This is by far the best Sunday
Night Football game this season pitting the Giants (6-3, 3-1 away)
against the Eagles (6-3, 2-2 home) with first place in the NFC
East up for grabs. With six teams now tied with 6-3 records and Atlanta posting
the conferences best record at 7-2, the winner will take a big step to securing
a playoff spot.
How to deal with Michael Vick?
As obvious as it may appear the
Giants must find ways to stop Michael Vick if they are to win this game.
However, there are no obvious defensive schemes that any defensive coordinator
can implement that will work consistently through a 60 minute game. The one
scheme we know that does not work is what Washington chose to do.
They took their best defender
and had him as a ‘spy’ and Vick’s athleticism and decision making exploited
that in a huge way breaking many MNF football and team records in the process.
Vick scored six touchdowns with four through the air and two rushing the ball.
He had 333 passing yards and 80 rushing yards for 413 yards of total offense.
No quarterback has been hotter
and playing the complete position of quarterback than Michael has been in the
history of the NFL. However, how much better can the performance get or is it
even sustainable? The man hasn’t even thrown an interception yet this season
and offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg stated” he hasn’t missed many reads
at all.... in fact, (Monday night), man alive, I tell you it’s one of the very
best games I’ve been involved with in terms of quarterback decision-making”. So,
the unenviable task for Giants defensive coordinator Perry Fewell is first to
eliminate the long ball threat and to then contain Vick and push the pocket to
his right since he is left-handed.
Vick is a left-handed
quarterback and making him go right and have to throw across his body will
minimize his ability to throw lasers into tight spots. In order to get the
pocket moved, the defensive backs will have to do an excellent job at jamming
the wide receivers at the line of scrimmage and throw off the timing of the
designed routes. The Giants do have physical coverage personnel that can
achieve this, but it is imperative that the defensive front does not break
containment and allow Vick to scramble outside the pocket. This allows the
receivers to get that extra second to gain separation from their defender and
is why Vick has many times thrown to wide open teammates.
Applying a full scale blitz
scheme will not be successful against Vick. Although Vick has been sacked 15
times this season, he has clearly shown that he would rather pass first than
run first. He has rushed the ball 44 times for 341 yards averaging 7.8 yards
per attempt. Yet, on several occasions he has tucked the ball only to stay
behind the line of scrimmage and complete passes. He has completed 62.7% of his
passes thrown for 1350 yards and 11 touchdowns.
On Monday Night the opening play
of the game was a designed rollout to his left giving Jackson ample time to
clear the coverage and Vick threw a perfect pass to complete a stunning 88 yard
touchdown pass. Later in the game, with Vick dropping back and then being
pushed to his right, he had 7.3 seconds from snap to throw to execute another
touchdown pass to Avant in the back of the end zone. There are few defenders
that can cover past four-seconds after the snap so containment and not sacks
will be the goal for the Giants defense.
Giants Defensive Schemes
The Tampa-2 defense will be the
featured scheme used by the Giants. The goal of that scheme is to keep
everything in front of them and eliminate the big play preferring to allow
underneath routes. Vick can complete the short routes, but then the offense has
to earn the scores with multiple play drives. So, with a so-called ‘soft’
Tampa-2, the Giants can still use their base defense that features three
safeties. They will not engage a safety at the line of scrimmage to stop the
run or for containment as that has failed every time this year by previous
The fact is that the Giants have
a very strong quarterback of their own in Eli Manning. The Giants offense can
pound the ball between the tackles against a highly over rated Eagles defense.
The Giants can execute long time consuming scoring drives that keep Vick off
the field and wears down the Eagles defense. Vick’s play and the scoring
explosions have taken opponents right out of their game plan and forced them to
try and pass their way back into the football game. In these situations, the
Eagles have faced the easiest to defend situations.
A supporting cast for both teams
Here is a system that has produced
a 40-16 ATS mark for 71.4% winners since 2000 and supports a play on the
Giants. Play against home teams where the line is +3 to -3 after allowing seven
or more passing yards per attempt last game and now facing an opponent after
allowing eight or more passing yards per attempt in their last game. 50% of
these games played covered the spread by more than seven points. The system has
gone 4-3 ATS this season.
The Eagles are supported by an
equally impressive system that has gone 279-187 for 60% ATS winners since 1983.
Play against road teams after covering the spread in four or five out of their
last six games and is a good team winning more than 60% of their games on the
season. This system has produced a 5-2 ATS mark this season.
Live updated NFL odds will
appear below and for all the week 11 lines check out SBROdds.com.