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The New York Giants @ Philadelphia Eagles: Monday Night Football - Week 6
Lincoln Financial Field
The 3-2 Giants look to continue their amazing month of October when they face the 2-3 Eagles. The Giants could easily be 5-0 if not for poor clock management and costly turnovers late in the first two games. They've rebounded nicely and have been 3-0 since, without the help of Pro Bowl receiver Victor Cruz. The Eagles are up one week, and down the next. They've been battling through the weaker portion of their schedule and are coming around. A sub .500 start isn't what Chip Kelly had envisioned when he made all those roster moves in the offseason. Letting go of yet another number one receiver, an All Pro running back, essentially the entire offensive line, and shuffling the linebacking and secondary units was quite risqué. Picking up last season's leading rusher from a division rival was a great move that has yet to pan out. With injuries to key personnel on Dallas, the NFC East is up for grabs. Every team is still in it. It's important to win the games within your division so Monday's matchup can prove critical in the waining weeks of the season.
120/190 1,281 yards 8 TDs 6 INTs
41 car 205 yards 2 TDs
30 rec 325 yards 1 TD
Eagles QB am Bradford
131/197 1,417 yards 10 TDs 2 INTs
53 car 180 yards 1 TD
31 rec 428 yards 3 TDs
Giants QB Eli Manning
The Giants offense is all about Eli. Eli to Vereen, Eli to Beckham, and Eli to Donnell. That Eli to Donnell connection won the game against the 49ers last week in primetime. Thru five games, Eli Manning's touchdown to interception ratio is five to one. He's scoring, while at the same time not turning the ball over. He'll have his work cut out for him this week with Cruz still unavailable and number one receiver Odell Beckham questionable. Neither of the Giants running backs with significant carries are averaging greater than 3.4 yards per carry. It may be time to give Vereen more carries out of the backfield. He's been very important as a check down and as a third down back in general. Vereen and tight end Larry Donnell will have to be threats in the middle of the field to help whomever lines up outside for the Giants on Monday.
Giants RB Shane Vereen
Sam Bradford had a tremendous preseason. In fact, his preseason was so good that he decided not to sign a contract extension until after the regular season. He may be regretting that right about now. He hasn't played terrible but he's definitely lost out on quite a few millions along the way. Bradford came into the league before the rookie salary cap existed so he and his $50 million contract may be doing just fine. Maybe Bradford can pay his offensive line to block better. He has felt the pressure and been sacked seven times. DeMarco Murray can't be happy with that line either. The line isn't deserving of all the blame. Coach/GM Chip Kelly came into this year expecting perennial backups to fill the roles of long time starters. Big mistake. The lack of a true deep ball threat or even a number one receiver gives teams the option of blitzing more and not rolling coverages one way or another. Chip has to get Murray going. Ryan Matthews has seen some yards and the system fits him better. He's more of a slasher whereas Murray is a downhill runner. Jordan Matthews is a young talent at receiver who the organization has put a lot of trust in. He's come up short in critical moments but is primed for a big game. Riley Cooper is dependable but not even worthy of being a number two receiver on most teams. Bradford and the Eagles need one receiver to emerge and that will help this offense out tremendously.
Eagles RB DeMarco Murray
Key Defensive Players
18 tckls 2 FF
25 tckls 1 FF
The battle will begin and end in the secondary for both teams. Forget the pass rush, forget the number of sacks. Focus on the key match ups at corner, and the play of the safeties. The Eagles secondary has been roughed up a bit this season. Free agent acquisition Byron Maxwell is backpedalling proof of how important it is to do your homework. Because a guy excels as a number two option in a system, doesn't mean he can make the transition to the number one guy. Maxwell was only a full time starter in the NFL for one season (last year) before Philly paid him to be their ace. You would think the organization would be more cautious after the whole Nnamdi Asomugha fiasco. Maxwell is still finding his niche as a starter, let alone as the top guy on the depth chart. He has struggled, and so the team has struggled. When Byron plays well, Malcolm Jenkins is freed up to wreck havoc on offenses. With the injuries to Eli's targets, Maxwell has a chance to play well and build confidence going into the rest of the season. The defense will be exponentially better when their linebacking corps get back on the field. Kiko Alonso had one of the best one handed interceptions ever, and Mychal Kendricks can be an All Pro some day.
Eagles LB Kiko Alonso
No Michael Strahan. He's hanging out with Kelly Ripa in the mornings. No Justin Tuck. He's on IR but with the Raiders. No Jason Pierre-Paul. He blew off a couple fingers being reckless and negligent on the 4th of July. He never signed his franchise tender and he won't be sacking any quarterbacks this year. No one has stepped up to fill the void and for now, that's okay. In his absence, the team has destroyed the opposition's rushing attack, allowing only 80 yards per game on the ground. The Giants are one of those teams with an immortal injury bug, seemingly being decimated year after year by nagging or season ending injuries. This year is no different. Jon Beason, Jason Pierre-Paul, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, Prince Amukamara and Robert Ayers have all fallen victim. Somehow the Giants have found a way to win three straight, playing well enough defensively to keep the game in range for the offense. Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie should be back in this game, and that in and of itself is a game changer. He's a terrific cover corner with great range. If the defensive line has its way with that terrible Eagles O-Line, guys like DRC or rookie Landon Collins will make Sam Bradford pay.
Giants DE Jason Pieree-Paul
Who will win?
I believe the Giants will eek this one out on the road. The Eagles don't have the fire power to really bang with the Giants, IF the Giants start rolling. I think Maxwell will continue to be an Achilles heel and a thorn in the side of the secondary. Beckham will tough it out, give it a go, and score a couple times for Eli. When the Giants get ahead, the Eagles will abandon the run and Sam Bradford will be running for his life. Murray has already had a terrible season and facing this defensive front won't help his numbers. The Eagles will make a late push to keep it close, but it won't be enough to stop Eli. Eli Manning is a sneaky MVP candidate and that defense will only get better as key starters return from injury. Giants win in primetime.