Both the Eagles and Giants come into Sunday's clash with a 9-4 record. The Eagles have won 5 of their last 6 games, and the Giants are riding a three-game win streak. Whoever wins will own the lead in the NFC East with just two more games to go. The last time these two teams faced each other, Philadelphia won 27-17.
Michael Vick won the quarterback competition in that game and threw for 258 yards. Though the formidable Giants defense held him from throwing a touchdown in that game, he did rush for one, and Running Back LeSean McCoy ran for 111 yards and a touchdown.
These two teams may have equal win-loss records on paper, but they have vastly different strengths and weaknesses. At quarterback Vick (187-294, 2,513 yards, 17 TDs, 4 INTs, 483 yards rushing, 7 TDs) is way more mobile and much more accurate than Eli Manning (282-438, 3,169 yards, 24 TDs 19 INTs, 47 yards rushing, no TDs). The running game is balanced more toward the Giants with the tandem of Ahmad Bradshaw (1,116 yards, 8 TDs) and Brandon Jacobs (693 yards, 8 TDs) always ready to explode and put up huge yardage totals.
While the Eagles defense leads the league in Interceptions, Eli Manning has thrown more interceptions than any other QB thus far this season. Though the Eagles' offense ranks second in average points per game (28.8) and first in total yards per game (402.8), the defense is not so formidable. The Eagles rank 20th with a points allowed total of 23.7 and sit at 17th in the passing yards allowed column with an average of 224.3.
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The forecast for the game calls for wind and snow, so the running game might just be more of a factor than the passing game despite the marquee quarterback match-up in this one. LeSean McCoy (972 yards, 7 TDs) outperformed the running tandem of the Giants in the last game, but this game won't be the same. Both Jacobs and Bradshaw have been pivotal to the Giants in their last three wins.
The defensive edge goes to the Giants since they are second in the league in total yards and passing yards allowed. The offensive edge goes to the Eagles due to the mobility of Vick, his superior accuracy, and the higher yards-per-catch average of top receivers DeSean Jackson (23.1) and Jeremy Maclin (14.6).
This game has all the ingredients for what should be an absolute slugfest. Look for this game to be close if Manning's accuracy is above average this time out. If not, and if the running game for the Giants doesn't win the day, the Eagles and Vick will literally run away with this game. Assante Samuel is back on the Eagles defense for this game, and he picked off Manning twice in the last game. The Eagles have also won five in a row against their division rivals, and Sunday could be the sixth. The Giants might be able to close the gap and make this one closer than the last, but it will be a tough one for them to win if they continue to be plagued by turnovers.
The Eagles should win by a touchdown or more, and their defense should play a huge role. Vick will of course be an important cog in the machine, but if the wind is whipping at the Meadowlands he'll have to get it done more with his feet than his arm. Since Manning lacks the kind of scrambling and rushing ability Vick brings to the table, he'll rely on the pass and his running backs, but the Eagles' defense will be ready for both and will perform above average on Sunday to seal the division lead with just two games left in the season.