The Eagles (3-4-1) travel to face the Giants (2-7) in an NFC East battle on Sunday afternoon.
Here are four matchups to watch:
Carson Wentz vs. Carson Wentz
Coming off the bye week, we have to start here. If the first-place Eagles (I know) have any chance to really turn their season around, it has to start with Carson Wentz. The Eagles’ starting quarterback had 16 turnovers (12 interceptions and 4 lost fumbles) in the first half of the season.
Against the Giants a few weeks ago, Wentz had just one turnover but it was an awful one in the red zone. After avoiding some pressure he tried to force an off-schedule throw to John Hightower but the two weren’t on the same page and the ball was picked off in the end zone. It’s the kind of play that just can’t happen and especially not in that situation.
But, really, that’s what we’ve seen all season from Wentz and it’s been confounding. The guy who had just seven interceptions in each of his last three seasons has 12 through eight games. It can’t go on like this.
The good news is that Wentz’s offensive line is getting healthier and he’s also starting to get some of his playmakers back. That’s not the only reason for these turnovers but having a better offense around him should prevent Wentz from trying to do too much. If he can trust the players around him a little more, then maybe he’ll be able to cut down on his mistakes.
Andrew Thomas vs. Derek Barnett
The Giants’ offensive line has gotten a little bit better in recent weeks and they’d done so in an unusual manner. Against Washington, they went with a rotation, using third-round pick Matt Peart at left and right tackle during the game. He took over at times for Cam Fleming at right tackle and at times for Thomas at left tackle. Thomas ended up having the best game of his career against Washington. So we’ll see if that can continue. It would be bad news for the Eagles if the Giants finally figured out how to shore up one of their weakest groups.
Because before that last game, Thomas had been an absolute liability. This season, the No. 4 overall pick has given up a league-high 31 hurries and 40 pressures to go along with 5 sacks and 4 QB hits. Being on the left side means he’ll face Barnett and Josh Sweat in this game. Both those guys have had pretty good seasons.
The entire Eagles’ DL vs. Giants’ OL is a bigger matchup to watch too. The Giants have gotten better up front but let’s not kid ourselves: It’s still not a great group and the Eagles’ strength is their DL.
Jalen Reagor vs. Isaac Yiadom
The Giants signed James Bradberry this offseason and he has been a very good addition as their CB1. Based on the success of Travis Fulgham, it would make sense for the Giants to play Bradberry on Fulgham this weekend, which means Reagor will get lined up against CB2. That position has changed a few times for the Giants this season from Corey Ballentine to Ryan Lewis and now to Yiadom (YEAH-dum).
I don’t think Yiadom has played quite as bad as that number suggests but if the Eagles have the choice to throw at him or Bradberry, guess where they ought to go. Meanwhile, Reagor came back before the bye week and is not another couple weeks further away from his UCL surgery. So this might be lining up as a breakout game for the rookie.
Evan Engram vs. Eagles middle
Receivers Darius Slayton and Sterling Shepard are players to watch against the Giants but Engram has been targeted more than any other player by Daniel Jones this season. Engram has 64 targets (36 catches, 332 yards, 1 touchdown). So his production hasn’t been great — and drops have been a problem — but there’s no denying that Jones is trying to get him the ball more than any other player in the offense.
In the last three weeks, Engram has been targeted 29 times and he has 16 catches for 155 yards and a touchdown. Again, not crazy numbers, but he’s picking it up.
Here’s a look at what he did against Washington:
In the first game, the Eagles used a bunch of different guys to cover Engram. According to ProFootballFocus, Engram was targeted at least once with seven different players covering him. The only time he was targeted twice against a defender was when Nate Gerry lined up against him. Gerry is now on IR.
Eagles’ guards vs. Giants interior DL
The Eagles got Isaac Seumalo back at practice this week and it would really help if he’s available to return for this game. Because the Giants’ interior defensive line is probably the strength of that team with Leonard Williams, Dalvin Tomlinson and Dexter Lawrence. That’s a tough trio to face. Williams is in a contract year and now has five sacks this season, including a big one against Washington last week. He’s starting to look like the Leonard Williams of old.
If Seumalo isn’t back on Sunday, expect the Eagles to start Nate Herbig and Matt Pryor again. Those guards are the two weak spots on the line and it’s a tough matchup on Sunday.