Alright, I'm just going through some stats and match ups here that will hopefully help us figure out just how this game will play out.
First off the Eagles have won 4 straight against the Giants and a win on Sunday night would make it 5 in a row for the Birds. Last season the Eagles hung 85 points on the Giants in their two match-ups while the Giants posted 55. It should be noted that both teams are markedly better on both sides of the ball this season.
In the match-ups last year the Eagles receivers (namely DeSean and Brent) toasted the Giants secondary repeatedly, we should thank CC Brown for a lot of points but at the same time DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin had to get behind the Giants' corners in order to put CC Brown in a position to screw up. In two games agains the Giants last year DeSean Jackson registered 9 receptions, 256 yards and 2 TDs. The Eagles also tried to gift wrap the offensive rookie of the year award to Hakeem Nicks in the second game last year. Both defenses struggled last season and both offenses generally had their way with the opposing defense.
Now moving on to this season's match-up.
Eli Manning has thrown 13 interceptions this season, second worst in the NFL and he has lost 4 fumbles. The Eagles on the other hand lead the NFL in passes intercepted with 16, Asante Samuel has 5, Nate Allen & Dimitri Patterson each have three while Ellis Hobbs, Joselio Hanson, Trevard Lindley, Quintin Mikell and Kurt Coleman have each snagged one this year. If Eli Manning starts making errant throws the Eagles are the best team in the NFL to capitalize on it.
The Giants offensive line is really beat up as well. The Giants are missing their starting LT, C and back-up C. These injuries have forced Rich Seubert to C where he doesn't have a ton of experience and he had one really bad snap last game. Replacing Rich Seubert at LG is Kevin Boothe who is just coming off of the PUP for a torn pectoral muscle, Boothe also tweaked his knee against the Cowboys so he is not 100%. Replacing Diehl at LT is Shawn Andrews (BOOO!) but Andrews has missed the past two practices with a 'sore back' which ironically enough is what got him cut by the Eagles. So with Shawn Andrews missing time and potentially not suiting up William Beatty would have to come in, Beatty is the LT of the future for the Giants but he is coming off a broken foot and has only played in 2 games so far this season. Clearly the Giants offensive line is banged up. This will most certainly be advantageous for the Eagles who have registered 26 sacks on the year, only two behind the NFL leaders (Packers & Rams).
One thing we're going to find out on Sunday is which teams' stats more accurately portray how well the team is actually playing. The Eagles come into the game averaging 400 yards of offense per game and they're the best scoring offense in the NFC. The Eagles offense is also 4th best in the NFL at converting third downs. The Eagles are averaging 6.2 yards a play and 20.4 first downs a game. The Eagles are the best rushing offense in the NFC as well, they're averaging 5.4 YPC (best in the NFL), they've score 11 touchdowns, are second in the NFL in runs of 40 yards or more and are third in the NFL in runs of 20 yards or more. The Eagles offense is on fire, there really is no other way to put it, they're firing on all cylinders. The Giants defense has been firing on all cylinders this season as well. They're the best yardage defense in the NFL only allowing 270 yards per game. The Giants have the best third down defense in the NFL. They're holding teams to 4.6 yards per play and 13.9 first downs a game. The Giants run defense is the second best in the NFC, they've only allowed 4 rushing touchdowns and they're holding teams to 3.5 yards per carry.
One crack in the Giants defense is their pass defense, they've allowed 7 passes of 40 yards or more this season, 4th worst in the NFL, compare that to the Eagles pass offense which leads the NFL in passing plays over 40 yards. The Giants are susceptible to what the Eagles do best, big plays over the top of defenses. The Eagles are #3 against #1 receivers and #1 against #2 receivers (http://www.footballoutsiders.com/stats/teamdef) and the Giants are #16 against #1 receivers and #10 against #2 receivers. The Eagles have an advantage over the Giants on the outside on both side of the ball, especially if Corey Webster misses the game.
One thing people fail to mention about the Giants defense is that they've played an incredibly weak schedule. The Giants have played the Panthers, Bears, Detroit, Seattle and Dallas (twice). And the strange part is that even though the Giants are the best yardage defense they're allowing 21.4 points per game which is right around average in the NFL this season. The Giants aren't stopping teams from putting points on the board. The Panthers who average 11.6 points per game put up 18 on the Giants, the Colts hung 38 on the Giants, the Titans scored 29 points, the Lions put up 20 with their third string QB and Dallas scored a combined 68 points against the Giants this season.
And the Giants are really injured right now, Steve Smith, Ramses Barden, Shaun O'Hara, David Diehl, Adam Koets, Madison Hedgecock, Mathias Kiwanuke and even Corey Webster. The biggest injury is going to be the injury to Corey Webster because if he misses the game or is limited that means the Eagles get to play against Terell Thomas and Aaron Ross. Thomas played fantastic last season but he isn't playing nearly as well this year. Aaron Ross is a guy who has really struggled in the past, I wish profootballfocus didn't become a pay site but I distinctly remember that Aaron Ross' numbers were really down in the one year he started (2008) and a combination of bad play in 2008 and injuries lost him his job. If Ross gets a majority of the playing time outside that is a HUGE advantage for the Eagles.
So in short, here are the reasons the Eagles will win:
-The Eagles have the advantage over the Giants offensive line
-The Giants turn the ball over far too much and the Eagles don't, the Eagles lead the NFL in interceptions and they're #1 in the turn over ratio.
-The Eagles have the advantage outside on both sides of the ball
-The Giants are beat up and the Eagles are just coming together after a slew of injuries early. Eagles are gelling, getting healthy and developing chemistry but the Giants are going down like crazy.
-The Eagles have played a harder schedule, the Eagles have faced 4 potential playoff teams in a row (Redskins are still in the hunt but falling fast) and are 3-1 in that stretch. The Giants' record is inflated by playing some of the worst teams in the NFL.
-Andy Reid wins 71% of games that take place after the bye week (74-32-1 after the bye in his career). I'm not betting against Andy Reid, he wins more than 7/10 games after the bye.
And to those who want to say that Vick hasn't played a good defense yet:
Look at Vick's non-adjusted VOA rating. That's right: Vick has a higher DVOA than VOA, which means that by our accounting, he is playing an above-average schedule of pass defenses. Green Bay, the first team he had success against, is the top-rated pass defense in the league by our numbers. Detroit has actually improved its pass defense significantly over last season and ranks 13th in DVOA. Indianapolis ranks fifth. Jacksonville, of course, still sucks.
Interesting note here: The Giants have the best third down defense in the NFL. Prior to their game with the Eagles the Redskins had the second best third down defense in the NFL. And prior to their game with the Eagles the Colts had one of the best third down defenses in the NFL. Am I sensing a trend here? The Eagles are a third down machine.