I can't remember a time when the Philadelphia Eagles and New York Giants met with both teams being in such bad shape. Both NFC East squads are riding hearty losing streaks, with the G-Men at 0-4 and Philly 1-3 despite beating the Redskins in Week 1.
In fact, dating back to last season, these two teams have lost 17 of their last 22 combined games. They turn it over too often, get beat too often and lack depth on both sides of the ball.
Now, they're both trying to stay afloat in early October. With that said, the winner on Sunday at MetLife Stadium will be alive in the league's weakest division. The loser can probably start thinking about 2014.
Here's our final preview, along with a prediction.
What Philly Must Do to Win, Offensive Edition
Just don't turn it over. The Giants defense is in really bad shape and there should be no issues getting the running game going to take control of this game. Philly just can't shoot itself in the foot.
What Philly Must Do to Win, Defensive Edition
Get pressure on Eli Manning. If New York is going to win, it'll be through the air. The Giants' offensive line is a mess, so get after Manning to limit the damage Victor Cruz and Hakeem Nicks are capable of doing to that secondary.
What New York Must Do to Win, Offensive Edition
Hit on some deep balls. Cruz is still having a tremendous season. At home, a big play or two early could finally swing the momentum in New York's favor, giving the Giants a chance to let David Wilson and the running game settle in.
What New York Must Do to Win, Defensive Edition
Score. Yeah, make big plays. The defense is depleted, but Jason Pierre-Paul, Justin Tuck, Prince Amukamara and Antrel Rolle remain healthy. The New York defense might have to find a way to help the offense by putting points on the board.
5 Most Important Non-Quarterbacks, Eagles Edition
LeSean McCoy: The league's leading rusher has to keep tearing it up.
Jason Peters: You never know when JPP will wake up. Philly has had trouble in pass protection and the key to preventing turnovers is limiting pressure.
Cary Williams: The entire secondary has to be on alert against Manning, Cruz and Nicks, and he's the top cover man.
Trent Cole and Connor Barwin: The Eagles aren't giving Brandon Graham a chance, so Cole and Barwin need to step up the pass rush to keep the heat on Manning.
5 Most Important Non-Quarterbacks, Giants Edition
Jason Pierre-Paul: The Giants need him to emerge in a huge way against a weak group of pass protectors and a quarterback who spends more time in the pocket than anyone in the league.
Will Beatty: What the hell's been wrong with him? Manning needs him to start living up to that big contract.
Mike Patterson: They won't have Linval Joseph, so Patterson—who has played well—will have to keep dominating in the trenches against the league's best running game.
Prince Amukamara: It doesn't look as though the team will have Corey Webster, so it'll be all Prince against DeSean Jackson.
Victor Cruz: He's playing well and New York will need him to make some big plays against that Philly secondary early.
Injury Analysis, Eagles Edition (via ESPN.com)
The Eagles remain very healthy. Everyone practiced late this week, including defensive backs Patrick Chung and Brandon Boykin, who have injured shoulders.
Injury Analysis, Giants Edition (via ESPN.com)
It's quite a different situation for the Giants, who had as many as 15 guys on the injury list this week.
Chris Snee might be headed to injured reserve and center David Baas remains out. Cornerbacks Aaron Ross and Jayron Hosley are out whereas Corey Webster is doubtful. Linval Joseph has also been ruled out.
I don't know how the Giants can overcome these injuries, even at home against a one-win Eagles team. The offensive line could have its hands full with a complex Philly front seven and I can't see New York getting a ton of pressure up front to save a short-handed secondary.
Look for the Eagles to run wild.
B/R NFC East Blog Prediction
That Philadelphia defense is so bad that I think this will be close, but I just can't pick the Giants to beat anybody right now. Eagles win a close one on the road.
Eagles 24, Giants 23
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