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Giants Injury Woes May Matter More Than Vick's Ribs

Giants injury list might be bigger factor than Eagles.



    Giants Injury Woes May Matter More Than Vick's Ribs
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    Boley's absence could wind up being a bigger factor than Vick's.

    It seems like there's no way to escape injuries as the dominant story of this Giants season.

    The twist this week is that the injury on everybody's mind isn't one suffered by a member of the Giants. Michael Vick's broken ribs have been the big story since they were made public on Monday, adding another layer of pain to the ones the Eagles have been heaping upon themselves all season.

    While the Eagles would obviously prefer that Vince Young not start the game on Sunday night, last week's performance was a pretty clear sign that an injured Vick isn't a much better option. 

    He was awful against the Cardinals and perhaps not having him in the game would finally force Andy Reid to realize that LeSean McCoy is perfectly capable of carrying the offense.

    Should that come to pass, the injuries that will have the most to do with determining the outcome of the game will be the ones on the Giants side of the field.

    It looks like Ahmad Bradshaw will miss another game with the foot injury that the Giants deemed a minor issue three weeks ago and Michael Boley also sounds like he'll be a scratch thanks to the hamstring injury that forced him out of the 49ers loss.

    In the Giants' win in Philly early this season, one of the biggest offensive weapons they had was the screen pass to Bradshaw. He caught four of them and turned one into a touchdown against an Eagles defense that loves to pressure with their front four.

    Screens are a great way to defeat that pressure, especially with the Eagles linebacking corps lacking talent across the board. They've been burned on screens all season, so D.J. Ware will have to be able to step in and make plays to give the Giants what they've lost with Bradshaw.

    On defense, Boley's contributions have been somewhat underrated this season thanks to the constant focus on the Giants' pass rushers. Through the first nine games, Boley has given them the kind of consistent playmaking at linebacker that have been almost totally absent in the last two seasons.

    Based on their play this season, Greg Jones and Jacquian Williams could have futures as NFL linebackers but they will have to step up in Boley's absence. Regardless of who the quarterback is for the Eagles, they will be able to make plays out of the pocket, and McCoy is a bear to deal with so the linebacker play will have to be very good for the Giants to sweep the series.

    If all that wasn't enough, the Giants also practiced Thursday without left tackle Will Beatty because of a back injury. The thought of David Diehl moving back to that spot against Trent Cole and Jason Babin is more than a little terrifying and the thought of a compromised Beatty battling them isn't all that reassuring.

    Given the rivalry between the teams, there's not much chance the Giants will look past the wounded Eagles. The issue could be that the players they're missing wind up swinging things in Philly's favor.

    Josh Alper is a writer living in New York City. You can follow him on Twitter and he is also a contributor to Pro Football Talk.

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