The time has come at last for the Philadelphia Eagles’ laughable 2012 campaign to come to an end.
In a famously bitter NFC East rivalry, the New York Giants will be hosting the Eagles on Sunday afternoon, with hopes of winning a wild card berth for the playoffs.
With nothing to lose at a hopeless 4-11, the Eagles would just love to ruin the Giants’ chance of limping into the playoffs with a convincing win on Sunday.
The Eagles have been incredibly unfortunate this season when it comes to injury, as their offense, specifically, has been absolutely hammered with injury all year long.
Among the season-long casualties for the Eagles are three offensive linemen (LT Jason Peters, RT Todd Herremans, C Jason Kelce) and the team’s number one wide-out, DeSean Jackson. Eagles QB Michael Vick and RB LeSean McCoy have missed decent chunks of time also, 6 games and 4 games respectively, after both suffered concussions mid-season.
Besides the Giants’ playoff hopes, the biggest headline for this game by far is the fact that Vick will likely start for the Eagles at QB for the first time since Week 10. As Vick is expected to move on from the Eagles at season’s end, this final game is more or less an audition for his next NFL job.
Vick was given the starting nod for the Eagles’ final game ahead of backup QB Trent Edwards after rookie QB Nick Foles broke his hand in last week’s game against the Washington Redskins.
While McCoy and backup RB Bryce Brown will factor into the Eagles’ offensive attack slightly, I look for the birds to go with a Vick-heavy system. Look for the versatile QB to tally plenty of pass attempts against a very modest Giants’ secondary, while utilizing the read-option running game as well.
The Giants’ offense is similar to the Eagles in that the primary focal point will be the quarterback as well.
Fortunately for the Giants, they have a proven franchise signal-caller in Eli Manning who has proven to have the ability to generate a lethal passing attack no matter who is available in the receiving corps.
Manning’s wide-outs have failed to meet expectations this year, as Giants WR Hakeem Nicks has had an incredibly disappointing season after showing great promise in recent years.
And while WR Victor Cruz has had a decent season to date with 82 catches for 1,040 yards and 9 touchdowns, he has managed nearly 500 fewer receiving yards as opposed to last season.
Giants’ stand-out rookie, RB David Wilson, has dazzled spectators in the running game in recent weeks after factoring solely in the return game early in the year. Ahmad Bradshaw is sure to handle the ball as well, while the Giants will look to ride the hot-hand in the backfield.
The Vick vs. Manning showdown will generate the most attention from spectators for good reason, as it will certainly be the battle that will decide this game.
With both team’s rushing attacks performing inconsistently of late due to injury and youth, I look for the squad’s veteran quarterbacks to take charge, and lead their troops.
In a Week 17 curtain-call, marking the end of an atrocious season, I look for the Eagles to shatter the Giants’ playoff hopes in a must-see, nail-biting, 21-19 victory.
Please follow Joe on Twitter @Joe_RantNFL for all Eagles/NFL insight.