This Week: Giants (1-1) at Eagles (1-1)
Injured, but Optimistic Giants Ready for Philly
By Mike Fiammetta
Despite being caught in one of their worst injury epidemics, the New York Giants haven’t lacked of confidence this week nor have they strayed from the all-too-familiar trash talk that usually fills the week preceding a tussle with the Philadelphia Eagles.
The talking began not even an hour after the Giants finished beating the St. Louis Rams on Monday night, as DE Justin Tuck said the losses to the Eagles last year would linger with him until he died, while other teammates started salivating at the thought of extracting revenge against the team that last year ruined their chances of winning the NFC East.
The talking continued on Tuesday when safety Antrel Rolle, in his weekly paid radio spot on WFAN, stoked the fire when he was asked about Eagles receiver DeSean Jackson and the concern about covering the dangerousJackson.
“You know, I’m no stranger to the cornerback position,” Rolle said. “I have handled DeSean Jackson one-on-one before, and I don’t see why I can’t handle him again.”
Jackson, who Rolle would see if the Eagles play him in the slot, has burned the Giants several times in the past. Last season,Jacksoncapped a 21-point Eagles comeback in Week 15 with a touchdown on a 65-yard punt return as time expired.
Meanwhile, Rolle’s comments drew criticism from Eagles receiver Jeremy Maclin, who caught 13 passes for 171 yards and two touchdowns Sunday night against the Atlanta Falcons.
Maclin said, “When you talk, you’re either insecure or scared. And he’s talking. They have no business talking, because they haven’t done anything the last six times.”
While Rolle declined to respond to Maclin’s comments, Giants LB Mathias Kiwanuka — not a Giant typically known for talking — chimed in Wednesday with his desire to hit Eagles QB Michael Vick, who is listed as questionable after suffering a concussion last week, but who many people expect to be active for Sunday.
“I want to be able to go there and throw the knockout punch while the ref and the other guy are looking,” Kiwanuka said.
If wins and losses were handed out based on the amount of talking that typically goes on between teams, one might score this week’s contest between the Giants and Eagles as a tie. The real test, of course, will come when they have to line up across from one another as that’s when the talking stops and the battle of skill begins.
The Eagles have won the last six games over the Giants. The combined score in those games was 93-128.
PAT’S KEYS TO THE GAME
1. Keep the Eagles out of their nickel and dime packages. The Eagles’ strength is their defensive secondary, especially when they go to their sub packages. When they do go to their sub packages, which means that a linebacker or two has to come off the field. Since the linebackers are a weak spot, the Giants will probably want to make sure they keep third downs manageable so that the Eagles don’t go to their nickel and dime defenses.
2. Run the Ball. Last week the Giants did a better job of mixing in the runs with the passes. And while it’s true that we can probably expect the Eagles to load the box up, if the Giants can accomplish key #3 (below), it could be just the ticket necessary to back that extra man out of the box.
3. Stick with the short and intermediate passes. Ok, I think we all get it that the Giants like to air it out whenever they can. But the deep ball has never really been a strength of this offense, while the shorter stuff has at least had some success. And sometimes you have to crawl before you walk.
Given the state of the receivers, I wouldn’t worry too much about hitting the homerun ball. Instead, I would focus on getting on base. And I’d be happy if the passing game chipped away at the yards needed on first and second downs. By playing to this strength, perhaps that will discourage the Eagles from parking a defender in the box on a permanent basis.
GIANTS INJURY REPORT/IMPACT
CB Prince Amukamara (foot) – Out. While no official timetable has been given on Amukamara’s return, he’s been able to do some running on the sideline and doesn’t appear to be experiencing any problems. Of course, running straight ahead isn’t the same as backpedalling, so he would appear to be at least a couple of week away from returning to game action.
DE Osi Umenyiora (knee) – Out. Umenyiora said on Thursday that he’s getting close to returning. However, it won’t be this week.
WR Mario Manningham (concussion) – Doubtful. Manningham missed the entire week of practice and despite not having been ruled out for Sunday, it would probably take a miracle for him to play. It would not be surprising if the Eagles schemed to take Hakeem Nicks out of the equitation, especially given that Manningham is likely a no-go and Nicks seems to have the best chemistry with QB Eli Manning. If that happens, the return of Travis Beckum could be bigger than anyone probably realizes.
C David Baas (lower leg) – Probable. Barring any setbacks, Baas will be good to go Sunday. “Limited yesterday, full go today. I’m fine; we’ll just leave it at that,” he said. If Baas does experience any setbacks, the thinking is that Kevin Boothe would step in at center.
DT Jimmy Kennedy (knee) – Probable. Kennedy returned to practice on Friday and should be good to go for Sunday.
TE Travis Beckum (hamstring) – Probable. Given the injury-depleted receiving corps, it wouldn’t be shocking if Beckum ends up playing a significant role in the offense on Sunday. The coaching staff had hoped that Beckum would contribute this year, and given his size and skill set, he could make for an intriguing option on third down.
DE Justin Tuck (personal) – Probable. Tuck didn’t practice on Friday due to a death in his family. “He had a death in the family. He has had a tough fall because he has had a couple family members die.
EAGLES INJURY REPORT
Out: DE Juqua Parker (Ankle); DE Darryl Tapp (Pectoral)
Questionable: QB Michael Vick (Concussion)
Probable: S Nate Allen (Knee); TE Brent Celek (Hip); DE Trent Cole (Hand); WR Riley Cooper (Hamstring); TE Clay Harbor (Ankle); LB Akeem Jordan (Shoulder); T Winston Justice (Knee); LB Brian Rolle (Quadricep); CB Asante Samuel (Finger); WR Steve Smith (Knee); QB Vince Young (Hamstring)
MOLLY’S PICK (1-1). THIS WEEK: PHI
There are many things that the pooch doesn’t like. For starters, she isn’t too happy when her daily routine is upset, such as what will be the case on Sunday. Despite having someLabradorin her, she hates getting wet – giving her a bath is a chore and a half.
And for some odd reason, she doesn’t like to go into Petco despite the fact that it’s one of a small handful of places where animals are welcomed inside.
Another thing Molly doesn’t like is this week’s matchup between the Giants and Eagles. The injuries have raised some concerns over how the Eagles might potentially handle the Giants personnel (what’s left of it). Maybe she’s overreacting or maybe she has a legitimate concern.
We’ll find out on Sunday.