By Steve Silverman
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This losing streak has to end sometime for the New York Giants, and if this is the week, it would not be impossible for the Giants to get back in the putrid NFC East race.
The division, which for years gave the NFL its signature, has fallen to pieces.
The NFC East used to be about toughness, hard hitting and rivalries. Not anymore.
The Dallas Cowboys are probably the most talented team in the division, but they are a heartless bunch that falls apart in the most important games.
The Washington Redskins appear to have been put in a bad position by a coach who grows increasingly isolated and harder to get along with every passing day.
The Giants are a mess because they have been miserable on both sides of the line of scrimmage and their quarterback appears devoted to throwing interceptions on a regular basis.
The Eagles have a whole slew of problems of their own, and they are mainly on the defensive side of the ball. It starts with a lack of talent, and that means those problems are not going to be addressed until next offseason.
But Chip Kelly has given the offense a legitimate direction. Things had grown stale under Andy Reid and the Eagles were listless last year. They are not listless this year.
Kelly has infused energy and gotten the team in shape. That may be the biggest problem this week as the Eagles come to MetLife Stadium. If they can hold onto the ball long enough, they have a chance to run the Giants out of their own ballpark.
That’s because the Giants’ defense is a liability. They rank 22nd overall and 25th against the run. The Eagles, with Michael Vick behind center, are the No. 1 running team in the league.
Vick is going to run with the ball on occasion, but the big problem will be stopping LeSean McCoy. Shady has the kind of speed to exploit small holes and produce big yards.
DeSean Jackson can do the same thing through the passing game. He has burned the Giants many times with his speed and breakaway ability. Tight end Brent Celek has reliable hands and will catch the ball on third down and keep drives alive.
Despite their 1-3 record, the offense is working for the Eagles. They are averaging better than 450 yards per game.
The Eagles certainly have balance. They are second in yards per game, and can regularly move the ball with ease. The problem for the Eagles is that their yards have not translated into an equivalent number of points. Penalties, dropped passes and missed opportunities have kept them from taking advantage of their ability to go up and down the field.
But don’t count on that happening much longer. It seems likely that the mistakes that have dogged the team will diminish in the coming weeks as they get more comfortable in the offense.
So the Giants are catching the Eagles at a critical moment. If they can mount some significant defensive pressure for the first time this year, they might be able to take advantage of the Eagles’ mistakes.
If they can’t, the Eagles will find their stride and possibly put a big number on the board.
In any other division, the Giants’ 0-4 start would doom them to a miserable year. However, if they can find a way to steal a win here and the Broncos thrash the Cowboys, the Giants would be just one game back.
The Giants have been the most disappointing team in the league to this point. But they are not doomed yet.
There are 12 games left, and if they can find a way to force the Eagles into critical mistakes, they can take the first step toward rescuing the season from the horrid embarrassment it has been to this point.
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