|Michael Vick will need to rebound this week and avoid sacks to give the Eagles a chance to get back on track. (US Presswire)|
Giants at Eagles -- Week 4.
Where: Lincoln Financial Field, Philadelphia (artificial turf)
When: Sunday, 8:20 p.m. ET (NBC)
Spread: Eagles by 1.5 points
Forecast: Low-70s; partly cloudy; 10 percent chance of rain.
2012 records: Eagles (Overall: 2-1; NFC East: 0-0); Giants (Overall: 2-1; NFC East: 0-1).
Past results: Two most recent meetings -- Nov. 20, 2011: Eagles 17, Giants 10; Sept. 25, 2011: Giants 29, Eagles 16. Series record: Giants lead 83-75-2.
What matters: The Eagles are coming off a loss to Arizona, and they really haven’t played well this season. So, this is the perfect time to put together a solid game as they host a divisional rival and the defending Super Bowl champion Giants. The Eagles also need to get off to a good start so QB Michael Vick can get into a groove, the rest of the team can gain confidence and the boo-birds won’t have any early ammunition.
Who matters: The Eagles keep talking about bringing balance to their offense, but then they went out last week in Arizona and call a pass play on 25 of 30 plays in the first half. But if they’re serious about it this week, RB LeSean McCoy might finally get a chance to shine. He’s arguably the best RB in the NFL, but the Eagles have not gone to him consistently. Considering how good the Giants’ pass rush is and how many times Vick has turned it over this season, this would be the perfect time to hand the ball and the game to McCoy.
Key matchups: OTs Todd Herremans and Demetress Bell vs. DEs Jason Pierre-Paul and Osi Umenyiora. The Eagles’ No. 1 priority has to be protecting QB Michael Vick, for several reasons. He needs time to find his receivers, he has a long and varied injury history and the Eagles can’t afford to have him add to it and he's also leading the NFL in turnovers with nine in just three games. If Vick doesn’t have time to do his job -- and he tends to take more time than most QBs -- then the Eagles don’t have a chance.
Injuries of note: It appears LB Akeem Jordan (hamstring) won’t play, and he’ll be replaced on the weak side by Jamar Chaney. T King Dunlap (hamstring) will miss his second-straight game and once again be replaced by Demetress Bell. Long-snapper Jon Dorenbos (high-ankle sprain) didn’t practice all week, and if he can’t go, the Eagles have until 4 p.m. Saturday to activate LS Kyle Nelson from the practice squad.
Inside stuff: Don’t be surprised to see WR DeSean Jackson return a punt or two. The Eagles aren’t happy with job rookie Damaris Johnson has done, especially his judgment on fielding punts. And Jackson has a history of success against the Giants, including his most famous (or infamous, depending on your perspective) return, a 65-yarder for the winning TD as time expired in 2010. Jackson also returned a punt vs. the Giants 72 yard for a TD in 2009 and although he didn’t score last season against New York, he did average 16.8 yards on four returns.
Connections: Tom Coughlin’s first job in the NFL was receivers coach under Eagles coach Marion Campbell in 1984-85, when one his players was one of the Eagles’ all-time greats, Mike Quick. The Eagles went 13-18-1 in those two seasons.
Stat you should know: Vick might not always be the most efficient quarterback, but he knows how to deliver in the clutch. Since becoming the starter in 2010 Vick has led the Eagles to six fourth-quarter comeback victories and since 2009 his QB rating in the fourth quarter is 92.1, fifth best among all NFL QBs and the best mark for an Eagles’ QB since Randall Cunningham in 1999.
Prediction: Giants 23, Eagles 20
For more up-to-the-minute news and analysis on the Philadelphia Eagles from blogger Kevin Noonan, follow@CBSEagles.