The Philadelphia Eagles (3-6) visit the National Football Conference East-leading New York Giants (6-3) at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J., on Sunday night, with the Eagles searching for answers in what has been a very disappointing season.
Quarterback Michael Vick has been ruled out for the game, which is bad news for an Eagles squad that may have to win all seven of their remaining games to earn a playoff spot.
Vick, who was listed as questionable earlier this week, won't make the trip after sustaining two broken ribs in a 21-17 loss to the Arizona Cardinals last Sunday. Mike Kafka has completed 11-of-16 passes this season, while Vince Young has only thrown one pass all year, and it was an interception. Either way, the quarterback Andy Reid chooses to play on Sunday -- and it might be the veteran Young -- won't have Jeremy Maclin as a target, as the wide receiver is sidelined with hamstring and shoulder injuries.
The Eagles, who were considered one of the favorites to come out of the NFC, have been competitive this season, but simply have come up short, mainly due to turnovers. Five of Philadelphia's six losses were within a seven-point margin. The Eagles are tied for the most turnovers in the NFL (21).
Philadelphia has the best rushing offense in the NFL, led by star running back LeSean McCoy. The third-year pro can probably expect more carries than usual on Sunday, given the absence of Vick and Maclin.
The rest of the Eagles schedule isn't favorable for the wounded birds, and things won't be easy against the Giants. New York defeated the New England Patriots on Nov. 6, but are looking to rebound after a disappointing loss to the San Francisco 49ers last Sunday.
The Giants were in a tight game against the surging 49ers, but quarterback Eli Manning couldn't complete a pass in the end zone on the 49ers' 10-yard line in the closing moments of the fourth quarter. The 27-20 loss snapped a three-game winning streak for Big Blue.
However, the Giants have overachieved in many critics' eyes. Nonetheless, the offense ranks fifth in the NFL in passing this season, and New York has scored 20 points or better in every game this season since the opening-week loss to the Redskins. 28-14.
If there is an area for improvement for Tom Coughlin's squad, it's the running game. New York are ranked 29th overall in rushing-yards average. Leading rusher Ahmad Bradshaw (foot) has been ruled out for Sunday's game.
The Giants currently have a one-game lead over the Dallas Cowboys for the NFC East's top spot.
ODDS: Giants are 3.5-point favorites
PREDICTION: The loss of Vick and Maclin will be particularly tough on the Eagles, and McCoy likely won't be able to pick up the slack. Expect the Giants' rush defense to be up for the challenge of containing McCoy and the rest of the Eagles' rushers. Philadelphia's secondary will need to limit the dangerous trio of Victor Cruz, Hakeem Nicks, and Mario Manningham if they expect to make this game competitive. More than likely, New York's defense will limit the Eagles' offense, and give Manning good field position for most of the game.
PREDICTED SCORE: Giants 24, Eagles 10