NFC East: audibles 10 NFC
Posted by ESPN.com's Matt Mosley
New York Giants (7-1) vs. Philadelphia Eagles (5-3), 8:15 p.m. ET
There are so many great story lines in this one, it's difficult to know where to start. Giants defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo served under Eagles defensive coordinator Jim Johnson in Philadelphia. Spagnuolo has taken what he learned from Johnson and added a few concepts. The Eagles are old at offensive tackle -- and you have to think Spagnuolo will take advantage of that. Both Tra Thomas and Jon Runyan will have to square off with Giants defensive end Justin Tuck at some point Sunday. Runyan is one of the nastiest blockers in the league, but I'm not sure he's capable of dealing with Tuck's lightning-quick first step.
I'll be surprised if the Eagles are able to run on the Giants, so Andy Reid and Marty Mornhinweg will have to look for Brian Westbrook on bubble screens and wheel routes. If the Eagles can pick up the blitz, Donovan McNabb will have some one-on-one opportunities against Corey Webster and Aaron Ross.
On defense, the Eagles have been solid against the run. They've held opposing teams to 3.5 yards per carry, and Clinton Portis was the only back who really gashed them. Look for Giants tight end Kevin Boss to help out quite a bit on defensive end Trent Cole. Coming off a 12 1/2-sack season, Cole has only had three in 2008. He's dangerous off the edge, though, and Giants left tackle David Diehl will have to be ready.
Our friends at Scouts Inc. gave the Eagles the advantage at running back and receiver. That was baffling to me, because the Giants appear to have more depth at both positions. I understand that Westbrook is a better all-around player than Jacobs, but the Giants are stacked at the position with Derrick Ward and Ahmad Bradshaw.
The Giants also have more quality depth at receiver. Steve Smith has emerged as one of the most reliable third-down receivers in the division and Domenik Hixon has given New York another deep threat. The Eagles have a lot of weapons, but they don't have anyone in Plaxico Burress' league. Perhaps DeSean Jackson will get there at some point, but the Giants currently hold the edge at receiver.
The kickers might end up having a big say in this game. Andy Reid has stuck with David Akers through some rough times. And Tom Coughlin has stuck with veteran John Carney despite the fact that NFC Championship Game hero Lawrence Tynes has been healthy for the past month.
I think we're in for a superb football game. Something tells me the Giants will find a way to win.