Saturday, January 10, 2009
Tomorrow afternoon the Philadelphia Eagles will face off against the defending champions New York Giants in the second round of the NFL Playoffs. Now you obviously know who I think will win. Tomorrow will be a tough game for both teams. It will be a low-scoring, defensive game where no team pulls away until maybe the end. I will compare several aspects of the way these teams play the game:
The Running Game
The Giants running game is one of the best in the league. Brandon Jacobs is an absolute Juggernaut when running it up the gut. He defies logic. He is bigger than a defensive end and can run just as fast as any other running back. Jacobs is coming back from an injury. An important note is that the Giants beat the Eagles in the first game they played with Jacobs but the Eagles beat the Giants late in the season when they were without him. Reliable backups Derrick Ward and Ahmad Bradshaw will come in to relieve Jacobs.
The Eagles also have a very good rushing attack, too bad their coach doesn't know that. Brain Westbrook is one of the versatile players in the entire league. He can run up the middle. He can use his speed to get outside. He can line up as a receiver. But his specialty is a screen pass, which he is liable to break open for 30-plus yards. All you have to do is give him space.
Slight Edge to the Giants (mostly because Andy Reid doesn't believe in running the ball)
The Passing Game
Both of these teams can throw the ball well (let's use that term loosely). Giants quarterback Eli Manning can throw well when he has time. But when he doesn't have time, he will sputter like a deer in the headlights. I will guarantee it. The Giants miss Plaxico Burress, even though they won't admit it. He was their red zone target because of his size.
Donovan McNabb can be a good quarterback. It really depends on how he starts off the game. If he leads the Eagles to a touchdown on the first drive, he'll probably have a good game. Now if he throws an interception on the first drive, the receivers will be getting the ball at their feet for the rest of the game. Wide out Jason Avant has been clutch on third downs this season.
Predicted Score: 24-14, Eagles advance to NFC Championship