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ESPN: Take 2: Giants vs. Eagles By Scouts, Inc.

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  1. Cbz40

    Cbz40 The Grand Poobah

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    Take 2: Giants vs. Eagles
    By Take 2: Giants vs. EaglesBy Scouts, Inc.


    New York at Philadelphia Matchups
    QB RB WR OL DL LB DB ST Coach Overall



    Earlier this week, our scouts filed their advance scouting report on this week's matchup between the Giants and Eagles. Now they're back with a second look.

    This game will be interesting to see how Eagles defensive coordinator Jim Johnson adjusts to new Giants play caller Kevin Gilbride. Gilbride has more time this week to prepare his game plan for the Eagles by utilizing new formations and personnel groupings he feels will give his offense an edge. He will not rewrite the Giants' playbooks in one week, but he will add his own mark to it.
    We saw last week against the Redskins a small sampling of the exotic formations from Gilbride, when he put two quarterbacks in the game at the same time and used a two-halfback personnel grouping. Johnson is going to have to make good game-day adjustments to counter what Gilbride is going to throw at him, because Johnson has no film or tendencies to base his game plan on.

    • The Eagles' defense will need to insert a safety into run support this week, as Gilbride is going to give them a heavy dose of Tiki Barber and Brandon Jacobs.

    Look for Gilbride to use both halfbacks at the same time, with Barber flexed out as a receiver in the slot along with tight end Jeremy Shockey (if healthy), giving the Giants a four-wide receiver look.

    This will spread the Eagles out to allow Jacobs room to run against a soft run front. Look for Johnson to counter by zone dogging to get a more favorable number count in the box, but he has to be cautious of the threat of the Giants to throw deep off four vertical routes.

    • The Eagles, with Marty Mornhingweg calling the plays, have become more balanced and it has been this balance that has caused problems for defensive coordinators. Look for Mornhingweg to utilize more two-back personnel groups on mix downs, giving him the ability to provide a lead blocker for Westbrook. It also allows him to run play action passes that can give him good protection in case the Giants blitz.

    The Eagles have used two halfbacks in the game at the same time, with Correll Buckhalter staying in the backfield and Westbrook flexed out like a receiver. With Buckhalter's injury, that duty would fall to Reno Mahe or Ryan Moats, and this package could be put on the shelf this game if Eagles head coach Andy Reid and Mornhingweg feel that the replacements cannot get the job done. Mornhingweg also will mix in some three- wide receiver formations to take advantage of the Giants' depleted secondary.

    • First down has been good to the Eagles' offense, as it has averaged 4.9 yards per carry, which ranks in the top five in the NFL. But it is in the passing game that the Eagles lead the league, averaging an impressive 9.8 yards per pass play. If you combine the two, the Eagles have the most explosive offense on first down, averaging 7.4 yards per play, two yards more then the NFL average.

    It will be important for the Giants' defense to stop the Eagles on first down to get them in longer yardage situations. The Giants' defense is allowing 5.3 yards per play, which ranks 15th in the league. Their run defense has been the key, as they are only allowing 3.8 yards a carry, compared to 6.6 yards a pass play.

    • Even though the Eagles' defense appears to have stopped the run the last few weeks, not giving up a 100-yard rusher to the Cowboys or Giants, this team is still weak against the run because it is allowing over four yards a carry.

    They Giants have gained four yards or more 115 times this year on first down, while averaging over five yards a carry. Look for Gilbride to run the ball on first down and mix in some play action or gadget type passes to throw the ball deep.

    • Third down is going to be critical as neither defense is truly great at forcing teams to punt, with the Eagles having a slight edge over the Giants. The key for the Eagles is to limit the Giants' gains on first and second down, getting them in longer yardage (seven plus yards) third downs where they have done an excellent job of forcing teams to punt (31 percent efficiency rating).

    If the Giants' offense can get into the 3-6 yard range, the Eagles' defensive efficiency rating jumps to 50.1 percent. The Giants' offense is converting on 37.9 percent of its third downs. Look for the Eagles' defense to pressure Manning on third down, as he is completing just 40.9 percent of his passes. The other playoff teams average 57 percent.

    • The Giants defense better hope it holds the Eagles offense out of the red zone, as it is allowing over 65 percent of the drives to end in touchdowns, last in the NFL. Look for the Giants to blitz more in the red zone this week, as they are allowing only 36 percent of the passes to be complete, with six going for touchdowns. They are making the quarterback get rid of the ball quickly and not very accurately when they bring pressure.

    The Eagles will counter by moving Garcia out of the pocket on sprintout type plays, giving him an option to run or pass the ball.

    Special Teams
    This game could come down to field position and Giants punter Jeff Feagles has done an excellent job all season of directional punting, pinning opposing returners to the sideline. Feagles has only 42 percent of his punts returned on him, which is best among directional punters in the league, with 21 punts going out of bounds.

    The Giants have had problems with the kickoff return team this year because they have not found a reliable returner in Chad Morton or Derrick Ward (both are on IR). They are averaging just 20 yards a return, which is near the bottom of the league with an average drive start of the 25-yard line, forcing them to go the long field. The average length of a Giants' scoring drive is just 53 yards.

    In a game that could come down to a field goal, the Eagles resigned kicker David Akers' favorite holder Koy Detmer in the hope that they have no more problems with the holds on field goals going into the playoffs.

    Akers is making 78.6 percent of his field goals and is 9 of 13 between the 30-50 yard range, but has not attempted a kick outside of 50 yards. Punter Dirk Johnson has a net punt average of 34.9 yards, with a poor hang time of 4.18 seconds that does not allow his coverage to get off its blocks and get down field to cover the punt.

    Matchups
    • New York WR Plaxico Burress vs. Philadelphia CB Sheldon Brown
    • New York LOT Bob Whitfield or David Diehl vs. Philadelphia DE Trent Cole
    • Philadelphia RG Shawn Andrews vs. New York DT Fred Robbins
    • Philadelphia RT Jon Runyan vs. New York DE Osi Umenyiora
    • Philadelphia DC Jim Johnson vs. New York OC Kevin Gilbride

    Scouts' Edge
    This will be a hard-hitting, physical game between two teams that have no love for each other. The Giants just barely made it into the playoffs with an 8-8 record and will look to upset the Eagles at home, something that they have done before. The key for them is to stick with the run and keep the game out of Manning's hands, while their defense needs to make some plays against the Eagles' offense.

    Jeff Garcia has been playing extremely well the last few weeks and will have to be smart with the football, taking advantage of the Giants' secondary with his core of receivers. The Eagles will mount enough of a run defense to slow down Barber, giving them the victory on Sunday.

    Prediction: Eagles 24, Giants 20





    New York at Philadelphia Matchups
    QB RB WR OL DL LB DB ST Coach Overall



    Earlier this week, our scouts filed their advance scouting report on this week's matchup between the Giants and Eagles. Now they're back with a second look.

    This game will be interesting to see how Eagles defensive coordinator Jim Johnson adjusts to new Giants play caller Kevin Gilbride. Gilbride has more time this week to prepare his game plan for the Eagles by utilizing new formations and personnel groupings he feels will give his offense an edge. He will not rewrite the Giants' playbooks in one week, but he will add his own mark to it.
    We saw last week against the Redskins a small sampling of the exotic formations from Gilbride, when he put two quarterbacks in the game at the same time and used a two-halfback personnel grouping. Johnson is going to have to make good game-day adjustments to counter what Gilbride is going to throw at him, because Johnson has no film or tendencies to base his game plan on.

    • The Eagles' defense will need to insert a safety into run support this week, as Gilbride is going to give them a heavy dose of Tiki Barber and Brandon Jacobs.

    Look for Gilbride to use both halfbacks at the same time, with Barber flexed out as a receiver in the slot along with tight end Jeremy Shockey (if healthy), giving the Giants a four-wide receiver look.

    This will spread the Eagles out to allow Jacobs room to run against a soft run front. Look for Johnson to counter by zone dogging to get a more favorable number count in the box, but he has to be cautious of the threat of the Giants to throw deep off four vertical routes.

    • The Eagles, with Marty Mornhingweg calling the plays, have become more balanced and it has been this balance that has caused problems for defensive coordinators. Look for Mornhingweg to utilize more two-back personnel groups on mix downs, giving him the ability to provide a lead blocker for Westbrook. It also allows him to run play action passes that can give him good protection in case the Giants blitz.

    The Eagles have used two halfbacks in the game at the same time, with Correll Buckhalter staying in the backfield and Westbrook flexed out like a receiver. With Buckhalter's injury, that duty would fall to Reno Mahe or Ryan Moats, and this package could be put on the shelf this game if Eagles head coach Andy Reid and Mornhingweg feel that the replacements cannot get the job done. Mornhingweg also will mix in some three- wide receiver formations to take advantage of the Giants' depleted secondary.

    • First down has been good to the Eagles' offense, as it has averaged 4.9 yards per carry, which ranks in the top five in the NFL. But it is in the passing game that the Eagles lead the league, averaging an impressive 9.8 yards per pass play. If you combine the two, the Eagles have the most explosive offense on first down, averaging 7.4 yards per play, two yards more then the NFL average.

    It will be important for the Giants' defense to stop the Eagles on first down to get them in longer yardage situations. The Giants' defense is allowing 5.3 yards per play, which ranks 15th in the league. Their run defense has been the key, as they are only allowing 3.8 yards a carry, compared to 6.6 yards a pass play.

    • Even though the Eagles' defense appears to have stopped the run the last few weeks, not giving up a 100-yard rusher to the Cowboys or Giants, this team is still weak against the run because it is allowing over four yards a carry.

    They Giants have gained four yards or more 115 times this year on first down, while averaging over five yards a carry. Look for Gilbride to run the ball on first down and mix in some play action or gadget type passes to throw the ball deep.

    • Third down is going to be critical as neither defense is truly great at forcing teams to punt, with the Eagles having a slight edge over the Giants. The key for the Eagles is to limit the Giants' gains on first and second down, getting them in longer yardage (seven plus yards) third downs where they have done an excellent job of forcing teams to punt (31 percent efficiency rating).

    If the Giants' offense can get into the 3-6 yard range, the Eagles' defensive efficiency rating jumps to 50.1 percent. The Giants' offense is converting on 37.9 percent of its third downs. Look for the Eagles' defense to pressure Manning on third down, as he is completing just 40.9 percent of his passes. The other playoff teams average 57 percent.

    • The Giants defense better hope it holds the Eagles offense out of the red zone, as it is allowing over 65 percent of the drives to end in touchdowns, last in the NFL. Look for the Giants to blitz more in the red zone this week, as they are allowing only 36 percent of the passes to be complete, with six going for touchdowns. They are making the quarterback get rid of the ball quickly and not very accurately when they bring pressure.

    The Eagles will counter by moving Garcia out of the pocket on sprintout type plays, giving him an option to run or pass the ball.

    Special Teams
    This game could come down to field position and Giants punter Jeff Feagles has done an excellent job all season of directional punting, pinning opposing returners to the sideline. Feagles has only 42 percent of his punts returned on him, which is best among directional punters in the league, with 21 punts going out of bounds.

    The Giants have had problems with the kickoff return team this year because they have not found a reliable returner in Chad Morton or Derrick Ward (both are on IR). They are averaging just 20 yards a return, which is near the bottom of the league with an average drive start of the 25-yard line, forcing them to go the long field. The average length of a Giants' scoring drive is just 53 yards.

    In a game that could come down to a field goal, the Eagles resigned kicker David Akers' favorite holder Koy Detmer in the hope that they have no more problems with the holds on field goals going into the playoffs.

    Akers is making 78.6 percent of his field goals and is 9 of 13 between the 30-50 yard range, but has not attempted a kick outside of 50 yards. Punter Dirk Johnson has a net punt average of 34.9 yards, with a poor hang time of 4.18 seconds that does not allow his coverage to get off its blocks and get down field to cover the punt.

    Matchups
    • New York WR Plaxico Burress vs. Philadelphia CB Sheldon Brown
    • New York LOT Bob Whitfield or David Diehl vs. Philadelphia DE Trent Cole
    • Philadelphia RG Shawn Andrews vs. New York DT Fred Robbins
    • Philadelphia RT Jon Runyan vs. New York DE Osi Umenyiora
    • Philadelphia DC Jim Johnson vs. New York OC Kevin Gilbride

    Scouts' Edge
    This will be a hard-hitting, physical game between two teams that have no love for each other. The Giants just barely made it into the playoffs with an 8-8 record and will look to upset the Eagles at home, something that they have done before. The key for them is to stick with the run and keep the game out of Manning's hands, while their defense needs to make some plays against the Eagles' offense.

    Jeff Garcia has been playing extremely well the last few weeks and will have to be smart with the football, taking advantage of the Giants' secondary with his core of receivers. The Eagles will mount enough of a run defense to slow down Barber, giving them the victory on Sunday.

    Prediction: Eagles 24, Giants 20

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