Semi-Coherent Eagles vs. Giants Preview: The One Where They Might Not Have a Healthy Quarterback


Sep 8, 2013; Arlington, TX, USA; New York Giants defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul (90) on the sidelines during the fourth quarter of the game against the Dallas Cowboys at AT

Remember last week, when everyone (including me!) was on the Nick Foles bandwagon?  Things certainly changed in a hurry.

In my years as an Eagles fan, I’ve seen a lot of bad quarterback play.  I’ve had the pleasure (?) of watching men like Brad Goebel, Doug Pederson, Mike McMahon, and of course, the “great white hope” Bobby Hoying take snaps for the Birds.  And Nick Foles’ performance may have been the absolute worst I’ve ever seen.

Perhaps it only seemed so bad because expectations were high.  With the aforementioned quarterbacks, we pretty much expected them to play poorly.  By the time we were two starts deep into the Mike McMahon era, everyone but the most optimistic of fans stopped hoping for more than basic competence.  (And we rarely even got that!)

Last week was different.  Foles had shown some flashes of greatness as a rookie, and was coming off a game where he was named the NFC Offensive Player of the Week!  How the hell did he go from that to looking like a rattled mess against the Cowboys?  It’s not like the Cowboys are a great defensive team.  And while he didn’t get the greatest protection ever, it certainly wasn’t like he was getting creamed before he even turned his head.  There were plenty of plays to be made, and Foles didn’t come close to making them.

Foles was mercifully knocked out of the game with a concussion, and it is apparent that he’s not anywhere close to being ready to play this week.  After seeing how unready Matt Barkley looked in a relief effort last week, good things are suddenly being said about the hamstring injury that kept Michael Vick out of action the past two weeks.

I’ve said that a Michael Vick who can’t run is probably not a good option, but it’s apparently the only one the Eagles have at the moment.

What’s the Deal with the Giants?

Fortunately, the Eagles aren’t facing the most imposing of opponents this week.  The Giants did manage to finally pull out a victory on Monday night, but now they have to deal with a short week of preparation.

Many people still associate the Giants with having a fearsome pass rush, but that perception has no basis in reality anymore.  The Giants are currently last in the league in sacks and Jason Pierre-Paul is challenging Trent Cole for the title of “Once-Feared Pass Rusher who Doesn’t Sack the Quarterback Much Anymore.”  (Note: This isn’t an actual title…yet.)  “JPP” has only one sack this season (although that is one more than Cole has), and his similarly hyped line mate Justin Tuck only has one and a half.

Although considering how long Vick normally holds the ball, I think even a lousy pass rush should be able to bring down a hobbled Vick at least a couple of times.

Featured Giants Player: Peyton Hillis

You probably remember Peyton Hillis being somewhat of a big deal a few years ago.  He had an unexpectedly big season for the Cleveland Browns in 2010, and a lot of people got excited because Hillis is white, and there haven’t exactly been a lot of successful white running backs in the NFL.  (I’m sure I can think of some others if I try really hard.  How about…Daryl Johnston? Does he count?)

Oct 21, 2013; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Giants running back Peyton Hillis (44) runs the ball against the Minnesota Vikings during the second half at MetLife Stadium. The Giants won the game 23-7. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

Hillis even got voted to be the Madden ’12 cover boy.  As you may have heard, getting placed on the cover of the Madden game is often disastrous for a player’s career, and Hillis seems to be no exception.

Despite being cut in preseason by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers – yes, the winless Tampa Bay Bucs – the Giants decided that Hillis was their best option to fill in for the injured David Wilson at running back.

Did I mention that the Giants rank 28th in the NFL in rushing offense?  Honestly, it’s amazing they even rank that high.

Chappelle’s Show Skit that Relates to this Week’s Game

Is EVERYTHING better in slow motion?  If Michael Vick isn’t at full speed, we might find an exception to that rule:

Key Eagles Storyline

Another week has passed, and the Eagles still haven’t won a game at home.  The last time they won was when they faced the Giants last September.  Can the Eagles achieve symmetry by beating the Giants to end the losing streak?

The good news is, as bad as the Eagles have been at home, the Giants have been almost as bad on the road.  They’ve lost eight straight games away from the Meadowlands.

To sum: The Eagles will face a 1-6 team that has lost eight straight road games and is working on a shortened week.  Chances are, if the Eagles don’t win this week, they will NEVER WIN ANOTHER HOME GAME.

Elsewhere in the NFL

About half of the teams have their bye weeks.  This means that fantasy lineups are decimated and the TV viewing schedule is going to be less than impressive.  Somehow, the Sunday night game – and remember that this is supposed to be the marquee game of the week – will involve the Minnesota Vikings.

The Vikings are so bad that they just lost to the Giants on Monday, and looked like the far inferior team.  If you’re not crazy about the Eagles’ current situation at quarterback, just remember that we could be debating between Christian Ponder and Josh Freeman.

Tweet of Importance

Because no preview of a Giants game would be complete without the “Manning Face.”

The Week in Andy

After 13 years together, many Eagles fans are feeling some Andy Reid withdrawal.  I’ve decided to help them out by providing a weekly look at what Big Red is up to in Kansas City.

The scene: Andy Reid and Doug Pederson are discussing the week’s game plan.

Pederson: Yo, Reidster!

Reid: Yeah?

Aug 9, 2013; New Orleans, LA, USA; Kansas City Chiefs offensive coordinator Doug Pederson on the sidelines in the second quarter of their game against the New Orleans Saints at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Mandatory Credit: Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports

Pederson: We’re doing pretty solid this season, right?

Reid: (Consults some notes in front of him) It says here that we’re 7-0.  So yeah, I guess we are.

Pederson: So how about how let me try calling the plays this week?

Reid: Hmmm…maybe.  You think you’re up for it?

Pederson: Dude, I’m up for it.

Reid: Let me quiz you to see if you’re ready.

Pederson: Aight.

Reid: Okay, it’s the 4th quarter and we’re down by three.  We’re at their 25 yard line and its 3rd and 1.  What’s the play call?

Pederson: (Thinks for a few seconds) A pass to a double covered wideout in the end zone?

Reid: Right!  How about this?  It’s the second quarter and our QB has been struggling.  We’ve got 1st and 10, and the safeties are noticeably cheating back.

Pederson: We’ll go with four wideouts and have a pass thrown into the middle of the field.  With so many players back there, chances are, the ball will be tipped to one of our guys.

Reid: Right again!  Okay, last one.  It’s the 4th quarter and we’re up by six with less than five minutes left.  Its 3rd and 2 on our own 40.  What do you do?

Pederson: Deep pass?

Reid: I would have said to run the ball to kill the clock and maybe pick up the first down, but I’ll admit it: I like your answer better.

Pederson: Awesome!  So do I get to call the plays?

Reid: Sure, why not.  I was getting bored with it anyway.

Final Take and Prediction

The Eagles haven’t proven that they can beat a good team.  Fortunately, the Giants haven’t proven to be a good team.  I am worried about Vick struggling in his return, but I have a feeling that LeSean McCoy is poised for a big week after some shaky recent outings.

Eagles 20-Giants 17