New York Giants (8-4) at Philadelphia (5-7)

New York Giants Defense
5th Ranked against the Run
11th Ranked against the Pass
New York Giants Offense
6th Ranked in Rushing
18th Ranked in Passing

Philadelphia Eagles Defense
10th Ranked against the Run
18th Ranked against the Pass
Philadelphia Eagles Offense
10th Ranked in Rushing
12th Ranked in Passing

Yes it’s true that the Giants are 8-4, a record that would be good enough for first place in some other NFC divisions that don’t require their champions to exhibit any significant brainwave activity. But there’s something missing from the Giant’s victories; competition. Of the eight teams the Giants have beaten this year, the entire lot of them have losing records except for the Lions who are even at 6-6. Even one of New York’s four losses was to a Vikings squad that was 5-6 at the time.

Such a relatively easy schedule might paint a pretty picture on paper, but those who watch the Giants week in and week out know the real story. Giants quarterback Eli Manning is inconsistent and usually lacks the field generalship needed to keep the Giants offense executing all the way down the gridiron. Where earlier in the season Eli had better numbers than his brother in some categories, he has slipped in the rankings and has now thrown almost as many interceptions as touchdowns.

This weeks schedule pits the Giants against a losing team yet again as they play Philadelphia for the second time this season. Granted, some division rivals like the Eagles and Redskins are probably tougher than their records would indicate but the overall lack of solid adversaries through much of the season does not inspire hopes that the Giants can compete in the playoffs.

Nevertheless, Manning will most likely handle the Eagles this week. Philadelphia quarterback Donovan McNabb is expected to start for the first time since the Washington game in Week 10, but will probably be a bit rusty. New York has a good defense against the run and thus are adequately prepared to slow down Eagles running back Brian Westbrook. And Philadelphia’s average pass defense can probably be exploited by the Giants if Plaxico Burress can fight his way through the pain of his sore ankle to come up with some big catches.

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