Friday, December 15, 2006

QB Play Should Decide Eagles-Giants Outcome

The Eagles have received much better play than from quarterback Jeff Garcia than anybody could have anticipated, regardless of what the coaches say. Garcia has been an efficient quarterback and more importantly, a leader on the field and in the locker room. His teammates trust him and it doesn't hurt when you've thrown eight touchdown passes and no interceptions.
If he continues this efficiency during Sunday's game at the Meadowlands against the New York Giants (7-6), the Eagles (7-6) could be capable of pulling the upset.
In fact the key to the game will be how the person behind center plays. Giants third-year quarterback Eli Manning has had an erratic season, sort of matching his brief career. Manning was ineffective for three quarters in the first game against the Eagles. Using a no-huddle offense, he caught fire in the fourth quarter and continued in overtime. Trailing 24-7 entering the fourth quarter, the Giants stunned the Eagles, 30-24 in overtime during the second week of the season.
In that game Manning threw for 371 yards, three touchdowns and one interception. He was sacked eight times, back when the Eagles used to have a credible pass rush.
When the Giants had a four-game losing streak that was snapped with last week's 27-13 win over Carolina, Manning was well below standard. In those four losses, he threw four TD passes and six interceptions.
It might be too simplistic, but the team on Sunday that gets the better play from its quarterback, will be the likely winner.
Manning has thrown at least one interception in nine of the Giants' 13 games. The Eagles have proven during their modest two-game win streak, that nothing is more beneficial than causing turnovers.
In those two wins, the Eagles have intercepted four passes and have coughed the ball over just once, on a fumbled punt by Reno Mahe.
So quarterback efficiency will be the key. The Eagles held Manning in check for three quarters last time. They have to extend that to the entire game in order to pull the upset over the favored Giants.