Vick's Playing, Giants In Trouble

The Giants will have their hands full against Philadelphia as Michael Vick returns to action, but Giants WR Mario Manningham doesn't even make the trip.

If the Giants are able to gain a measure of payback tomorrow in Philadelphia, head coach Tom Coughlin could be on his way to his best coaching job of the season.

Saddled with a team deficient in a number of areas due to injury, Coughlin spent the week looking for a way to make up for the season-ending injury to WR Domenik Hixon and the concussion to Mario Manningham that will cost him at least this game. His success in finding answers from a thin roster will determine if Eli Manning can generate an effective air game backed up by the rushing attack of Ahmad Bradshaw and Brandon Jacobs.

The absence of Manningham means Hakeem Nicks will see a steady diet of both the Eagles' standout cornerbacks, Nnamdi Asomugha and Asante Samuel. And that could leave Manning's fate in the hands of old newcomer Michael Clayton, newbie Victor Cruz, and Devin Thomas, who is more of a kickoff returner than wide receiver.

It's not a pretty picture. And it gets even muddier on the defensive side of the ball now that Vick has returned from the concussion that knocked him out of last week's game. When he's not cutting up the injured defense with his legs, Vick will certainly look to make some magic with DeSean Jackson, Jeremy Maclin, and third-down wiz Jason Avant, not to mention ex-Giants Steve Smith. And LeSean McCoy is no slouch at running back, either.

Jason Pierre-Paul and Justin Tuck will have to apply mucho pressure on Vick, but at the same time remember not to overcommit, since Vick can take off in either direction if given the slightest opening.

It's certainly not the best way to try to avoid an 0-2 division start. If they can somehow squeeze out a win at Lincoln Financial Field, it will set them up well for their trip to Arizona next week. If not, the heat will be on and an 8-8 season will look even more far-fetched than it does right now.

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