Michael Vick and Eli Manning will face off in an epic battle Sunday night with the Giants defense ranked right now as the best in the league and Vick coming off a stellar Monday night blowout of the Washington Redskins. Manning started the season with his team in crisis mode, but eventually their luck and winning percentage changed for the better. This is the lone night game for Sunday and should be one worth watching.
The Giants are coming off a statement beating put on them by the Dallas Cowboys, their first under their new head coach Jason Garrett. Prior to last Sunday Tom Coughlin's team had won five games in a row after a dismal 1-2 start to the season. Prior to the Cowboys owning the day against Manning and Coughlin, that team had only beaten one team all year: Houston (when Tony Romo was still the Cowboy Quarterback). This team picked a bad week for a slip up as they go into Philadelphia to face a barnstorming Michael Vick and his completely healthy squad looking to make a big move in the division by knocking the Giants out of first place.
The Giants are suffering from a very different injury report. Wide receiver Steve Smith is out with a bad foot, and this won't be Manning's only worry. Offensive Tackle David Diehl and Center Shaun O'Hara are also out, and Guard Shawn Andrews is questionable with a bad back.
Fortunately for the Giants, they have one of the best running tandems in the NFL with Ahmad Bradshaw (838 Yards) and Brandon Jacobs (377 Yards) sharing the load and taking pressure off Eli Manning to free up the throwing lanes. Jacobs and Bradshaw each have five touchdowns and will need to stay busy Sunday to keep Vick off the field and make the game about clock management and maintaining a balanced attack to stay in control. Manning is having a 19-touchdown year, but that awesome stat column is tainted by his unlucky 13 interception total. Michael Vick has absolutely no interceptions in over 150 attempts so far this year. Can the Giants #1 ranked defense contain him?
The Giants are keeping pace with the league leaders in sacks (25) and interceptions (13), and so far they are giving up an average of only 21 points per game. But, Michael Vick seems to be just warming up as the season gets deeper and every win in this competitive NFL year becomes more important.
Vick's dominating performance this past Monday led the Eagles to a franchise-record 592 total yards in a 59-28 win over Washington. On defense, Assante Samuel is second in the league with 5 interceptions. Dimitri Patterson is playing so well that another ex-Patriot (Ellis Hobbs) may lose the other starting cornerback job soon. The confidence level of this team is amazing.
The banged up Giants will have to execute a perfect game plan to edge out the Eagles, but the best bet is on Vick and his "Starship 7" support staff. The Eagles have beaten the Giants for four games straight in the rivalry, and Vick and his teammates wouldn't mind making it five in a row. After such a breakout performance on Monday night, Vick will take his second straight stint in the prime time spotlight as a call to action. He has everything to gain by performing well tonight (like bonus cash for meeting set benchmarks in his statistics) while Eli Manning has everything to lose, including whatever momentum the Giants had built up after their five-game winning streak hit the skids against the Cowboys.
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