Week 17: Philadelphia Eagles At New York Giants
- QuarterbackNick Foles is not a very good quarterback at this point, but he is much improved since taking over for Michael Vick. He threw for 345 yards in the Eagles’ 27-20 Week 16 loss to the Redskins. Foles has a decent arm and can throw the ball accurately when he gets protection from his porous offensive line.Eli Manning had two good games in the second half of the season against the Green Bay Packers and New Orleans Saints, but his play has been below par in the Giants’ other games. The Giants have only the slimmest of chances to make the playoffs and the season has been a disappointment for Manning
- OffenseThe Eagles were happy to have LeSean McCoy back in the lineup against the Redskins, but he was held to 45 yards. He could do much better against the Giants vulnerable defense. Wide receiver Jeremy Maclin is the Eagles’ leading receiver and he has caught 65 passes for 835 yards and 6 TDs this season.The Giants appeared to have one of the most versatile and explosive offenses in the game for the first two-thirds of the season, but the team has struggled down the stretch. Rookie David Wilson has the speed to bust long running plays. Wide receivers Victor Cruz and Hakeem Nicks have not been able to make big plays in recent weeks.
- DefenseThe Eagles rank 15th in overall defense and 12th against the pass. Middle linebacker DeMeco Ryans is their most dependable tackler. He leads the team with 111 sacks this season. Cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie is solid in coverage and he has a team-high 20 passes defensed.The Giants have struggled on offense this year, but those struggles have been minor compared to the way the defense has played. The defending Super Bowl champions rank 27th in overall defense and 28th against the pass. Middle linebacker Chase Blackburn has continued to play with effort and he has registered 91 tackles and forced 4 fumbles this season.
- Special TeamsThe Eagles have struggled throughout the season with both punt and kickoff coverage. They have gotten a solid season from placekicker Alex Henery, who has made 27-of-30 field goal attempts this season.The Giants have gotten a lift from their special teams play this year. Wilson is averaging 26.9 yards per kickoff return and had a 97-yard kickoff return for a touchdown in Week 14 against the Saints. Steve Weatherford is averaging 47.5 yards per punt and Lawrence Tynes has made 33-of-39 FG attempts.
The Giants are on the outside of the playoff picture looking in, but they could somehow crash the party if they beat the Eagles, the Bears lose to the Lions, the Packers beat the Vikings and the Redskins take down the Cowboys. It’s unlikely that all of those games will unfold in the prescribed manner, but the Giants still have a chance if they can take care of business.