Birds in first; head to Chicago for big NFC matchup

Eagles RB LeSean McCoy waltzes into the end zone after his 50-yard touchdown on a 4th-and-1 in the last four minutes of play gave the Eagles the lead for good. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

Final Score: Eagles 27, Giants 17
Eagles best play: Michael Vick bobble the snap on 4th-and-1 but recovered, pitching it left to LeSean McCoy who took it 50 yards to the house with over 4:30 left in the game to give the Eagles a 24-17 lead.
Eagles worst play: In one of the Eagles’ three red zone possessions that ended in a field goal, Jason Avant dropped a pass all alone in the back of the endzone.

Three stars
J. Maclin (PHI) – 9 catches, 120 yards.
L. McCoy (PHI) – 14 carries, 111 yards, TD. 5 catches, 29 yards.
A. Samuel (PHI) – 2 INT, fumble recovered, 2 tackles.

Breaking down the game

THE GAME CHANGER —With under five minutes left in the game and the Eagles’ chances running out, they found themselves in a do-or-die situation. On fourth-and-one, the Eagles chose to run the ball. Instead of trying to muscle it through the Giants stout offensive line, which held LeSean McCoy to 13 yards on the game, the Eagles opted for a toss.

Vick bobbled the snap but got control of it in time to pitch it left to McCoy, who busted through the Giants secondary for a 50-yard touchdown. Vick found Avant for the two-point conversion to make it a 24-17 game with just over four minutes remaining.

McCoy added a 40-yard run on the next possession to get himself over 100 yards on the game in the win.

The Giants saw their chance at tying the game halted when Eli Manning fumbled the ball away. Asante Samuel recovered it for his second of the game. (AP Photo/Rob Carr)

DEFENSIVE STAND — We all know how goofy Eli Manning looks. The Eagles made him look even more foolish in the game, forcing him to throw three interceptions. Manning also didn’t help his cause when he dove forward and fumbled the ball in the fourth quarter, halting the Giants drive when they trailed 24-17.

The Eagles were all over Manning, forcing bad throws and poor decisions. Manning managed to complete only 20-of-33 passes for 147 yards and two touchdowns. The longest pass he completed was to Brandon Jacobs, who picked up most of the 22 yards after the catch.

The ground game for New York, which was one of the best in the league, was absolutely stuffed. The Giants managed only 61 yards on the ground with over half the yards coming on Ahmad Bradhaw’s 17-yard run and Manning’s 16-yard run that ended in a costly fumble.

FINE GAME FOR SAMUEL — Other than being fined $40,000 for a helmet-to-helmet hit on Giants WR Derek Hagan, Samuel had himself a tremendous effort. He picked off Manning twice and recovered two fumbles, the first forced by Brandon Graham and the second off of Manning in the win. Samuel also had two tackles which could be a career high the way he wraps up ball carriers.

HOBBS ON IR — Ellis Hobbs was injured on a scary play in the third. Taking the opening kick-off of the second half, Hobbs was hit head-to-head by Giants DL Dave Tollefson, injuring his neck. No foul or fine was issued to Tollefson because Hobbs isn’t considered a “vulnerable” player and that helmet hits are allowed on ball carriers with established possession (*cough*bullshit*cough*).

The hit left Hobbs lying on the field for over 11 minutes before being taken off on a stretcher.

Hobbs was placed on the injured reserve today. Hobbs missed the last nine games of the 2009 season with a neck injury.

PHI: 7-3, 1st in NFC East
CHI: 7-3, t1st in NFC North
Spread: Eagles by 3.5
Where: Soldier Field (Chicago, IL).
When: Sunday, 4:15 on FOX.
Last Week: The Eagles beat the Giants, 27-17. The Bears shut out the Dolpins, 16-0.

BATTLE FOR BEST IN NFC — People will get a good look at what the Eagles high-powered offense can do against one of the best defenses in the NFC. They saw last week they could over come a tough Giants defense but a repeat performance would solidify them as the top contender in the conference.

Michael Vick, LeSean McCoy, DeSean Jackson, and Jeremy Maclin are all enjoying years to remember. Vick is a top MVP candidate with his performance this season, throwing for 1,608 yards, 11 touchdowns, and no interceptions this season. He had the highest pass rating (108.7) in the NFL. He’s also run for 375 yards and five touchdowns.

 

Bears RB Matt Forte runs through two Dolpins last Thursday in their 16-0 win. (AP Photo/J. Pat Carter)

On the Bears offense, Jay Cutler has completed over 61% of his passes for 2,064 yards, 12 touchdowns, and 10 interceptions. He could struggle against the Eagles secondary which features ball hawks Asante Samuel, who leads the NFL with seven picks, and rookie Nate Allen, who has three. As a team, they’ve picked off a league-high 19 passes.

 

The Bears are relying on their defense, which has allowed an average of 290 yards a game this season, third in the NFL. They’ve also allowed an NFL-low 14.6 points per game. D.J. Moore leads the team with four interceptions and ends Julius Peppers and Israel Idonije have a combined 11 sacks.

Chicago will be well-rested for this game, having 10-days off before kickoff. Their 16-0 win over Miami on Thursday helped keep them in pace for first place in the NFC North.

This game is going to come down to whether or not the Bears weak offense can score on the Eagles strong defense. If their defense holds up their end of the bargain, it could be a very low-scoring game. If not, expect the Eagles to win in a blowout.

Roose’s prediction (6-4): The Bears defense will hold the Eagles offense  enough to win but they won’t score. Eagles win, 19-10.

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