Recent history: The Giants won earlier this season at the Meadowlands, 16-3, and lead the series, 80-68-2.



356.8 yards per game (5th)


331.5 yards per game (15th)


Eagles: The Eagles need to find a way to get Donovan McNabb off to a fast start. His first-half numbers in his last three starts: one TD, three interceptions, a 52.1 completion percentage and 4.21 yards per attempt. McNabb has been a poor third-down passer this season (72.5 rating).

Giants: Eli Manning has thrown an NFL-high 17 interceptions, including six in the last two games. He continues to struggle with his accuracy (58.5 completion percentage, 48.7 in the last two games), and he still misreads coverages a lot more than a guy with 51 career starts should.


Running back

Eagles: Brian Westbrook didn't play in the earlier 12-sack debacle, when his blocking was missed as much as his offensive production. With Westbrook averaging 28.4 touches in the last five games, Eagles need to start increasing Correll Buckhalter's workload. He's got just 18 carries in his last seven games.

Giants: Derrick Ward, the Giants' rushing leader, broke his leg Sunday and is out for the season. But Brandon Jacobs, who missed the last two games with a hamstring injury, is expected back. The 6-4, 264-pounder is a hard-to-bring-down load who is averaging 5.2 yards per carry.



Eagles: The Eagles must get more production out of their wideouts than they did in the first Giants game, when they caught just six passes for 50 yards. Slot receiver Jason Avant's groin injury has limited his effectiveness. He's got just eight catches for 88 yards in his last nine games.

Giants: WR Plaxico Burress has been playing all season with an ankle injury and it's taking its toll on his production. In the last six games, he's got just one TD catch and has averaged 10.3 yards per catch. With Burress hurting, defenses are focusing their attention on TE Jeremy Shockey.


Offensive line

Eagles: LT William Thomas' absence was a major factor in the first Giants game. Andy Reid gave Thomas' replacement, Winston Justice, little help and Donovan McNabb was sacked 12 times. Even without Brian Westbrook, the Eagles did run the ball effectively (RBs averaged 5.8 yards per carry) in the first meeting.

Giants: This is a very good run-blocking unit, as evidenced by the 4.4 yards per carry the Giants have averaged this season. They like to run behind RG Chris Snee and RT Kareem McKenzie. LT David Diehl effectively neutralized Eagles RE Trent Cole in last two meetings.




317.3 yards per game (12th)


302.6 yards per game (7th)

Defensive line

Eagles: The importance of RT Brodrick Bunkley was underscored last week when the Seahawks averaged 4.7 yards per carry in his absence. Eagles need him back this week vs. a team that's going to try to run the ball 30-plus times to take heat off QB Eli Manning.

Giants: The Giants live for third-and-longs, when they can line up with four DEs and go after the quarterback. Osi Umenyiora and Michael Strahan have combined for 20 of the Giants' NFL-high 44 sacks. Strahan, 36, started slow after sitting out the preseason, but has 7 1/2 sacks in the last six games.



Eagles: Jim Johnson likely will call a lot of run blitzes to counter the Giants' size advantage up front. Now that Johnson feels SLB Chris Gocong has a solid grasp of his defense, he'll continue to expand his role as a pass-rusher. WLB Takeo Spikes needs to start catching some of the interceptions he's dropping.

Giants: Season-ending loss of playmaking SLB Mathias Kiwanuka was a big blow to Steve Spagnuolo's defense. He had three of the Giants' 12 sacks in the first game against the Eagles. None of the Giants' three LBs, including Kiwanuka's replacement, Reggie Torbor, can stay with RB Brian Westbrook in space.



Eagles: The blitz frequency has been reduced mainly because of the inconsistent play of the secondary. In the last seven games, Eagles have given up 11 passing TDs and have just two interceptions. They've allowed 7.28 yards per attempt in those seven games. Their best corner, Lito Sheppard, reinjured his knee.

Giants: Rookie CB Aaron Ross has been a godsend to the secondary, but missed last week's game with a hamstring injury. Playmaking free safety Gibril Wilson has a knee injury and probably won't play. Giants need to get pressure, or this unit can be exploited.


Special teams

Eagles: PK David Akers has missed six of his last 19 field-goal trys and has been too-often short and flat with his kickoffs. He's got just six touchbacks in 51 kickoffs. P Sav Rocca is 30th in the league in net average (34.7). Neither PR Reno Mahe nor KR Correll Buckhalter is a home-run threat.

Giants: Rookie Ahmad Bradshaw is developing into an effective KR. He gets upfield fast and can break tackles for a little guy (5-9, 198). PK Lawrence Tynes has missed just once in his last 13 FG attempts. Giants' punt-coverage unit is ranked sixth in the league (6.7), but kickoff-coverage unit is 23rd.




Eagles: WR Kevin Curtis. Notched his third 100-yard receiving game vs. Seattle with 111 yards and a TD on six receptions.

Giants: DE Michael Strahan. Has 7 1/2 sacks in the last six games.


Eagles: WR Jason Avant. Slowed by a groin injury, he has just eight receptions in his last nine games.

Giants: QB Eli Manning. Has thrown six interceptions and completed just 48.7 percent of his passes in the last two games.

Key matchups

1. Eagles LT William Thomas vs. Giants RDE Osi Umenyiora: Thomas missed the first meeting and Umenyiora had six sacks. Advantage: Umenyiora

2. Eagles FS Brian Dawkins vs. Giants TE Jeremy Shockey: With Plaxico Burress hurting, Giants will focus on Shockey in passing game. Advantage: Shockey

3. Eagles LDT Mike Patterson vs. Giants RG Chris Snee. Snee is developing into one of the league's best interior linemen, but Patterson is having a solid season. Advantage: Even

What we're watching

Five keys that fans should keep their eyes on:

1. The gift givers: The Eagles have committed 15 turnovers in the last five games, including four in the loss to Seattle. Their propensity for giveaways, combined with their inability to force turnovers - they have a league-low 13 - has resulted in a minus–nine turnover differential. With 22 turnovers in 12 games, they're on pace to finish with 29.

2. Short, sweet third downs: The Eagles are eighth in the league in third-down offense, converting 44.3 percent of third-down opportunities. In their Week 4 loss to the Giants, they were just 5-for-16. Nine of those 16 third-down situations were 7 yards or more, which was a big reason for the sackfest of Donovan McNabb. The Eagles must have success on first and second down and stay out of obvious passing situations.

3. Up close and personal with Eli: Eli Manning doesn't react well to pressure. Even his own general manager was moved to call him "skittish'' last week. He hasn't been sacked very often - just 20 times in 398 pass attempts. But if the Eagles can put a couple of good licks on him early, it could have an effect on his decision-making and accuracy. He has thrown six interceptions in the last two games.

4. The Giants' run game: The Giants would like to run the ball 30-plus times to keep the pressure off their struggling quarterback. Last week, they ran the ball 37 times for 175 yards in their win over the Bears. The guy who had 154 of those yards, Derrick Ward, is out with a broken leg. But 6-4, 264-pound Brandon Jacobs, who sat out last week with a hamstring injury, should be back. He's averaging 5.2 yards per carry.

5. Protecting Donovan. Everybody remembers what happened the last time these teams met. With left tackle William Thomas and running back Brian Westbrook both sidelined with injuries, the Giants sacked Donovan McNabb 12 times en rout to a 16-3 win. McNabb returns to the lineup after missing two games with a sprained ankle. Thomas and Westbrook both will play this time.

Domowitch's pick

Giants 24, Eagles 20