Eagles Step Up to Get the Win
October 6, 2013 in Philadelphia Eagles
By Phil Thompson
This may have been a game that the Eagles were expected to win, and should have won, but that doesn't lessen the impact of this win. For the Eagles to have any legitimate shot at winning the division they needed to beat the Giants on the road. In addition to the playoff and division implications, the Eagles needed to get their offense back on track and see their defense start to make some plays after a couple of rough weeks. With their 36-21 win, the Eagles accomplished all their goals and in a sense reset their season.
It didn't always look like the Eagles were going to win this game, as the Giants drove down the field and struck first with a touchdown in the first four minutes. The Eagles couldn't answer as Michael Vick didn't complete a pass in the first quarter and Philly could only manage a field goal. Things looked up in the 2nd quarter as the Eagles added three more field goals and a TD in the 2nd quarter, but lost Michael Vick for the rest of the game with a hamstring injury. Philadelphia's 19-7 lead looked good at half, but the Giants quickly struck twice in the third quarter to go up 21-19. New York's scoring ended at that point as the Eagles put up 17 unanswered points to take a 36-21 lead with 8 minutes to go. The Eagles defense stepped up in that final quarter, intercepting Eli Manning three times and got a lot of pressure on him. The offense led by Nick Foles stepped up as well, converting those turnovers into points.
With the win the Eagles are in a prime position in this division, and depending on how the Cowboys do, the Eagles could be in first place. The Eagles have a easy four game stretch up ahead of them, as they head on the road to Tampa Bay, have the Cowboys and Giants at home and Oakland on the road. The Buccaneers and Raiders are going with extremely raw quarterbacks and have yet to show much of anything positive this season. The Giants have the pieces, but they are just a mess right now, and if they can't win at home their chances of coming into Philly to get a win are slim-to-none. That leaves only the Cowboys as a threat in this stretch, and though they are a decent team, they have weaknesses other teams have exploited. That Dallas game is also in Philadelphia, which should give the Cowboys an edge.
If the Eagles can sweep those 4 games, they will be sitting at 6-3, and likely in firm control of their division. After that four game stretch the Eagles have a road match-up against the Packers and a home game against the Redskins. The Packers would be tough to beat, but the Redskins at home should be pretty doable. That would put the Eagles at 7-4 heading into their bye. It would also mean they were 5-0 in the division, which would be huge for any sort of tie breaker. After the bye the Eagles have winnable games at home over the Cardinals and on the road versus the Vikings. If they win those two, those 9 wins, with a favorable tie-breaker situation puts them in a great situation, even if they were to lose their other three games (Lions, Bears and @Cowboys).
Now this game didn't come without some question marks, as Michael Vick left early with a hamstring injury. Though Nick Foles played well, it was clear the loss of Vick, impacted the effectiveness of McCoy. Foles will do a solid job, but it is tough to see the Eagles going on the run they need to go on without Vick. Even if Vick can play in the next week or two, if he can't run as much that will limit the offenses' effectiveness as well. Though it's too soon to know how significant the injury may be, Vick didn't look in much pain, and stayed in for the rest of the drive where he was injured.
The Eagles did what they had to today and put themselves in a great position to turn their season around and win this division, but they still have to execute to get the job done. They did a great job today, and gave themselves a blueprint on how to win in the coming weeks.