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Eagles have had Giants' number lately

The SportsXchange

In their last five quarters, the Giants have scored 61 points, rushed for 143 yards, and passed for 531 yards -- numbers that head coach Tom Coughlin attributed to improved focus on assignments and techniques.

This week, the Giants will face the Philadelphia Eagles, a 2-1 team that, over the same five quarters, has scored just 13 points, rushed for 145 yards, and passed for 269 yards. Over that same period, the Eagles have recorded 12 turnovers thus far.

Still, Philadelphia is a team that, since 2008, has had its way with the Giants, winning seven of the last eight games, including playoffs, and it has won its last five contests against NFC East opponents.

That's why Coughlin has his team bracing for a knock-down, drag-out fight Sunday night when his Giants roll into Philadelphia for a big NFC East matchup.

Offensively, the Giants are going to face a smallish, but quick Eagles defense that is very physical despite its size.

"I see a team that's been playing great defensively dating back to the second half of last year. Very athletic front that is relentless and also has great players," said offensive lineman Kevin Boothe.

"Everyone knows about their ends being All-Pros, but their inside guys were good too, and they play their scheme very well and they do everything they can," he added. "They have a great new middle linebacker in there (DeMeco Ryans) that makes a lot of tackles. They're tough."

To counter the Eagles' defensive threat, the Giants will probably look to get their running game going early, using a steady dose of Ahmad Bradshaw and Andre Brown to tire out the Eagles front.

In the passing game, the Eagles haven't blitzed as much as they have in the past. Instead, they have sought to get pressure with their front four.

Defensively, the Giants will look for their pass rush to finally get untracked. However, Coughlin, whose team has sacked Eagles quarterbacks 27 times since 2007, noted that the Eagles have done a much better job with shoring up their protection schemes.

"Their effort is outstanding every time we play them," said Coughlin. "They certainly have done quite a bit to make sure the pass rush is in as much check as they possibly can."

Some of what the Eagles might do to ensure that the Giants' pass rush doesn't have a field day is to alter their formation a bit to close up the gaps between the offensive linemen. They might also ask quarterback Michael Vick to get rid of the ball faster via a shorter drop which would likely mean a lot of short to mid-range throws.

The Eagles are also expected to deploy chipping against defensive ends Justin Tuck, Osi Umenyiora, and Jason Pierre-Paul in order to slow down their charge.

Another thing the Giants will look to try to control is the big passing play. Thus far, the Eagles have recorded 13 pass plays of 20 or more yards, and this week, against a Giants defensive secondary that is banged up, Philadelphia's big play making ability will certainly be one of the challenges for the Giants defense to try to limit.

That all starts with defending Vick.

"Against Michael Vick, we've had our problems here and there along the way trying to defend his athleticism, his speed, the outstanding runner that he is," Coughlin said. "I can go back as far as Atlanta and point a few things out to you that had taken place over the years when he was there. So he's an exceptional threat, whether it be running or passing. He's tough, he's a hard-nosed guy, he certainly can take a hit, and he's an outstanding competitor."

While Vick is prone to making mistakes, his supporting cast has gotten the Giants' attention.

"They do a little bit of everything as far as the way their offense is," said linebacker Michael Boley. "They have a plethora of skill guys that can make some plays. (They've) had good play calling and those receivers do a great job of getting open and down the field, so if throw it up to them, they're going to get it."

"We're going to take what they give us and just execute as best as possible," said Boothe.
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