Tuesday, September 23, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

Eagles vs. Giants Scouting Report

LeSean McCoy and Brandon Jacobs lead their teams´ rushing games. (Staff and AP Photo)
LeSean McCoy and Brandon Jacobs lead their teams' rushing games. (Staff and AP Photo)
Recent history: The Eagles have defeated the Giants five times in a row, including Nov. 21 at the Linc, 27-17. New York leads the series, 81-72-2.

OFFENSE

Eagles: 402.8 yards per game (1st)

Giants: 385.4 yards per game (4th)

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  • Quarterback

    Eagles: The Giants held Mike Vick to a season-worst 83.0 passer rating in the first meeting. They kept him in the pocket or forced him to his right. It was the only game he's started and finished in which he didn't throw a TD pass. The Giants are the only team to hold him under 7 yards per passing attempt (6.8).

    Giants: Eli Manning has an NFL-high 19 interceptions, including three in the Giants' Nov. 21 loss to the Eagles. The absence of his go-to third-down guy, Steve Smith, really has hurt him. Manning is 29th in the league in third-down passing with a 52.9 rating. Twelve of his 19 picks have come on third down.

    Pick: Eagles

    Running back

    Eagles: About the only flaw in LeSean McCoy's game might be his inability to break tackles, and at this early point in his career that's being picky. He's fifth in the league in yards from scrimmage and is coming off a 149-yard rushing performance vs. Dallas. He's got 70 receptions and has developed into a dependable blocker.

    Giants: Since being held to 61 rushing yards by the Eagles, the Giants' ground game has been nearly unstoppable. They've averaged 181.7 rushing yards per game in three straight wins. Brandon Jacobs, who had just 78 rushing attempts in the first 10 games, is coming off back-to-back 100-yard performances.

    Pick: Eagles

    Receiving

    Eagles: DeSean Jackson is coming off a 210-yard receiving performance vs. Dallas. He has eight catches of 40-plus yards and 19 of 20 yards or more. In their last three games vs. Giants, Jackson and Jeremy Maclin have combined for 27 receptions, 473 yards and three TDs. Jackson is nursing a foot injury.

    Giants: The loss of Steve Smith has left Eli Manning without his most productive third-down target. In the eight games Smith played this season, the Giants had a 37.6 third-down success rate. In the five he's been out: 32.2. Making matters worse, the other two top WRs – Hakeem Nicks and Mario Manningham – also are hurting.

    Pick: Eagles

    Offensive line

    Eagles: LT Jason Peters and LG Todd Herremans are playing at a Pro Bowl level. The athleticism of the line has been a big reason for the Eagles' screen success. Whoever plays RT – Winston Justice or King Dunlap – is going to need help with DE Justin Tuck. Justice struggled in one-on-one matchups with Tuck on Nov. 21.

    Giants: This unit is getting healthy at just the right time. LT David Diehl returned last week after missing four games with hip and hamstring injuries. C Shaun O'Hara (foot) has missed nine games, but has a chance to play, which would put this unit at full strength for the first time since Week 4.

    Pick: Giants

    DEFENSE

    Eagles: 327.8 yards per game (12th)

    Giants: 281.1 yards per game (2nd)

    Defensive line

    Eagles: Mike Patterson doesn't get a lot of attention, but he is quietly having a Pro Bowl-caliber year. He and Antonio Dixon have done an exceptional job against the run. Dixon not only is playing the run well, but has developed into the team's best interior pass-rusher, getting much-needed push up the middle.

    Giants: The Giants are tied for the league lead in sacks with 39. The emergence of rookie first-rounder Jason Pierre-Paul to a pass-rushing line that already includes Osi Umenyiora and Justin Tuck, makes this unit a handful for opposing offensive lines. Umenyiora, Tuck and Pierre-Paul have combined for 22 1/2 sacks.

    Pick: Giants

    Linebacker

    Eagles: Eagles have allowed more than 110 rushing yards just once in the last nine games. But their run defense will be tested. The Giants have averaged 181.7 rushing yards per game the last three games and the Eagles will be without MLB Stewart Bradley. Inexperienced rookie Jamar Chaney will replace him at MIKE.

    Giants: MLB Jon Goff isn't a particularly physical player and frequently has trouble shedding blocks. Thirty-three-year-old SLB Keith Bulluck pretty much is running on fumes. Like Jeremiah Trotter late in his career, he doesn't have much range. The Giants often pull Bulluck and go with a three-safety package.

    Pick: Even

    Secondary

    Eagles: In nine games with Asante Samuel, opposing QBs had a 68.3 passer rating and averaged an interception every 18.4 attempts. In the four games he's missed, they have a 104.3 rating and are averaging a pick every 26.2 attempts. Samuel had two of his NFL-high seven picks in first meeting.

    Giants: The Giants have given up just 15 TD passes in 13 games. In the first meeting, Mike Vick had a season-low 83.0 passer rating vs. Giants and didn't have a TD pass. CBs Terrell Thomas and Corey Webster have combined for eight interceptions, but have struggled against DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin.

    Pick: Even

    Special teams

    Eagles: At 36, David Akers is kicking better than ever. He has converted 23 of his last 24 field-goal attempts (the lone miss was blocked), and is third in the league in kickoff touchbacks with a career-high 22. With DeSean Jackson nursing a foot injury, Jorrick Calvin probably will handle both KRs and PRs.

    Giants: The Giants' return game has been very unproductive. They're 31st in KRs and 31st in PRs. Rookie P Matt Dodge is fifth in the league in gross average (46.4), but 27th in net average (36.1). Giants are third in the league in KO coverage, though (19.5). PK Lawrence Tynes (16-for-19) hasn't missed an FG since Week 4.

    Pick: Eagles

    KEY MATCHUPS

    1. Eagles RT Winston Justice or King Dunlap vs. Giants LDE Justin Tuck: Tuck had three sacks in first meeting. He has 8 1/2 overall to go with three forced fumbles. Justice missed last week's game with a knee injury, and had his share of problems with Tuck the first time when he was healthy. Advantage: Giants

    2. Eagles WRs DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin vs. Giants CBs Corey Webster and Terrell Thomas: Jackson and Maclin have combined for 27 catches, 473 yards and three TDs in the last three games vs. Giants. Advantage: Eagles

    3. Eagles MLB Jamar Chaney vs. Giants RBs Brandon Jacobs and Ahmad Bradshaw: Chaney, a seventh-round rookie, is making his first NFL start, in place of injured Stewart Bradley. Jacobs and Bradshaw have combined for 419 rushing yards in the last two games. Advantage: Giants

    Hot and Not

    HOT

    Eagles: WR DeSean Jackson. His 210 receiving yards vs. Dallas were the third most in franchise history.

    Giants: RB Brandon Jacobs. Jacobs is averaging 8.5 yards per carry the last three games and has back-to-back 100-yard performances.

    NOT

    Eagles: KR Jorrick Calvin. Calvin hasn't had a return longer than 31 yards since Week 10 and got a knuckleheaded unsportsmanlike-conduct penalty late in the Cowboys game that could have been costly.

    Giants: QB Eli Manning. Threw two interceptions and averaged just 5.05 yards per attempt last Monday vs. Vikings.

    Domowitch's prediction: Eagles 20, Giants 17

    Paul Domowitch
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