I plan on doing a much more thorough look at the Giants-Eagles matchup this Sunday, as I’ll do for every NFC East matchup this year, but here are some quick notes:
• I did an Eagles-Giants Q & A with Andrew Kulp of the700level.com as part of their “Opposition Beat” series. Feels kind of weird being considered “opposition” to the Eagles, but that’s OK. Andrew asked very good questions, and my answers were like mint chocolate chip ice cream covered in awesomesauce, as you might expect. We even re-opened the Martellus Bennett can of worms.
• When the Giants choose a side to run to (not up the middle), they heavily favor the left side so far this year. 37 runs to the left (66%), 19 to the right (34%). That’s new. In 2010, an argument could have been made that Chris Snee and Kareem McKenzie were the best RG-RT tandem in the NFL. In 2011, not so much, but the Giants continued to run behind them. McKenzie is gone, and so far in 2012, they’ve migrated to the left side. Here’s what the last 5 years have looked like:
|Year||Runs to the left||Runs to the right|
|2008||178 (44.5%)||222 (55.5%)|
|2009||165 (46.1%)||193 (53.9%)|
|2010||159 (42.5%)||215 (57.5%)|
|2011||142 (44.9%)||174 (55.1%)|
|2012||37 (66.1%)||19 (33.9%)|
If the Giants continue to run left against Philly, that marries up nicely with the Eagles’ run D, as the left side of the OL (the right side of the D) is patrolled by Trent Cole, who is excellent against the run. Teams typically like to attack the other side, where they’ll find Jason Babin.
• Ahmad Bradshaw is likely to start on Sunday. That’s the right move from the Giants’ perspective, in my opinion. A lot of Giants fans were encouraged (perhaps over-encouraged) by the game Andre Brown had against Carolina last Thursday. I think there’s a place in the rotation for Andre Brown, but I also think a lot of his success was due to a totally inept Panthers defense. Here’s what I wrote prior to the Giants-Panthers game:
The Panthers had some major tackling issues Week 2 (against the Saints). Mark Ingram drove a pile for about 5 extra yards on the opening drive, and there were some other really ugly whiffs. I wouldn’t be surprised if they missed 15-20 tackles. The Giants haven’t run the ball effectively/consistently in a long time. As noted above, Ahmad Bradshaw has already been ruled out against Carolina. I don’t care. This would be a great game to get their run game on track, even if they’re without Bradshaw. I liked what I saw out of Andre Brown last week.
Thursday night was a very rare occasion in which the Giants OL was able to win in the trenches. Savor it, because that Panthers defensive line is awful. In my opinion, Ahmad Bradshaw would have had just as much success last Thursday.
• Injuries could play a major role in this game:
On the Eagles’ side, the player to watch is King Dunlap. Dunlap didn’t make the trip to Arizona last week while nursing a hamstring injury, and his replacement, Demetress Bell, was overmatched by a Cardinals defense that doesn’t have much in the way of an edge pass rush. It could be a long day for the Eagles offense if Bell has to line up all day against Jason Pierre-Paul and Osi Umenyiora. I never thought I’d say “The Eagles better hope King Dunlap is OK to play.”
On the Giants side, almost their entire secondary is banged up. Corey Webster has a broken hand. He broke it early on in the game, they put a cast on it, and he headed right back out there. He’ll play this week in Philly. Surprisingly, Webster was the most targeted Giants player in the first two weeks of the season. I don’t know what kind of protection the Giants’ medical staff will fit him with this week, but here’s Webster giving teammate Michael Boley an “atta boy” after Boley’s INT last week with his casted hand:
If the Giants fit him with something similar to this, I wouldn’t be all that fearful attacking Webster Sunday night, knowing that it will be difficult for him to catch the football.
Prince Amukamara will start on Sunday night. Last week, the Giants started rookie Jayron Hosley over him. Hosley did not practice yesterday. His hamstring is banged up, as is CB Michael Coe’s, who was a limited participant in practice yesterday. Also, Antrel Rolle will likely not be 100%, as he is dealing with a bruised knee. He’s likely to start. Meanwhile, Eagles WR Jeremy Maclin was a full participant in practice yesterday after missing the trip to Arizona. The Eagles missed Maclin last week. It will be big for them if he’s back to full strength and the Eagles can put more pressure on the Giants weakened secondary.