I do not understand why the spread on this game is only 3 points. I have never been this pessimistic about the Giants chances in a game in recent memory. Giants are coming off one of their worst defensive performances of the last few years. (I'm excluding last year which was tainted by injury.) By contrast, the Eagles are coming off one of the most impressive, overwhelming offensive performances I have ever seen. The Eagles offense threw deep, short and medium. They threw to their outside WRs, to their TEs, ran the ball effectively, had Vick extending plays to find his WRs and scrambling when the pocket broke down or when he saw an opening. With those two units, the Eagles offense and the Giants defense, seemingly going in opposite directions, how do the Giants avoid getting trampled by a Vick-led offense that seems unstoppable and seems to be a perfect match up against the Giants defense. If you look at the lessons of last week's games, the Cowboys laid out a road map for how to beat the Giants defense. Don't let the Giants pass rush beat you, take lots of shots down the field, use play action passes and route combinations that will divert the safeties from helping out on the deep balls. The Cowboys did it by max protecting often and giving help to their OL to keep the Giants away from an immobile Kitna. The Eagles OL is superior to the Cowboys OL and they will not have to give as much help in pass protection. More important than that of course, is that Vick can avoid any pass rush with his feet and make time for his speedy and talented outside WRs, DeSean Jackson and Jerry Maclin to get deep on the Giants secondary. It is a very tall order for the Giants defense to handle.
(BTW - did everyone see Redskins unhappy DT Haynesworth fall to the ground on one of the Eagles pass plays - when he saw Vick starting to scramble around, he just lay there and did not get up for about 4 or 5 seconds, until the play was over. He's a real high effort player. He has a low motor; the anti-Tollefson)
The best the Giants can do defensively this week is to take a page out of the Cowboys playbook from last week. Play more zone and less man-to-man; play a little more conservatively with the secondary than they have so far this year. Man-to-man underneath occasionally to use different looks on Vick is fine, but always 2-deep zone behind them and make sure that you keep everything in front of you in the secondary. Remember that when the defense plays man-to-man underneath, the CB's backs are turned to the line of scrimmage and it gives Vick all kinds of running lanes, so this should only be used as an occasional change up look. But, you can't sit back in the same defense all game long, because a smart play caller like Reid will pick it apart. You may have to live with some runs by Vick at the expense of keeping him from hitting big plays down the field. If you stick with a lot of zone coverage, you are essentially saying: make the Eagles beat you with lots of short plays, hope the defense can make a play and don't gamble and challenge them to hit deep plays.
At the same time, while the DB-field needs to be conservative, I think you have to be aggressive and varied with the pass rush. Occasional blitz of a S or CB is not a bad idea, even though it is a big risk. Vick is too quick and it would be too easy for him to evade a blitzing LB, so bringing the extra DB instead gives a better chance of getting home. Giants, more than usual, need a huge game from their DL. They will need to stop the run on their own, without as much frequent help from an aggressive S in the box. They will also need to generate a pass rush while staying somewhat disciplined in the rush lanes so as not to let Vick out of the pocket. This is much easier said than done, Vick is a crazy athlete and a great runner. To play well, of course, the DL needs its top players to play well: Canty, Cofield, Tuck and Osi. But they will need some help and big games from secondary players this week as well. Specifically, Rookie JPP and even Dave "Rudy" Tollefson need to play very well this week because they are unusually fast for DL-men, even with the emphasis in the NFL on outside speed rushing DEs. Speed up front may be able to keep Vick from killing the Giants defense all by himself. Giants could have really used Kiwanuka this week against a shifty Vick. I would think about dressing Linval Joseph as an extra DL-man this week. The DL will benefit from frequent rest and lots of rotation to stay fresh while chasing after Vick all night. Overall, the Giants DL has quickness and is better suited to chase after Vick than the Redskins DL was, with Haynesworth in the middle.
The big worry is that if the Giants defense allows a lot of big plays and the game turns into a shootout, the crippled Giants offense, limited and not running on all cylinders, will be unable to keep up. Giants offense has 2 of their starting OL-men out (O'Hara and Diehl) and one (Seubert) playing out of position. Boothe was not very good at G last week and the injuries really hurt. (Word this morning is that Andrews, who played so well against the Cowboys has a bad back; his absence would really hurt the team.) They are also missing Smith, their best WR and have a few key substitutes also gone (Barden). Don't forget that they lost for the year some other WRs that could have come in handy at this point, in Hixon, Moss and Cruz. That's a lot of talent that they are missing and the Giants will not be as explosive as usual on offense. They did sign Derek Hagan, so at least they will have warm bodies at the WR position. Maybe the Giants can get a little creative and use Bradshaw in the slot sometimes with Jacobs and Ware doing more of the running. I would prefer to use Jacobs more in this game anyway, to try to push around the somewhat lighter Eagles defense. The Giants offense has to be careful with the ball and generate a big running game.
Overall, on both sides of the ball, a generalization we can make is that the Eagles are built for speed and the Giants are built for size (though speed is not bad.) Giants have to approach the game to try to leverage their size and mitigate the Eagles speed advantage.