The New York Giants will take on the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday at MetLife Stadium. We can sit here and go through all the key matchups and talk about what Big Blue needs to accomplish in order to win the game; however, it doesn't really matter unless the Chicago Bears, Minnesota Vikings and Dallas Cowboys each lose their respective contests. It's not inconceivable that the Giants make the playoffs, as each of those teams have tough Week 17 opponents, but a lot will have to break the Giants way in order to continue their season into next weekend.
Even if this team squeaks into the postseason, the last two weeks have shown us that this particular group of players is incapable of playing with the consistency it takes to win in the playoffs. Eli Manning has not played to the heights we saw from him last season, the defensive line has not been able to get to the quarterback and the secondary is riddled with injuries. This is an experienced group of players that are capable of playing much better than we've seen as of late, but they have come up short this season in crucial moments.
Looking past the Giants pipedream playoff hopes, this team needs to win tomorrow to carry some positive energy into the offseason. Coming out at home against a division rival should be enough motivation for Big Blue to come out and compete to the best of their ability tomorrow. Michael Vick and the Philadelphia Eagles have had a disastrous season, and the Giants should be determined to stick it to them on their home field tomorrow.
In fact, the Giants have no beaten the Eagles at home since September 30th, 2007. It's been a long time since Eli Manning and CO. have defended their home field against Philadelphia and tomorrow seems like a incredible opportunity to break that streak. Let's take a look at what Big Blue needs to accomplish in order to emerge victorious in Week 17 and maybe even make the playoffs.
Play With Pride
The performances of the last two weeks have been some of the most pathetic football games in New York Giants history. Besides the fact that they all but removed this team from playoff contention, Big Blue came out lifeless in their two biggest games of the season. Losing a football game is one thing, but losing with the mental breakdowns, the lack of leadership and lack of emotion that this team portrayed is completely unacceptable from any professional sports franchise.
The New York Football Giants are a proud organization that prides themselves on hard work, dedication, character and maximum effort. We have not seen any of those attributes over the last two games.
It's crucial that the Giants come out with some fire tomorrow. If not for the fans, or their Super Bowl aspirations, or even to keep their jobs in 2012, this team needs to play for each other tomorrow. The harsh reality is that no matter the outcome of this football game, the season most likely ends on Sunday. However, tomorrow is an opportunity for the players on this roster to show that while most have given up on them, that they truly and genuinely care about the guy sitting next to them each and every day throughout the season.
The catatrophic failures of 2012 will not go away any time soon, but we will learn a lot about the character of this team the the bond that these players share by the way they come out and perform tomorrow at 1pm.
Force Vick To Throw the Football
Michael Vick has not played football in six weeks. He hasn't dressed in two games. Tomorrow is Vick's opportunity to show future prospective teams that he can still play effectively in this league. However, it's incredibly difficult to miss six consecutive football games and come back without missing a beat. Vick is going to have to find timing between himself and his receivers, as well as regain the ability to know where each and every one of his receivers will be when he has to scramble outside the pocket.
The more Vick puts the ball in the air, the better chance the Giants have of winning this game. If Big Blue can take an early lead and contain LeSean McCoy, Michael Vick could be in for a long day.
Containing Vick is going to be an issue for the Giants. Even through his shortcomings in 2012, Vick is still a versatile athlete capable of wreaking havoc on a defense with his mobility. The Giants defensive ends are going to have to play with outside leverage and stay patient.
Their will be opportunities to get sacks, but they can't risk exposing the secondary by letting Vick out of the pocket and giving him a long time to throw the football. Bringing five and even six man blitzes could force the ball from Vick's hands quickly and make him rely on the timing between him and his receivers to move the football.
Make Big Plays on Offense
The Giants have not shown the ability to orchestrate long, consistent drives down the football field this season. Unless Victor Cruz, Rueben Randle and even Hakeem Nicks are making plays down the field on a regular basis, the offense usually stalls out before it can get into the end zone. The Giants wideouts are more athletic than Philadelphia's secondary, so this would be a good game to throw the ball up in the air down the field and see if anything productive comes out of it.
For the wide receivers, getting off the line of scrimmage is the most important aspect of making plays down the field. The Eagles will undoubtedly press the Giants at the line of scrimmage, which makes it hard to get open in time for Eli Manning to make an accurate throw. This can be combatted by putting Victor Cruz in the slot off the line of scrimmage and by using play-action passes to keep the safeties from playing too far back.
The Giants are more talented than the Eagles, it's just a matter of executing the gameplan.
Giants Front Seven vs LeSean McCoy
LeSean McCoy has the unique ability to stop on a dot, change direction and take off without slowing down. It's imperative that the Giants control their gaps and occupy cutback lanes that could otherwise result in big runs. The Eagles will beat themselves in they can't run the football tomorrow. The Giants need to stay patient and not make any mistakes that result in easy points.
This game will come down to whether the Eagles can run the ball consistently on the Giants. Andy Reid may be getting fired after this game, but he's still a smart football coach who's had his fair share of success against the Giants in his career. He's undoubtedly going to ride McCoy early and see if his production can open up the offense for Michael Vick later in the game.
Big Game Alert
If Bradshaw is healthy enough, he's going to have an opportunity to make some plays tomorrow. The Eagles are ranked 22nd in the league in run defense, giving up an average of over 122 yards per game. The Giants offensive line should be able to open up holes against the Eagles front four and give Bradshaw the opportunity to make it to the second level. If the Giants can get the run game going early, they will be able to use play action pass to open the game up late. It's imperative that the offense does not become one dimensional and keeps the Eagles on their heels throughout the contest.
The Giants have had two of the ugliest games in recent history over the last two weeks. This team had portrayed no confidence or leadership and it has resulted in some incredibly disappointing outcomes. Miraculously, there is still hope for Big Blue to back into the playoffs. However, we have no reason to suspect that the attitudes of the players and coaches on the roster are going to change tomorrow.
The Giants are the more talented team in this game. However, they do not possess the mental fortitude to overcome the panic that has resulted in ther recent performances. The Eagles will come into MetLife and put Big Blue out of their misery tomorrow.
Eagles 27, Giants 17
Also…Ahmad Bradshaw, Andy Reid, Chicago Bears, Dallas Cowboys, Eli Manning, Football, LeSean McCoy, MetLife Stadium, Minnesota Vikings, New York, New York Giants, NFL, Philadelphia Eagles, Victor Cruz