Had this preview been written a couple of days ago, it would've had a much more rosy theme. Unfortunately, the word on the street is that not only are Brian Dawkins and Lito Sheppard out on the defensive side of the ball. Not only are L.J. Smith and William Thomas out, but Brian Westbrook is out as well.
This does not bode well for the Birds. Is it possible to win without you best weapon on offense, your tight end, your left tackle and your two best d-backs? Of course it is, but it's going to be tough.
This game is going to come down to the play of two units.
- Donovan and his receivers: I have no confidence in the running game without Westbrook, and that probably means that Andy has negative confidence in the group. McNabb and Curtis are going to have to pick up right where they left off, Reggie Brown is going to have to actually show up for a game, and the backup tight end(s) are going to have to get involved. Without Westbrook, this game is squarely on Number 5's shoulders, and he won't have his favorite weapon to throw to.
- The d-line: This group is leading the league in sacks. They've been able to get pressure without blitzing. They're going to have to keep it up. It's going to be tough for the secondary to contain the Giants without Dawkins and Lito. It's going to be impossible if the Eagles need to blitz to get pressure on Manning. If the front four can do it on their own, the secondary can sit back, and help each other out. This will at least give them a fighting chance.
Like I said, this preview is grim. The news today was grim. That being said, the Giants are a terrible team. The Eagles should still be able to beat them.
Kickoff is about an hour away, I'll post my notes throughout the night.