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 Eagle opponents.

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