Eagles-Giants: 5 things you need to know

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Eagles-Giants: 5 things you need to know

October 27, 2013, 6:00 am
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Eagles (3-4) vs. Giants (1-6)
1 p.m., FOX
Eagles by 5½

Remember when Lawrence Tynes missed not just one, but two game-winning kicks in the final seconds in the Eagles' 19-17 win over the Giants at the Linc last year?

That was Sept. 30, 2012 — 392 days and nine games ago — and the last time the Birds won at home.

This afternoon, the Giants again visit Lincoln Financial Field, where the Eagles have won three of the last four matchups between the two teams. Michael Vick will return under center (see story) for the first time since going down with a hamstring injury in the Birds' 36-21 win over the G-men three weeks ago.

Here are five things you'll want to know before kickoff:

1. Where do they rank?

Offense: 425 yards per game (3rd), 260 passing (11th), 165 rushing (1st)
Defense: 412 yards per game (32nd), 311 passing (31st), 101 rushing (16th)
Turnovers: 12 takeaways (T-14th), 11 giveaways (T-18th), plus-1 differential (T-14th)

Offense: 328 yards per game (22nd), 261 passing (10th), 67 rushing (31st)
Defense: 365 yards per game (19th), 255 passing (20th), 110 rushing (21st)
Turnovers: 10 takeaways (T-18th), 24 giveaways (32nd), minus-14 differential (32nd)

Despite putting forth their worst offensive effort by far in last week's 17-3 loss to the Cowboys, against whom they tallied just 278 yards (their previous low was 425 vs. Tampa), the Eagles still rank third in the NFL in total yards and first in rushing.

LeSean McCoy had his worst outing, with just 81 yards from scrimmage — 55 of which came on the ground on 18 carries. He still leads the league in rushing (685 yards) with more than 100 yards over the next guy (Marshawm Lynch, 578) and will be hungry to really give it to the Giants, who held him to 46 yards on 20 carries in the last meeting.

With the second-worst rushing attack in the league, the Giants' revolving door of running backs lands this week on Peyton Hillis, whom the Giants added on Oct. 16. Hillis had been on the Buccaneers' roster earlier this year but was released on Sept. 21 and was coaching high school football before New York scooped him up. The former Madden cover man ran for 36 yards and a TD on 18 carries in his debut Monday night.

Meanwhile, Eli Manning is coming off his first game in which he didn't throw an interception (and not coincidentally the first game the Giants didn't lose). Manning, who coughed up three picks on three straight fourth-quarter drives against the Eagles three weeks ago, still leads the league with 15.

2. Vick instead of Nick
Michael Vick will be back after a two-and-a-half week absence, but his mobility may be limited. Vick, who is second among quarterbacks with 307 yards rushing (Russell Wilson, the leader with 323, has played in all seven games), supposedly tested his hamstring for the first time with a 100-yard dash Friday at practice, which was closed to the media.

While Vick should carve apart the Giants' 20th-ranked pass defense if he can run, he may struggle if he can't. He threw for just 105 yards on 6 for 14 passing but ran for 79 yards on seven carries in one half against New York on Oct. 6.

3. And then there's Cruz, Randle and Nicks
The Giants' wide-receiving trio of Victor Cruz, Reuben Randle and Hakeem Nicks combined for 286 yards and two TDs on 20 catches in the last meeting. The Eagles' No. 31 passing defense faces a difficult afternoon.

The nine-catch, 142-yard showing was a season-best for Nicks, who hasn't touched 100 yards since. But Randle's two-TD day served as somewhat of a breakout performance. In two weeks since, Randle — always a deep threat — has scored in each game on receptions of 37 and 24 yards. Cruz, who began the season with 425 yards and four TDs through four games, has no scores and just 166 yards in three games since. He's due for a breakout.

4. Must win?
The math says the Eagles don't need to win this week to stay in the hunt for the division. Common sense says they do.

One week removed from a disheartening loss to Dallas in which first place was up for grabs, the Birds are still very much in it — if they can win this one. The Cowboys have a deceptively tough game in Detroit (where the Lions play well). Overall, the Eagles have the easier schedule the rest of the way but must stay within a game of Dallas for the season finale in Texas to mean anything.

The must-win cliché holds true today.

5. This and that

• In their last meeting three weeks ago, the Eagles scored 17 unanswered points to close out the game in a 36-21 win over the Giants in the Meadowlands.
• Last week, the Giants earned their first victory of the season, 23-7 over the Vikings on Monday night. Manning threw for 200 yards, a TD and no picks while the defense held Adrian Peterson to a season-low 28 yards on 13 carries.
• Michael Vick is 4-2 in his last six career starts against the Giants.
• The Giants have held Jamaal Charles, LeSean McCoy, Matt Forte and Adrian Peterson to under 67 yards rushing.
• Victor Cruz has racked up 447 yards and five TDs on 27 catches in five career games against the Birds.
• Eli Manning is 15 yards away from passing Phil Simms to become franchise leader in passing yards.
• The Eagles have won 9 of 11 against New York.

Injury Report: For the Eagles, QB Nick Foles (concussion) and LB Jake Knott (hamstring) are out; DE Cedric Thornton (knee) and S Patrick Chung (shoulder) are questionable; and CB Bradley Fletcher (knee), P Donnie Jones (left foot) and OT Jason Peters (shoulder/finger) are probable. For the Giants, RB David Wilson (neck) and C David Baas (knee) are out; RB Brandon Jacobs (hamstring), DT Shaun Rogers (knee) and CB Jayron Hosley (hamstring) are doubtful; TE Adrien Robinson (foot) and CB Corey Webster (groin) are questionable; and LB Spencer Paysinger (ankle) and CB Terrell Thomas (knee) are probable.

Recommended reading:

Mosher's Scouting Report: Eagles' defense vs. Giants offense

Eagles' run defense a pleasant surprise

Even without a sack, Cole still making an impact

Eagles look to stop Giants' vertical offense

Ryans doing his best to end Eagles' LB jinx

Is Michael Vick's toughness a curse?

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