Eagles Defense Must Take Advantage of Ailing Giants

Written By Bob Cunningham On Saturday, November 20, 2010

The Eagles' front seven must play in the Giants' backfield.

If the Eagles want to take sole possession of first place in the NFC East, it's going to require a killer instinct and a mentality that they're going to take out a Giants ream that has to be reeling right now due to some injuries and an embarrassing divisional loss to the Cowboys last week.

But more specifically, that killer's mentality must come from Sean McDermott and the defensive side of the ball.

Two starters along the Giants' offense line, center Shaun O'Hara and left tackle David Diehl, have already been ruled out for Sunday night. Diehl's potential replacement, Shawn Andrews, is having back problems and listed as questionable.

Giants fans might not know this yet, but Eagles fans know what that means. Andrews is out for this game and likely the season.

For McDermott, that has to mean one thing: blitz.

Eli Manning has shown time and time again that he will put the ball up for grabs if he gets guys in his face. That's just the type of player he is. Rather than being like his brother and hitting the deck if it becomes evident he's going to be sacked, Eli chucks the ball into the air and hopes for the best.

So if McDermott will blitz the 'A' gap to take advantage of O'Hara being on the sidelines, and allow Trent Cole to come around the edge and take on William Beatty (Andrews' likely replacement), who will be making his first NFL start, rather than dropping him into coverage, the front seven should be able to get a boatload of pressure on Manning and force turnovers.

Dimitri Patterson has shown a nose for the ball, as has safety Nate Allen, and we already know interceptions are about all that matter to Asante Samuel. With those three going for the ball and Eli more than willing to offer it up, those turnovers should lead to short fields for Vick and the offense and translate into a lot of easy points.

However, if McDermott pulls out his usual scheme and plays a soft man or just flat-out zone, Eli will torch them. If given time to find Hakeem Nicks and Mario Manningham, it will be an absolute blood-bath. He is, after all, still a Manning.

And we haven't even brought up the idea of run-blitzing yet. Ahmad Bradshaw is currently (and very quietly) third in the league in rushing. With the way Stewart Bradley has been playing, the Giants might be able to run right up the gut even with O'Hara out.

The way to counteract that is the run blitz. Bring Quintin Mikell into the box, blitz Bradley so he doesn't have a chance to get flat-footed, tell the defensive tackles to squeeze 'A' gap while controlling 'B' gap and let Ernie Sims and Moise Fokou know they've got contain on a pitch.

If McDermott blitzes, the injuries along the line should be too much for the Giants to overcome and the Birds should send the Giants back to New York a game and a half out of first place.

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