Sunday, September 30, 2012

What to Watch For: New York Giants vs. Philadelphia Eagles

Sunday, September 30, 2012
New York Giants vs. Philadelphia Eagles
What to Watch For

The Giants and Eagles will look to renew their rivalry tonight for the first time this season in primetime on Sunday Night Football.  This is a huge game for both teams, as the next time they meet will be the last week of the regular season.  Which ever team gets the win tonight will at worst keep pace with the Cowboys for first place in the division.

-Will the Giants Run Game Continue?

Ahmad Bradshaw will be making his return to the starting lineup tonight after missing last weeks game with what has been described as a “bulge” and “inflamed disk” in his neck.  While being out, Andre Brown has more than filled the void, rushing for 184 yards and two touchdowns in the last two games.  He has also given help in the passing game, adding five receptions and 36 yards.

Head coach Tom Coughlin and offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride both said the Giants would ride the hot hand in the game, so it will be interesting to see how the carries are divvied up. Brown has earned an expanded role in the offense and the more successful the Giants are running the ball, the less time Michael Vick, LeSean McCoy and the Eagles offense is on the field.

-LeSean McCoy vs. Osi Umenyiora

McCoy and Umenyiora will be continuing their rivalry tonight the first time the Eagles take the field.  They have developed a beef with each other that has been very public with a lot of the action taking place on twitter and through interviews.

The back and forth resembles something you would see on Monday Night Raw and seems playful, but McCoy and Umenyiora genuinely dislike each other.  Hopefully they meet each other tonight on the field and Umenyiora and the Giants can keep McCoy in check.

-Return to Where it All Began

Victor Cruz will be making his second appearance in Philadelphia, this time though as a starter.  Week three in Philadelphia is when Cruz burst onto the scene and the salsa touchdown dance was born thanks to a two touchdown performance against All-Pro Nnamdi Asomugha.

Hakeem Nicks is again out with injury, so Cruz will be asked to step up once again and build off his success against the Eagles after catching nine balls for 238 yards against them last year.  Look for Ramses Barden to also build off of his career and breakout performance against the Panthers in week 3, earning his second start in a row. 

-Keep Up the Pressure

Michael Vick has been getting beaten up this season and the Giants need to continue that trend.  The Giants had success last season because they hit Vick every chance presented to them, hitting him hard so that he remembers them and becomes more skittish.

Vick has more turnovers alone this season than every team in the NFL outside of the two.  He has thrown six interceptions and fumbled five times while losing three.  The Giants were able to lay a licking on Cam Newton last week and will have to try and do the same this week with the more fragile Vick. 

If the front led by Jason Pierre-Paul, Justin Tuck and Umenyiora can put pressure on Vick it will make the job of the rest of the defense that much easier.

The Giants-Eagles rivalry has been one-sided for the most part recently, with the Eagles taking seven of the last eight meetings including the 2008 playoff game.  It will not be easy for the Giants to turn around their fortunes, but if they want to win the NFC East they will have to beat the Eagles at least once if not twice.  

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