Thoughts and analysis on the Philadelphia Eagles



We've Moved!!!!

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www.BleedingGreenNation.com

Bleeding Green has officially completed it's move to Bleeding Green Nation. Bleeding Green Nation is going to bring us better exposure and give the readers much more power to be involved in the discussions and the community. Literally everything about the new site will be better. The look and feel, the ability for readers to get involved, the feeds are easier... Plus Blogger has been a pain for me lately and I've not been able to get things out as fast as I'd like. The new site fixes all that. It's all in all a huge upgrade and I really hope everyone likes it.

We are now a proud member of the SBNation.com family. I encourage you guys to check them out and see the amazing amount of great coverage they give most every MLB(uncluding the Phils!), college football and NFL team as well as many other sports.

I want to thank everyone that helped this site grow so fast and I hope you all enjoy the home!

PLease come on over and check it out. Bleeding Green Nation


That's more like it...

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Ahh, there's that feeling again. The feeling of a solid, convincing win. The Eagles trounced the 49ers 38-24 in a game that was a big step in healing alot of the wounds from the Giants loss.

I admitted before the game that I just didn't feel "up for this game. I didn't seem to have the same kind of excited anticipation that I usually do as gameday draws closer. Luckily, the Eagles felt none of these effects. They came out like a team mad about what happened last week and looking to prove something. And they did.

The 49ers are not a great team. We know that, but the Eagles handled them as a good team should. The Birds had their way with the Niners and beat them with relative ease. The bottom line is that good teams beat bad teams. The Eagles took care of business.

Now onto some thoughts about the game.

Game Ball to Brian Dawkins - It's funny, all the talk before the season was about what kind of impact guys like Matt McCoy and Broderick Bunkley would have. We all debated whether offseason free agent aquisitions like Darren Howard and Shawn Barber would help solve the ills of this defense from last year. However, somehow lost in that discussion was guys like Brian Dawkins and Jeremiah Trotter. They are now and have always been what the defense comes down to. Dawkins especially imposed his will on the game, he was the guy who stripped Frank Gore at the goalline and caused the Patterson TD. He continually put big shots on guys and generally just refused to allow anyone to pass by him. He gets the game ball in my opinion.

Reggie Brown - I've been a bit dissapointed by Reggie so far this year. He's been a solid red zone threat, but for the most part he's dissapeared in the first 2 games. What we saw yesterday was a bit more encouraging. He had his first career 100 yard game and did the job of the #1 WR with Stallworth being a late scratch from the game. Plus, I can't say enough about his blocking. On several plays Reggie could be seen throwing fantastic downfield blocks that sprung more than big one for the Birds. He is blossimg very quickly into that physical, Heinz Ward tpye of reciever that he was scouted as being. Still, there were things I didn't like from Reggie. Namely, his hands. He had a few drops, including an easy TD pass that McNabb put right on his hands. Those things need to improve, but overall I was pleased by most of what I saw from Reggie.

Is there an Akers issue? - After having a stunningly good preseason where he was routinely banging in 50+ yarders, Akers is struggling so far this year. He banged in a FG off the crossbar in the Texans game on a kick he usually has no trouble with. He missed one off the crossbar against the Giants, albeit that was a 48 yarder. Still, Akers has a repuation that he can make those kicks. I'll excuse a 48 yard miss every once in a while, I won't excuse a miss like he had yesterday. He badly shanked a 38 yarder that is normally a chip shot for Akers. I've heard some people raise the issue of the holder and whether David is comfortable with Dirk Johnson after having Koy Detmer as his holder for his entire Eagles career so far. I might buy this as an escuse had I not seen him making the kind of kicks he was in the preseason. He had no trouble with Dirk then. It's still to early to panic about Akers, but he needs to step up. Kicker has always been a strength here since Akers arrived and eventually we'll need him to make a big kick. Right now, I have to admit I'm not entirely confident in his ability to do so.

Pass Rush without Kearse - All in all I was satisfied with the job the defensive line and the pass rush in general worked. Alex Smith was sacked 3 times and was constantly pressured and forced to move around and throw on the run. Plus, I counted no less than 4 or 5 times that he threw balls away as he was being dragged down. He was flagged for one intentional grounding, but the call was overturned after the refs conferenced. trent Cole registered his leauge leading 5th sack in 3 games and Darren Howard got his first as an Eagle. I'm still looking forward to seeing the defensive line tested against a better offensive line but so far, so good.

McNabb lives up to his promise - After the Giants loss, McNabb said something to the effect of "that will never happen again as long as I'm at QB and have something to do with it." And when the 49ers started their mini comeback, McNabb took the team on his back squashed it. He called a brilliant audible at the line and found Schoebel for 60 yard gain that ended whatever momentum the Niners had.

The Secondary stinks, I know - Rod Hood made what most people felt was a surprise start after being injured in last week's game. He was questionable all week with a bad heel and it was assumed he wouldn't play, but he toughed it out and gave it a go... with less than stellar results. Hood was burned more than once and was clearly limping after every run. He simply didn't have the speed on the bad heel to keep up, and more than once took himself out of the game. Michael Lewis was generally better in pass coverage this week, but made at least one mistake in the second quarter where he got turned around and allowed a big gain after Hood was burned on a play. It's hard to say what we are supposed to expect out of this unit right now. Between Lito Sheppard and Rod Hood the secondary is missing 2 of it's top 3 corners. The fact is that any team reduced to playing 4th or 5th stringers at corner is going to suffer. Until Hood and Lito get healthy, the team is simply going to struggle. Nothing is going to change that. No team in the NFL has 4 or 5 starting caliber corners. So while hear the complaints of Eagles fans about his unit, I have to ask "What did you expect?" and "How can you really lay blame to anyone(except Mike Lewis of course)?"

Alex Smith is lame - Did anyone else find it a bit lame how Smith ran the last drive as if he was trying to tie up or win the game? The team is down over 3 TDs and he's spiking the ball with 6 seconds left so he can get one shot at the end zone to pad his stats agains the Eagles backups. I know that 49er coach Mike Nolan may hae wanted to get the team some real life experience at running a 2 minute drill, but I found it a bit distasteful.

Stats - The Eagles come out of the week still ranked #1 overall in the NFL in passing and #1 yardage on offense, McNabb still leads the NFL in passsing, the team is scoring the 3rd most points in football, they are 5th in the NFL in rushing with 129 yards a game, and they are tied for the leauge lead in sacks.


Eagles vs 49ers - Anyone excited?

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Anyone excited about this weekend yet?

I'm really not.

I just don't know why that Giants loss was so deflating... But combine that with the fact that the Birds play a bad and completely uncompelling team in the 49ers I'm just not feeling the fire for this weekend. Still, come gameday I'll be there watching and hopefully they'll give us something to cheer about. A big win this weekend would go a long way in making me feel better about the direction this team is headed this year.

The 49ers are a team that so far this year has lived off of big plays and pressuring the passer. Last week, they piled up 6 sacks against the Rams and put up touchdown plays of 32 and 72 yards both on the ground and through the air.

Their QB is 2nd year man and former 1st overall pick Alex Smith, who after a brutal rookie year has started to show some flashes of why he was the top player taken in the 05 draft. Still, the book on beating him is no different than beating any other young QB. Throw lots of different defensive looks at him and bring pressure.

So far the Eagles lead the NFL in sacks, but their fearsome pass rush is once again suspect with Kearse out for the season. Fortunately, the 49ers offensive line is less than intimidating especially given that former all pro guard and maybe future hall of famer Larry Allen is out.

Smith does have some weapons though. Highly touted rookie TE Vernon Davis, who has tight end size and wide receiver speed looks like he could blossom into the best TE in football... so far however, he's been off to somewhat of a slow start. He has 5 catches for 37 yard, 1 TD and 1 fumble lost so far this year. Smith's biggest weapon has been offseason acquisition WR Antonio Bryant. He has shown a ton of big play ability averaging 122 yards a game so far this year. He's another guy with decent size (6-2) that could certainly cause problems for the Eagles very beat up secondary. Lito Sheppard is out and Rod Hood is listed as doubtful to play this weekend. That likely means we'll be treated to another week of Joselio Hanson starting at CB.

My hope is Jim Johnson tries to play to the strengths of his team rather than sticking so hard and fast to his system. Typically, the Eagles have not played matchups with opposing WRs. Lito and Sheldon would basically stick to covering a side of the field and take on whatever WR the offense would choose to throw after them. With 2 solid corners and another solid one off the bench that's a fine way to play... However, with the secondary depleted as badly as it is I think it's been proven that the philosophy does not work with any personnel. Last week we saw Sheldon Brown, clearly the best corner on the team with Lito & Hood out(maybe even with them in), sticking to the right side of the field while the Giants sent Plaxico Burress to the left to pick on Joselio Hanson. For some unknown reason Jim Johnson refused to alter his system and let our 4th corner take on the Giants top WR and we all know how we paid for that. Although admittedly, it was Brown who Burress went over the top of for the final TD. That said, Antonio Bryant is not the size of Burress but he's still clearly best WR the 49ers have. I'd like to see Sheldon on him every snap he's on the field. No matter where he lines up, Brown should follow. That's playing our strength against theirs.

Something very encouraging we've seen from the Birds this year has been their ability to stop the run. In week one they held Houston to 70 rushing yards as a team and in week 2 held Tiki Barber to just 51 yards on 21 carries. They face a decent test again this week in Frank Gore who has rushed for 214 yards and 3 TDs so far this season. Like I said earlier though, the loss of starting LG Larry Allen will hurt the 49ers in this department as well...

The Eagles offense comes in to this game ranked #1 in the NFL. McNabb leads the NFL in passing yardage, LJ Smith leads all TEs in catches and yards, Donte Stallworth is 3rd in the NFC in receiving yardage, and surprisingly the team ranks 4th in the NFC in rushing yardage.

The offense, unlike the defense, is relatively healthy. Brian Westbrook was questionable with the same knee inflammation as he had before the Giants game, but he will play this weekend. He appeared to show no ill effects against the Giants.

If the Eagles offense just plays it's game, they should have few problems against the 49ers. Their defense has shown improvement, but still lacks many playmakers if any. Rookie LB Manny Lawson has looked very good so far with 2 sacks last week, but otherwise their linebacking corps is not terribly impressive, especially since Julian Peterson left in free agency this past offseason. This should be yet another game where LJ Smith should play a huge part as he presents a serious matchup problem for the San Fran linebackers.

So far the Eagles have done a great job protecting McNabb, as he's been sacked only twice this year. The pass protection will be tested this week against the 49ers who, as I said earlier, sacked Marc Bulger 6 times last week.

Ashley Fox from the Inky got a very interesting quote from Donte Stallworth about he feels he played so far. Statistically his season has been quite good, but we all saw how he came up short in overtime last week. Refreshingly, he's actually acknowledged this.

Stallworth said, "I don't feel like I've made the plays when it's counted, when the game's on the line, especially in the fourth quarter. I dropped a ball in overtime last week. The week before, I dropped one in the fourth quarter. That game was pretty much in hand, but that doesn't matter. The fourth quarter is when you're supposed to step up and have the best part of your game, and I don't think I've done that so far. But I'm working to correct that, and hopefully I can get better at it.
An NFL WR who takes responsibility for his own play? Weird... I find the attitude very refreshing. That said, don't drop any more balls in overtime Donte...

In the end, this is still a road game which shouldn't be a complete cakewalk. Plus, this is big statement game for the Eagles. Do they come out angry and stomp the 49ers, never letting up regardless of how far ahead they are? Or do they come out flat, still seemingly shocked from last week? I honestly don't know the answer to that question. They all have said they put the Giants' debacle behind them... But I need to see it to believe it. Still, I'm going to go optimistic give their opposition this week.

Eagles 30 49ers 17


Can the Phils help the Eagles?

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Says Eckel

It's not official, but word is if the Phillies make the National League playoffs -- they went into last night one game behind the Dodgers for the wild-card lead -- the Eagles' games with Dallas this year could be switched.

According to someone with knowledge of the situation, the Phillies could have a home game on Sunday, Oct. 8. That's the same day as the Eagles' scheduled home game with the Cowboys. The Eagles are scheduled to play at Dallas on Christmas night.

Even though the teams no longer share the same stadium, it could cause a logistical nightmare to have a playoff game and the Cowboys game the same day.

In the past the NFL has accommodated Major League Baseball by switching home games when it was appropriate.

And the Phils won another game tonight with Brett Myers throwing a complete game with 12ks... They are now 1/2 game back to the Dodgers who are losing as I write this.

When I read this in the story written by the Eagles' beat reporter "according to someone with knowledge of the situation", I immediately assumed that this is something the Eagles have looked into and are clearly hoping will happen. You can bet if the Phils win the wildcard, the Eagles will lobby hard to get the Oct game switched to Dallas so that they can get the Xmas game in Dallas moved here. We've all been dreading that almost unprecendented 3 game divisional road game stretch... I don't think anyone wouldn't trade an early home game to get one more later in the year, especially to break up that brutal 3 game stretch.


Time to look forward

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Since Sunday I've boycotted sports in general. I was so disgusted with the loss this past weekend I avoided ESPN, sports radio, sports on the web in hopes of not being reminded of what happened. I didn't care to hear what the pundits had to say about the game, I didn't want to see highlights. Nothing. I wouldn't even play Madden. In fact, my main connection to the sports world has been all the comments about the game left here and on myspace for me.

It's actually been pretty interesting. I didn't realize how much of my time is taken up by sports. I get up in the morning and throw on sportscenter as I'm getting ready, I'll usually flip to sports radio in the car, check the Eagles website and other sports new sites on the web at work, flip on PTI when I get home... My past few days have been filled with Saved by the Bell reruns in the morning, actual work at work(gasp!), and Batman Begins the video game after work...

However, I came to the inevitable conclusion that I eventually would have to face this game and look forward to this coming weekend. I still won't watch ESPN this week, but I'm ready to get back into it... So here goes.

First, I was really bummed to hear the new that Jevon Kearse was lost for the season. It seemed pretty obvious to me as he was carried off the field in agony that this was going to be the case, but it was still a blow to hear it. I felt really bad watching one of the few guys that never gave up on that game and had continued to give everything he had being carried off. The Phreak started this year on a tear with 3.5 sacks and really seemed on track to have maybe the best year of his career. Defensive line may be the deepest unit on this team which means we shouldn't panic over this loss, but it is a loss nonetheless. Kearse is likely the best all around defensive end on this team and the line will suffer for his loss. I can't foresee anymore 8 sack games without the Kearse. Still, that doesn't mean they can't be effective. We've seen some tremendous play so far out of backups Trent Cole(who also had one tremendously STUPID play!!!!) & Juqua Thomas. Plus Darren Howard, who hasn't gotten a sack yet, has been rather solid.

I'm unsure what they will really do to replace Kearse yet though. They've been very vague on that point. We know they'll activate Jerome McDougle and the former 15th overall pick is going to get his last shot to prove himself. At this point you'd have to guess that Juqua Thomas will start at LDE and McDougle will back him up with Cole/Howard rotating on the other end. I have to wonder though if they'll ever try putting Howard or Cole at LDE so they can get the most talent on the field at once.

**update***

Andy revealed his plans for the line today. Trent Cole will take over as starter at right defensive end, where's he been backing up Howard. Howard will slide over to start at left defensive end. Juqua Thomas will back up LDE and Jerome McDougle will back up Cole at RDE. Darren Howard started his career at LDE and compiled 17 sacks in 2 years there.

Howard on the Eagles website

"It's not anything new," said Howard. "My first two years in the league I played on the left side and my last four I played on the right side. I played a bunch on both sides. I should make the adjustment real quick.

"I haven't played there in a long, long time, so it's a process. That's how we're going to line up for right now and we're going to go ahead with that for right now."

*****

Now, I'd like to make once small statement about the game this past weekend. I've noticed a common thread from the Eagles fans I've talked to and heard from. It appears that a lot of fans are blaming Andy Reid and his playcalling in the 4th quarter for the loss. Now, while I wasn't thrilled with his playcalling I hardly can blame that loss on playcalling. If your starting RB can't hold on to the ball in the 4th quarter, if your receivers can't catch perfectly thrown balls for first downs, if your lineman can't avoid taking stupid penalties... no amount of good playcalling will ever fix that. Blaming this loss on playcalling is far too simplistic to me. This was a team that didn't think they could lose and when things got tight they panicked. Now, I can certainly lay blame on Andy for that as his team needs to be more disciplined. However, just blaming him, luck, or the playcalling excuses an atrocious performance from the players on the field.

I'd also like to address the secondary. I'm not sure exactly what to say about. Clearly it was atrocious and a huge a reason the Eagles blew a 17 point lead in the 4th quarter... but at the same time I fine it hard to figure out where to lay blame for that. Certainly Mike Lewis deserves some for blowing the coverage on the first Toomer TD. I blamed Rod Hood for the Moulds TD in week one, but this was all Lewis. He also couldn't hold on to the fumble that turned into a Giants TD when he was alone and fell right on it... So blame goes to Lewis for sure. But do we also blame Joselio Hanson? Sure, he was picked on all day. However, he is a 4th corner and he was matched up one on one with Plaxico Burress. So while I certainly think he should have done a better job, I find it hard to blame him for struggling. I also find it hard to blame Jim Johnson because the guy was missing his #1 and #3 corner after Hood went down. However, I did scream at the TV several times "Why is Sheldon Brown not on Burress!!!??". Of course, we learned on the last play that it probably wouldn't have mattered anyway as Eli Manning threw a pass up for grabs on his way to the ground and Burress just went right over Sheldon and hauled in the game winning TD...

If Lito and Hood can't get back soon the Eagles are in serious trouble no matter how good the pass rush is.

I'll preview the 49ers game next. Is anyone really even looking forward to that game yet?


Disbelief

5 comments

Normally, on Sunday night I write a recap and dissect the game, pick some players that I thought stood out, and the ones I thought could do better... But after the display today what's the point? We all know what happened.

Today's game went from one of the top 5 Eagles wins in the past 5 years to one of the top 5 losses. This is right up the Tampa loss in the NFCCG, the Carolina loss next year, the Dallas loss last year... This is the kind of game that has molded Eagles fans into what they are today. I suffered through those losses and probably became a better fan for it, but this game somehow seemed worse to me than those championship game losses. Those were losses that we thought before the game that the birds were the better team and found out otherwise very soon. This Giants game was different. The Eagles showed they were good enough. They manhandled the Giants and physically dominated them through nearly 3 quarters to a degree I've never seen. 8 sacks? That's unheard of. The offense moved at will. They showed that they were the better team. Then they gave up. They gave it away.

This was a game that saps your passion as a fan. It's hard to look forward to gameday next week. It's a bummer to go to work tommorow. You start to wonder if the team is going to stop caring and quit, should you? Can you?

In the grand scheme of things it was one loss, I know that. The difference is that last year one loss could be blamed on injury. In years' past one loss was just a bump in the road on to a result we all knew was coming. We all knew those Eagles teams for the past 5-6 years were playoff teams. We don't know that about this one. This is one loss that we can't write off due to injury or as a bump in the road. This one loss seemed to say that this team flat out isn't good enough. That's only happened 3 or 4 times in the past few years. This is a feeling usually reserved for a playoff loss.

I'll get into this game early this week. There are some things to look at and discuss and we'll get into that, but for now I'm just going to leave this alone and let it sink in. I wanted badly to sit here at my laptop and start blasting this team and several select players... but what's the point? This was a collapse on all levels, to immediately start pointing fingers one way or another would be to deny the absurdity of the collapse we were all forced to watch today.

Leave me a comment here or on Myspace and just tell me your reaction to what we saw today. Point fingers if you want, talk about it philosophically, curse someone out... do what ever you like. Consider it group therapy.


Eagles vs Giants - Take the division back?

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After holding the NFC East title for 4 straight years, the Eagles surrendered the NFCE to the Giants last year. So it should seem fitting as the Eagles set out on their quest to reclaim the east that they would meet the Giants so early on.

Bottom line for this game is that it's in Philly. The Eagles should win this game. They are not the injury and controversy riddled 6-10 team from last year and if they see themselves as a contender this year they simply must beat their division rivals at home. Despite this only being week 2 this game is important for several reasons. First and foremost being that we all know how important those division and conference records are come years' end. If the Eagles are locked in a race for the NFCE title or a wildcard berth, winning a division game like this at home early on will be invaluable. Plus, it puts the Giants at 0-2 facing a trip to Seattle in week 3.

Key Matchups

Eagles interior offensive line vs Giants DTs. I think a lot is on Andrews/Jackson/Herremans. If they can maintain the pocket and keep the Giants from getting pressure up the middle, the Giant's dangerous edge rushers should be neutralized like they were in the Colts game. Time after time you saw Strahan or Umenyoria come flying off the edge, only to see Peyton Manning step up in the pocket to easily avoid them. Plus, the Giants defensive tackles played well against the run. So in addition to having the success the Colts' did in the pass block, the Eagles interior line has to open some holes for Westbrook & Buckhalter.


Westbrook/LJ vs the Giants LBs. As talented as the Giants LBs are against the run and in the pass rush, they are weak in coverage. Antonio Pierce is a pro bowl caliber run stopper but is weak when he drops back in coverage and Lavar Arrington is just shockingly bad in that dept. Lavar is especially prone to biting on play fakes, which we all know McNabb does very well. The other starting LB for the Giants is former Eagle Carlos Emmons who has lost a step after a few years of injuries, but generally looked pretty good against the Colts. This should be a matchup that the Eagles should exploit with passes to Westbrook out of the backfield, which as anyone who watched the Eagles for even 5 minutes will tell you, is a staple of their offense. Plus, LJ Smith coming off a solid game in Houston should also be in for a big day against the Giants LB corps, let's just hope while he preys on their pass coverage weakness they don't prey on his run blocking weakness...


Dexter Wynn. Although it seems kind of ridiculous to think that a 4th corner will have any impact on the game, Wynn will also likely be returning kicks and possibly punts as well. That does put him in a position to have a big impact on the game. He was cut before the season and just re-signed to the team following Lito's injury. I'm kind of interested to see what Dexter Wynn can do... This is a kid that may be facing his last shot to make it as an NFL player. They already cut him and he has to know that if he doesn't do something big he'll probably be cut again when Lito comes back... So who knows? Maybe the desperation and desire to play pro football will drive Wynn to do good things. In the end, I don't really have a ton of expectations for him... but he could very well be the most motivated player on the field Sunday.


Eagles DBs vs Plaxico Burress and Jeremy Shockey. I'm going to let G Cobb take this one since he did such a good job talking about this matchup on his website.

I can tell you right now that there's going to be a lot of talk about size advantage that 6'5" wide receiver Plaxico Burress and 6'3" Amani Toomer have over the Eagles cornerbacks 5'10" Sheldon Brown and 5'11" Roderick Hood. Rather than getting taller when Hanson comes into the game, you get even shorter at 5'9". Wynn is also 5'9" so they wouldn't be able to put him in to negate the height advantage.

The Giants have got to be thinking about getting these tall receivers isolated on these cornerbacks. They have to figure that if they can't get these guys one on one with the smaller cornerbacks they can throw the ball up high and have a field day. You can believe that on goalline, Brian Dawkins is going to take over at the corner spot because although he's not much taller, he is strong enough to out-physical the taller wideouts for position in order to avoid a completion.


Clearly a lot of emphasis will be on the front four to get pressure on Eli Manning without blitzing so that the corners have safety help.

Finally, Matt McCoy vs Tiki Barber. This may very well be the most crucial matchup of all and it pits one of the top running backs in the league vs a guy starting his 2nd game in the NFL... Scary huh? Saying Tiki Barber is the key to the Giants' offense is an understatement. He is their offense. Tiki is one of only 2 players in NFL history to account for 40% of his team's total offense in back to back years. If last week's game was any indication, he's headed toward his unprecedented 3rd straight year accounting for a huge chunk of the Giants' total offense. Their offense, run and pass, begins and ends with Barber and stopping him is the key to stopping the Giants' offense. Certainly Trotter will figure mightily into the scheme to stop Barber as will the Eagles defensive line, but McCoy is probably the key. He played outstanding against the Texans' run game laying some big hits, filling gaps, and blowing up runs in the backfilled. If he can play like that again, the Eagles are in very good shape. If he gets sealed off on blocks or he overpursues, both things we saw at times in the preseason, the Giants will run Barber at his side all day and he'll give the Eagles nightmares.

Stats to watch

Tiki Barber is riding a string of 5 consecutive 100 yard rushing games in the regular season

McNabb needs 253 yards passing to get to 20,000 in his career.

This is as good as gets, these are the games we watch football for. Division rival coming to Philly for the home opener... This game could vault the Eagles' into a lot of experts' top 5 teams or it could negate their performance against the Texans as them beating up on a bad team.

My prediction(which was perfect last week): Eagles 17 Giants 10.


Injuries and the lacking return game

0 comments

On the Eagles side the big injury loss is Lito Sheppard. He has a high ankle sprain and the speculation is that he could miss 4-6 weeks, although I've yet to hear that from the Eagles themselves.

What this means is that Rod Hood will slide into the starting CB role. Not a big deal there as Hood as good a nickel DB as there is in football and performed very well when he started last year after Lito went down with an injury to his other ankle. It gets dicey after Hood. Joselio Hanson moves into the nickel slot and former Eagles 6th round pick Dexter Wynn was resigned this week to fill the 4th CB spot. Hanson had been an undrafted journeyman before this year where he shined in the preseason for the Birds. If he plays to level he did against he 2nd teams in the preseason the Eagles should be fine... however if he shows flashes of why he was an undrafted free agent before this season there could be trouble. That said, worrying to much about the nickel corner is nitpicking a bit. The Giants don't exactly have dangerous WR threats after Burress and Toomer. Tim Carter has one career TD and caught only 10 passes last year.

This injury aslo affects the return game. We all know Jeremy Bloom was to be the team's kickoff amd maybe also punt returner was put on IR before the season. Lito had been slated to return punts in the Houston game, but when he was hurt early Westbrook was forced to handle punt return duties... Despite the fact that Westbrook is the best PR on the team, it doesn't appear that Andy wants him back there. Combine that with fact that Mahe missed the week one game due to injury and that the Eagles cut KR Bruce Perry this week... that leaves the team with no certain returners. Newly re-signed Dexter Wynn has experience returning both kickoffs and punts plus Mahe is apparently going to practice this week but he's still questionable to play. So there could be some solutions coming... but nothing terribly exciting.

On the Giants injury front starting RG Chris Snee is likely out and TE Jeremy Shockey has an ankle injury but is listed as probable. The injury to Snee, who did a good job preventing a push from the Colts' DTs could be very significant if his replacement(presumably Rich Seubert) struggles with the Eagles talented inside pass rushers Mike Patterson(5 sacks last year), Broderick Bunkley, and Darren Howard on passing downs.


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