This game will be a dogfight -- it won’t be pretty and it won’t be glamorous.
It'll be a war on turf.
To pick a winner is tough due to a few factors:
- Plaxico Burress, a thorn is the Eagles side for years now, is out of the Giants lineup
- The teams split their earlier meetings -- each winning on the other team's homefield.
- The weather in the Meadowlands could be cold and windy
The G-Men and the Birds are evenly matched football teams when each position is analyzed.
Here is how the division rivals match up:
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The Donovan McNabb of yesteryear would make this an easy pick. But, this is the McNabb of today -- he can be great or no so great.
Meanwhile, Giants QB Eli Manning can be expected to manage the game. He won't do anything spectacular and he won’t make the major mistakes.
Advantage: Toss Up
Eagles runner Brian Westbrook has more raw natural talent than any of the three backs in the Giants rushing trio but who knows how many attempts he will get.
The bottom line is that the Giants won't stop running the ball. They will keep pounding it and will not abandon the run.
This is where the loss of Burress really hurts Big Blue.
With Burress on board, opposing defenses had to use double teams that opened up the field for other receivers. Now defenses don’t really have to fear the receiving group, which helps to focus on run.
Despite the rants of many Philly fans, the Birds actually have a solid group of receivers. DeSean Jackson adds a game-changing playmaker to the arsenal.
Eagles fans sure wish they still had the trusty Chad Lewis. With L. J. Smith they have no clue what to expect and Brent Celek remain unproven.
The Giants don’t have a superstar at tight end but Kevin Boss gets the job done.
The Eagles’ have been superb in protecting McNabb this season. McNabb hasn't been sacked in 66 straight pass attempts. The Eagles may even have big Shawn Andrews back on Sunday.
On the other side the Giants’ big guys have provided some of the best run blocking in the NFL. The Giants even achieved the rare feat of having two 1,000 yard rushers with Jacobs and Derrick Ward.
Advantage: Toss Up
The Eagles play five potential All-Pro defensive backs/safeties.
The Giants don't -- enough said.
The Giants and Eagles both have solid middle linebackers. The Giants have Antonio Pierce and the Birds have Stewart Bradley who is starting to get the credit he deserves.
The outside linebacking corps for both teams haven’t shown the playmaking ability that you would expect from top 5 defenses.
Birds linemen Juqua Parker, Darren Howard and Trent Cole have had good seasons chasing QBs. Meanwhile, they still have big guys in the middle with Broderick Bunkley and Mike Patterson.
The line is the heart of the Giants defense even with Osi Umenyiora going down to injury. Justin Tuck and Mathias Kiwanuka have stepped up to become a major part of Steve Spagnuolo’s defensive attack.
It will be a struggle for all those kicking on Sunday.
The Giants know how to deal with the vacuum of wind in the Meadowlands. The G-men are more prepared to deal with the conditions than the Eagles.
Eagles kicker David Akers poor track record in Giants Stadium could come into play.
This game will come down to the defenses and big plays.
Whoever gets the first substantial lead should be the winner but it could change in one play.
The big play tendency favors the Eagles with their ability to score from anywhere on the field (excluding the one-yard line).
The Eagles also seem to have a certain mojo entering Sunday.
The Giants lost a lot in a Manhattan club when they lost Burress. They will lose their title defense on Sunday as well.
Eagles 27, Giants 16