Sunday’s meeting between the New York Giants and Philadelphia Eagles is a matchup of teams that, for all intents and purposes, saved their seasons with victories last week.
Both NFC East rivals are 1-2, and when they meet Sunday night in the Meadowlands they will be trying to sort out which of them has a chance to be a contender, and which is likely to spend the season as a pretender.
Let’s break the game down.
When the Eagles have the ball
Which Eagles offense will show up? Will it be the one that dropped 56 points on Detroit last week? Or the one that scored 25 points and looked awful in two season-opening losses?
Of course, you have to ask the same question about the Giants defense. Will we see the unit that gave up 80 points in two season-opening losses, or the team that shut down Washington in a second-half comeback last week?
My guess? Both sides will meet somewhere in the middle.
For the Eagles, running back Brian Westbrook has been bothered by an abdominal strain and is listed as questionable. Westbrook is a thorn in the Giants side, and I’m sure they wouldn’t mind if he didn’t play. I doubt they will be that lucky, however.
Philly quarterback Donovan McNabb is coming off a four-touchdown, 381-yard passing performance.
The Giants, who have only four sacks so far this season, will need to pressure McNabb, or he will have another huge day.
Keep an eye on the Michael Strahan-Jon Runyan matchup. Those two have been going at it for years, and it’s always entertaining.
When the Giants have the ball
Brandon Jacobs has practiced some this week, but his status seems to be up in the air. Derrick Ward, who replaced Jacobs at running back, has been limited by an ankle injury all week. If neither Jacobs nor Ward can go at full strength Reuben Droughns might see his heaviest workload of the season.
Wide receiver Plaxico Burress has been dealing with an ankle injury, and has insisted he will play even though he has not been practicing.
The Giants are a big-play, quick-strike offense. With the Eagles blitzing style there will be opportunities for those big plays, provided the Giants can protect Eli Manning.
Prediction: Giants 31, Eagles 28
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