups and an analysis of the positives and negatives of the linebacker shuffle we'll see unveiled today.

Bob Ford weighs in with his take on the linebackers, and what it says about defensive coordinator Juan Castillo.

McLane and Tamari posted our game predictions Friday. We're each 2-0, and we've got a feeling most people reading here hope we keep our clean records.

Let us know what you're eager to see in today's game, and who you think gets the W. Should be a fun Sunday.

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Birds' Eye View is the Inquirer's blog covering all things Philadelphia Eagles and the NFL.

Jeff McLane Staff Writer
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