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Eagles-Giants scouting report

Recent history: The Giants defeated the Eagles at the Linc on Nov. 9, 36-31. New York leads the series, 82-68-2.

Recent history: The Giants defeated the Eagles at the Linc on Nov. 9, 36-31. New York leads the series, 82-68-2.


Eagles: 356.8 yards per game (7th)

Giants: 370.8 yards per game (4th)


Eagles: Giants defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo's familiarity with Donovan McNabb's strengths and weaknesses has benefited him greatly. In three game vs. Spagnuolo's defense, McNabb has a .536 completion percentage and has averaged just 5.3 yards per attempt.

Giants: The Giants' potent ground game has made life a lot easier for Eli Manning. It's kept pass-rushers on their heels and made his play-action game that much more effective. He has a .667 completion percentage in the last three games and has thrown just four interceptions in the last seven games.


Running back

Eagles: The 3 extra days of rest should benefit Brian Westbrook and his ailing knee and ankle. He was nowhere close to 100 percent in the first meeting with the Giants, when he was held to just 26 yards on 13 carries and failed to pick up a needed first down on third-and-3 and fourth-and-1 late in the game.

Giants: The Giants' offensive success starts with their ground game, which is first in the league in yards per game (160.2), yards per carry (4.9) and 20-plus runs (19). They have three good backs, led by Brandon Jacobs, who rushed for 126 yards and two TDs vs. Eagles in first meeting. Jacobs is nursing a sore knee.



Eagles: In an attempt to get better rhythm in the passing game, Andy Reid went with fewer personnel groupings vs. Arizona. He used mainly DeSean Jackson and Kevin Curtis in two-WR sets and Jackson, Curtis and Jason Avant in three-WR sets. Odd man out of offense has been Reggie Brown (three receptions in last five games).

Giants: Eagles won't have to deal with suspended Plaxico Burress, who has killed them. But waiver-wire claimee Domenik Hixon has become an important weapon, catching 11 passes the last two games. Tight end Kevin Boss (four TDs in last six games) has excellent hands and is tough to bring down.


Offensive line

Eagles: Eagles are up against it at right guard, where they've already lost Shawn Andrews and Max Jean-Gilles. Sunday's likely starter, Nick Cole, is only 6-foot and is going to have his hands full dealing with LE Justin Tuck, who moves inside on passing downs.

Giants: A unit that went into last season as a major question mark has developed into the league's best blocking line. Led by C Shaun O'Hara and RG Chris Snee, they completely dominated the Eagles' front seven in the first meeting and have allowed just 14 sacks all season.



Eagles: 286.2 yards per game (7th)

Giants: 279.1 yards per game (3rd)

Defensive line

Eagles: Eagles DTs Brodrick Bunkley and Mike Patterson need to do a better job of keeping guards and center off linebackers than they did in first Giants game. Victor Abiamiri's effective play at LE in the base defense and inside in nickel should help make the Eagles better equipped to deal with Giants' run game.

Giants: While DEs Justin Tuck (11 1/2 sacks) and Mathias Kiwanuka (7) are the high-profile members of this unit, Fred Robbins and Barry Cofield have developed into one of the league's better DT tandems. Cofield is a solid run defender and Robbins has 5 1/2 sacks playing inside with Tuck in the nickel package.



Eagles: This unit must play downhill if the Eagles hope to stop the Giants' No. 1-ranked ground game. MLB Stewart Bradley notched 14 tackles in the first meeting, but too many of them were 5, 6 yards downfield as the Giants averaged 4.9 yards per carry. Akeem Jordan will make his third straight start at WLB.

Giants: MLB Antonio Pierce is the leader of the defense. He's smart and is adept at eluding blocks and making plays. WLB Chase Blackburn made just one tackle in Eagles-Giants I, but it was a big one, slipping through and stopping Brian Westbrook on fourth-and-1 late in the game.



Eagles: SS Quintin Mikell will spend much of the game close to the line as Jim Johnson goes with a lot of eight-in-the-box to stop the rush. Acquisition of CB Asante Samuel hasn't resulted in a tidal wave of interceptions. Eagles have just 12 picks and three came against Arizona, without Samuel.

Giants: Giants have allowed just 13 passing TDs in 12 games, but three came in the first meeting with the Eagles. Corey Webster and Aaron Ross have developed into solid corners. Michael Johnson, James Butler and rookie Kenny Phillips all are big, physical safeties.


Special teams

Eagles: PK David Akers has had his share of problems over the years in Giants Stadium, converting just 3 of 11 field goals from 35-plus yards. KR Quintin Demps has averaged 28.5 yards per return in the last five games. PR DeSean Jackson has averaged just 6.0 yards per return in the last four.

Giants: Jeff Feagles may be 42, but still is the best directional punter in the NFL. In first Eagles game, he kept the ball away from dangerous PR DeSean Jackson by putting all three of his attempts out of bounds, and still averaged 43.3 yards per punt. PR Domenik Hixon is averaging 11.3 yards per return.


Hot and Not


Eagles: QB Donovan McNabb. Came out of his five-game funk and threw four TD passes vs. Arizona.

Giants: DE Justin Tuck. Tuck has notched 8 1/2 sacks in the last seven games, including two last week vs. Washington.


Eagles: WR Reggie Brown. Played just four snaps in the first half last week and has just three catches in the last five games.

Giants: RB Derrick Ward. Has averaged just 3.3 yards per carry in the Giants' last four games.

Key matchups

1. Eagles MLB Stewart Bradley vs. Giants RB Brandon Jacobs: Bradley had 14 tackles in first game, but Jacobs still rushed for 126 yards and two TDs. ADVANTAGE: GIANTS

2. Eagles RG Nick Cole vs. Giants LDE Justin Tuck: Tuck moves inside to tackle on passing downs. Cole, who is replacing injured Max Jean-Gilles, isn't ready for this kind of challenge. ADVANTAGE: GIANTS

3. Eagles WRs DeSean Jackson and Kevin Curtis vs. Giants CBs Corey Webster and Aaron Ross: If the Eagles can't win the battles on the outside, it's going to be a long day. ADVANTAGE: EAGLES

Domowitch's prediction

Giants 27, Eagles 24.