If you're a fan of the Giants and Yankees with some financial means, it would be hard to resist hopping on a train down to Philadelphia for the weekend. You could see a pair of World Series games on Saturday and Sunday nights and cleanse your palette with what should be quite the little football game on Sunday afternoon.
The Giants and Eagles are going to battle for first place in the NFC East while simultaneously battling the serious chinks in their armor that have appeared over the past couple of games. The Eagles offense, thought to be among the best in football, has deteriorated into a big play or bust system that barely generated enough points to beat the woeful Redskins a week after losing to the inept Raiders. Michael Vick's addition has proven to be, pardon the pun, more bark than bite, and it looks like Giant killer Brian Westbrook will miss the game because of a concussion.
It sounds like for the perfect weekend for the Giants defense to cure what's been ailing them. Eliminating Westbrook's shiftiness from the game means they can go after Donovan McNabb without worrying that they'll be caught upfield when he dumps off a screen pass. Their beleaguered secondary gets a bit of a break after the Saints and Cardinals and should be able to handle the Eagles wideouts even if defensive coordinator Bill Sheridan finally decides that it is okay to unleash the defensive hounds.
All of that will only work if the offense doesn't continually turn the game over to the defense with short fields to protect, however. Only one of three Arizona touchdown drives started in their own territory last week, and that was on the 45-yard line, thanks to Eli Manning's inability to make the right decisions against the pressure of the Cardinals defense. He's not going to see any less aggressiveness from the blitz-happy Eagles and the Giants need a return to the cool, confident Eli this weekend to have any chance to win the game.
It's not all on him. Ahmad Bradshaw fumbled and Mario Manningham dropped a pass, but he's not going to get better players to work with this season. He has to elevate his teammates instead of letting their shortcomings lead him to throw into double coverage for Steve Smith or take two delay of game penalties because he can't figure out the right formula to move the ball downfield.
Maybe he's still feeling the effects of his foot injury or perhaps these are just temporary issues that can be ironed out, but the Giants need more from their quarterback to prevail in their portion of the battle for I-95 supremacy.