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Eagles-Giants scouting report

Recent history: The Eagles defeated the Giants on Nov. 1 at the Linc, 40-17. New York leads the series, 82-71-2.

Donovan McNabb and the Eagles will go up against Eli Manning and the Giants on Sunday night at Giants Stadium. (AP file photos)
Donovan McNabb and the Eagles will go up against Eli Manning and the Giants on Sunday night at Giants Stadium. (AP file photos)Read more

Recent history: The Eagles defeated the Giants on Nov. 1 at the Linc, 40-17. New York leads the series, 82-71-2.


Eagles: 359 yards per game (11th)

Giants: 371.6 yards per game (8th)


Eagles: Donovan McNabb had a big game against the Giants on Nov. 1. He threw just six incompletions, had three TD passes and spread 17 completions around to eight receivers. The key will be for McNabb to improve his red-zone play. He's completed just 15 of 37 passes inside the enemy 20 this season.

Giants: Take away the dump-off pass to Brandon Jacobs that Jacobs turned into a 74-yard TD and Eli Manning completed 10 of 24 passes for 167 yards vs. Dallas. In his last four starts against the Eagles, he's got a .516 completion percentage, has averaged 5.6 yards per attempt and has thrown four TDs and five INTs.


Running back

Eagles: LeSean McCoy and Leonard Weaver combined for 157 rushing yards in first game vs. Giants. Weaver's primary role remains blocking but he's been effective as a runner out of one-back, two-tight end sets and as a receiver. He is averaging 7.54 yards per touch in the last six games.

Giants: Brandon Jacobs' yards-per-carry average has plummeted from 5.0 last season to 3.9. The blocking from his line hasn't been nearly as good, but he hasn't been the same punishing runner he was in '08. Despite decent speed, if you can get penetration and force him to run east-west, he's just another guy.



Eagles: The Eagles are expected to get big-play wide receiver DeSean Jackson back, but look for Donovan McNabb to attack the Giants' poor-covering safeties and inexperienced MLB via TE Brent Celek and slot receiver Jason Avant. Avant has caught 35 of the 47 passes thrown to him, including 22 for first downs.

Giants: WR Steve Smith is averaging 6.5 catches per game. He is sure-handed and is one of the league's better yards-after-the-catch receivers. Rookie Hakeem Nicks has at least one 20-plus-yard reception in each of the last seven games. TE Kevin Boss has averaged 20.3 yards per catch in his last two games vs. Eagles.


Offensive line

Eagles: LT Jason Peters' inability to stay on the field is the biggest concern for a unit that is playing better every week. They haven't given up more than three sacks in any of their last seven games and have spearheaded a rejuvenated ground game that has averaged 4.5 yards per carry in the last three games.

Giants: Regarded as one of the league's better lines, this unit has struggled this season. While their pass protection has, for the most part, been fine (sixth in league in sacks allowed per pass attempt), their yards-per-carry average has dropped from 5.0 in '08 to 4.3.



Eagles: 304.1 yards per game (7th)

Giants: 301.6 yards per game (6th)

Defensive line

Eagles: The front four, particularly base-package DTs Brodrick Bunkley and Mike Patterson, need to get backfield penetration and force bruising RB Brandon Jacobs to do more east-west running than he wants. Bunkley and Patterson were disruptive as pass-rushers in the first Giants game, combining for five hurries.

Giants: This unit has not played up to expectations. Their three pass-rushing demons – Osi Umenyiora, Justin Tuck and Mathias Kiwanuka – have combined for just 12 1/2 sacks. Giants have just 11 sacks in the last seven games. Umenyiora was benched last week because he was becoming a liability on the edge against the run.



Eagles: WLB Akeem Jordan, who has missed the last four games with a hyperextended knee, is as important as anybody on the defense because of his overall athleticism and physicality. He may play, but probably in a limited role. SLB Chris Gocong was used as a blitzer several times vs. Atlanta. He had two hurries.

Giants: This unit suffered a major blew a few weeks ago when MLB Antonio Pierce suffered a season-ending knee injury. He's been replaced by inexperienced second-year man Jonathan Goff, who has the size for the MIKE position, but not the instincts. Eagles likely will try to exploit him in the passing game.



Eagles: The pass defense will get a major boost with the return of valuable nickel corner Joselio Hanson. The Eagles' corners did a good job on Giants WR Steve Smith in the first game. He had eight catches, but averaged just 8.5 yards per catch. Asante Samuel and Sheldon Brown have combined for 12 interceptions.

Giants: They've given up 13 touchdown passes in the last five games, with just four INTs in the last nine games. Tony Romo completed an unheard of 41 passes against them. Their safeties are poor in coverage. Their corners, Corey Webster and Terrell Thomas, don't have the speed to stay with DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin.


Special teams

Eagles: DeSean Jackson is the league's leading punt returner, averaging 15.5 yards. He's got five returns of 29 yards or longer. Eagles' punt-coverage unit is the third best in the league. The Meadowlands hasn't been kind to PK David Akers. An 81.5 percent career FG kicker, he's converted just 14 of 25 attempts there.

Giants: Return man Domenik Hixon is a more dangerous PR (16.4) than he is a KR (23.4). P Jeff Feagles is 32nd in the league in punting (40.5) and 25th in net average (37.0). PK Lawrence Tynes has missed four of 23 FG attempts inside 40 yards, but has made 15 of his last 16 overall.


Key matchups

1. Eagles WRs DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin vs. Giants CBs Corey Webster and Terrell Thomas: Jackson and Maclin both had TD catches in first Giants game. Webster is having a down year and Thomas can't match Jackson and Maclin's speed or quickness. ADVANTAGE: EAGLES

2. Eagles RDE Trent Cole vs. Giants LT David Diehl: Cole, who has a team-high 9 1/2 sacks, is playing the best football of his career. Diehl's run-blocking hasn't been up to snuff. ADVANTAGE: EAGLES

3. Eagles CBs Asante Samuel, Sheldon Brown and Joselio Hanson vs. Giants WR Steve Smith: Samuel and Brown have combined for 12 interceptions. Smith, who is fourth in the league with 78 receptions, will line up both inside and outside. ADVANTAGE: EAGLES

Hot and not


Eagles: FB Leonard Weaver. Has averaged 7.5 yards per touch in the last six games.

Giants: WR Steve Smith. Is fourth in the league in receptions with 78. Has 33 in the last five games.


Eagles: RB LeSean McCoy. Had just 2 rushing yards on six carries v. Falcons.

Giants: TE Kevin Boss. Has just three catches for 32 yards in the last two games.

Domowitch's prediction

Eagles 30, Giants 17