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Showdown with Big Blue

As much as everyone is expecting the Eagles to dismantle the Giants, with the same ease as they did in that second meeting during the regular season, it will be a much tougher match up this time around. The final score didn’t display how much the Birds actually controlled the entire game, up until the final minute when Eli put the offense’s 1st points of the day up to make the score look respectable.

This game might be somewhere in between that game and the 1st match up, which did not look as good for the Eagles defense.

The 1st meeting this season, the Giants running backs stomped through our defense and gave every Eagles fan flashbacks of the Saints play-off game where we just couldn’t get a stop on Deuce McAllister to give the offense a chance to do anything.

Things have changed since then, mostly our defense being the 3rd overall defense in the league this season, and that’s even with the beat down the Eagles defense took during the 1st match up.

There’s a number of reasons to be concerned, but we’ll highlight the major issues going into this Divisional Round match up with last year’s Super Bowl champs.

1) Brandon Jacobs – Even though he did play in the second meeting, he was playing on a bad knee and eventually left the game in the 3rd quarter. And still he managed to average 5 yds a carry, even with the offense handcuffed most of the day. I expect him to come out strong, rested, and ready to test this improved run defense. This will be the biggest test of the season for our young linebackers. This is when it matters most. Bradley, Gocong, & Jordan – this is your moment. All the praise this season will mean nothing if you get run over in the play-offs. {ask Sean Considine}

2) Brian Westbrook 100%? – Aside from the fact that he is the ultimate Giant killer, ever since his game winning punt return that sparked a run for the Eagles in 2003, he always seems to produce against the G-men. But this has been a rough season for #36, with a long list of injuries that have held him back from putting up the record breaking numbers he had in 2007, he’s limping into the postseason and is still the most dangerous weapon on this team. Aside from his amazing touchdown on a screen pass last week against the Vikings, his numbers were very un-Westbrook like. Hopefully he can put together another back breaking performance, and put his team in the Conference Championship this season.

3) N.Y. D-line
– You might be surprised to look at the stats from last week and see the Vikings had 3 sacks on Mcnabb considering how the flow of the game went. Now the Giants have a more pressure based line then the Vikings, and to make matters worse, RT Jon Runyan has a knee injury that could effect his performance against DE Tuck, who has emerged this season as his new enemy on that N.Y. line. Hopefully the Eagles offense line holds up enough to give Mcnabb time to find his receivers, if not, it could be a long day.

4) Eli Manning – His numbers during that 2nd match up were horrible up until that last drive during garbage time, but if you review the game, he did have some receivers open at times, they just didn’t make the play. I’ve never been a fan of Eli, but you must respect the improvements he’s made since last season. He’s no longer the weak link or just Peyton’s brother, but a threat that must be defended. Burress is a big missing piece that no one in N.Y. will admit, but it has shown this season. Toomer, Smith, & Hixon are not going to give anyone nightmares, but can be effective when
combined with an effective run game. In the end, it all goes back to my 1st point in this article. Control the run – Control the game.

Now after all that, I have to say, I feel pretty good going into the game and expect the Eagles to come out of this WAR with a victory.

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