Sunday, January 11, 2009

What to Expect: Gaints vs Eagles

The game between the Giants and Eagles might be the greatest one in this year's playoffs. It will be a close, hard fought, and intense match up. So let us cut to the chase:

Both teams are going to rely heavily on defense. First on the Giants side, they need to make sure to contain Brian Westbrook. Westbrook is very dangerous on the running attack and even as a wide receiver. They must know where Brian Westbrook is at all times. Whether he is split out wide or in the backfield, someone must be on him. If Westbrook is in the backfield, linebacker Antonio Pierce will most likely have his eye on him. If Westbrook is split out wide, he is good enough to earn himself a corner which will open up other options for Donovan Mcnabb. The Giants secondary needs to be tight and they need to be smart. The Giants are a blitzing defense. If they bring the blitz, they need to make sure they are getting to Donovan Mcnabb. If the blitz is not working, the Giants may need to drop some more people back to stop the big play.

Main Key for Giants Defense: Know where Westbrook is and play tight, smart defense.

On the Eagles side, they need to watch for big Brandon Jacobs and of course Eli Manning. The Giants of course do not have Burress so they probably do not have to double cover anyone. The Giants are known for a power running game with Jacobs and if they can stop Jacobs, the Giants will be in trouble. If Jacobs is contained early, Eli Manning will be forced to pass more. Without Plaxico Burress, defending the pass game of the Giants has gotten much easier.

Main Key for Eagles Defense: Put the game in the hands of Eli Manning.

On the offensive side for the Giants, they need to establish the running game. They need to use a good mix of the powerful Jacobs followed by the speedy Derrick Ward. People constantly mention Ahmad Bradshaw. I personally believe the Giants need to use him more but the bottom line is, the Giants have really only been using him in the 4th quarter if at all. Don't expect Bradshaw to get moe than 6 carries. If the Giants can establish the run early, Eli Manning needs to make good use of the play action. Eli must also spread the ball to everyone. Everyone means Kevin Boss, Michael Mathews, Madison Hedgecock, Brandon Jacobs, Derrick Ward, Amani Toomer, Sinorice Moss, Mario Manningham, Domenik Hixon, and Steve Smith. If every one of those players have at least one reception, plus the Giants can establish the running game, the Eagles will be lost on defense.

Main Key for Giants Offense: Establish the run early and spread the ball around to everyone.

For the Eagles offensively, they need to establish the run with Westbrook. Mcnabb needs to recognize where the Giants are blitzing from and have Westbrook rush in the opposite direction away from the defense. The Eagles also need to give the Giants many different looks. Put Westbrook wide, or in the slot. Put him on the left side, right side. The Eagles need to confuse the Giants defense and cause mismatches. They can do the same with LJ Smith. He can block but you can also put him in the slot or on the outside. Mcnabb has lost some of his mobility over the years but he may have to get some back with the Giants pass rush. Mcnabb needs to be able to move and make passes on the run.

Main Key for Eagles Offense: Establish Westbrook and show the Giants many
different looks.

Prediction: These teams know each other very well. Home field for the Giants means absolutely nothing in this game. Giants stadium does not rattle the Eagles. This game may come down to the very end and may even go into Overtime. But Mcnabb need not worry as there are no ties in the playoffs.

Final Score: Giants 23 Eagles 21

Mark Elliot Wishnia <---------------------------CLICK!
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