I took a closer look at the Giants' win against the Vikings Monday night. Here are my observations with a spin on how they relate to today's game, along with some important numbers sprinkled in.
When the Giants have the ball...
* The name of the game for the Eagles' D is to create turnovers. The Giants have given the ball away 33 times - more than any other team in the NFL. It starts with Eli Manning, who's been intercepted 19 times. The Eagles are second in the league with 30 takeaways.
* The biggest concern today for the defense is the linebackers. Everyone is talking about the loss of Stewart Bradley, but Ernie Sims has really struggled the last two games. JaMar Chaney was OK last week, but going up against this physical Giants offense is going to be a huge challenge. The Giants had some success last week with play-action. The linebackers have to be good against the run, but disciplined against play-action passes.
* To go along with that point, the linebackers will have to stick with the Giants running backs and tight ends in coverage. Last week, 12 of Manning's 22 pass attempts were to running backs or tight ends. Other than Hakeem Nicks, no wide receiver had more than one catch. Last week against Dallas, the Eagles allowed 242 passing yards, and 158 of those went to running backs and tight ends.
* Sean McDermott's group needs to win on third down. Last week, against the Vikings, Manning was just 6-for-11 for 24 yards and two interceptions on third down. On the season, he's completing 51.5 percent of his passes with eight touchdowns, 12 interceptions and a QB rating of 52.9 on third down. Obviously, not having Steve Smith is a huge factor there.
* Against the run, the Eagles will have their hands full with Brandon Jacobs and Ahmad Bradshaw. Each guy had a run of 40-plus yards last week. Both of those runs went to the left side. On the season though, they've had pretty much equal success running to the right and left sides. Jacobs leads all NFC running backs, averaging 6.08 yards per carry. Bradshaw leads the NFC with 34 carries of 10 yards or more. Antonio Dixon has been the biggest difference-maker against the run. Look for him to be on the field a lot. I think the defensive line will hold up against the run. But the linebackers might be a different story.
* No. 88 is the guy to watch in the passing game. Nicks is among the league leaders in several categories, despite having missed two games due to injury. He's fifth overall, averaging 81.5 yards per game. He's tied for 15th overall with eight catches of 20 yards or more. Nicks has been targeted 110 times, 13th-most in the league. And he has 46 receiving first downs, tied for ninth-most. We'll find out if Asante Samuel is playing or not around 11:30 a.m.
* The Giants have the 11th-best red zone offense in the NFL. As you know, the Eagles' defense is worst in the league in the red zone, allowing opponents to score touchdowns on nearly 78 percent of their possessions.
* The Giants have allowed just 13 sacks all season, fewest in the league.
* The Giants had three scoring drives last week. One came in the final minutes of the first half. Manning thrives in that situation. He's completing over 65 percent of his passes in the final two minutes of the half and has a QB rating of 114.6.
* While there's a lot of focus on the Giants' ground game, this team can still hit on big plays. Manning's completed 28 passes of 25 yards or more, fourth-most in the league.
When the Eagles have the ball...
* The Giants' run game was dominant against the Vikings, limiting Adrian Peterson to 26 yards on 14 carries (1.9 average). Peterson did not have a run of more than 7 yards.
* Linebacker Jonathan Goff, Osi Umenyiora and Chris Canty all made impressive plays behind the line of scrimmage. Rocky Bernard and Jason Pierre-Paul made nice plays against the run too. It was a complete team effort.
* The Giants rank ninth in red-zone defense. Opposing offenses have scored touchdowns on 47.06 percent of their chances.
* Opposing quarterbacks have a 73.1 QB rating against the Giants. That's third-lowest in the NFL.
* Keep an eye on No. 26 - Giants safety Antrel Rolle. He blitzed Vick often in the first meeting, and expect him to do so agian. The first time around, Vick was just 6-for-15 for 56 yards against the blitz. He was 18-for-23 for 202 yards when the Giants didn't blitz. New York blitzed on just over 38 percent of Vick's dropbacks.
* The Giants lead the NFL with 31 takeaways. The Eagles have turned it over 15 times, second-fewest in the league. Vick, however, has four interceptions in his last three games. He's had at least one turnover in four straight.
On Saturday night, I rounded up picks for Eagles-Giants. And at 1, as always, I'll be chatting the game.
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