The Eagles are in the thick of a playoff race right now and a win today would be huge. It’s not a do or die game but the Birds should approach it like it is. Winning tonight will keep the Eagles at least tied for the division lead and put them in a great position to make the playoffs. These are some of the things that are on my mind going in to the game tonight.
It all starts with the quarterback. This is true for both teams. If you look back to the rating of the two quarterbacks when the teams met earlier this year, Eli Manning had a rating of 55.7 and Donovan McNabb had a rating of 146.7. This is a huge difference and you can see why the Eagles ended up winning the way they did. The defense was able to force Eli into turning the ball over and will need to do so again tonight. Eli does well when given time but struggles when he’s pressured. On the other hand, McNabb is going to need protection so he can find his receivers down the field like he did in the last match up.
The Eagles landed a lot of big plays on the Giants earlier this season. I can’t see them hitting on that many big plays again so I’ll be interested to see if they can control the ball and establish an effective run game like they’ve been trying to do the past few weeks. We’ve never been the team known to pound the ball down your throats but it wouldn’t hurt to see them do so. In a game that could potentially be as big of a battle as this one, the team who can run the ball more effectively typically wins.
Akeem Jordan and Joselio Hanson will be back for this game. These are two nice additions to the defense that the Birds haven’t had for a couple weeks. When guys miss time you always wonder how they’ll be when they return. Jordan returns from a nasty looking knee injury while Hanson returns from a substance abuse suspension. We all know these guys are capable of contributing at a high level, but we don’t know if the time off is going to have any affect on them. Both could play a huge role if they can contribute at a high level.
I think we’re starting to see a slow progression in the red zone play calling. This is the kind of game where kicking field goals rather than scoring touchdowns could really kill you. The play calling and execution needs to be at a high level in order for the Eagles to win this game. We don’t want to see the offense settling for field goals rather than scoring touchdowns.
What things will you be looking for most in tonight’s game?