Eagles

Key matchups in Eagles-Giants starts with a chance at redemption

Eagles

The Giants beat the Eagles less than a month ago, but a month is a long time in the NFL.

Because even coming off a short week, the Eagles (7-7) are 10-point favorites over the Giants (4-10) for Sunday’s game.

Here are five key matchups to watch:

Jalen Hurts vs. Jalen Hurts

The last time Hurts played the Giants, he had his worst performance as a professional. In that game, Hurts completed just 14 of 31 passes for 129 yards and 3 interceptions. What made it worse was that the decisions that led to the picks were awful. The Giants didn't outplay him; he made unforced errors. That was also the game in which he suffered an ankle injury that is still lingering.

The good news for Hurts is that he returned to action on Tuesday night against Washington and played really well. He completed 20 of 26 passes for 296 yards with a touchdown and also ran in two more scores. It was one of the better games of his career.

And there’s no reason to think Hurts shouldn’t be able to have success against the Giants and their 19th-ranked pass defense. Hurts just needs to take care of the football and the Eagles should be able to win.

Eagles run game vs. Giants run D

I’m not sure anyone can really stop the Eagles rushing attack right now. That’s how good they’ve been, rushing for 175+ yards in seven straight games. On Tuesday, even with Sua Opeta at left guard, they went for 238 on the ground. Washington entered that game with the fifth-ranked run defense in the league.

 

The Giants haven’t been nearly as successful stopping the run. In fact, they have allowed 125.0 yards per game on the ground, good for 26th in the NFL. The most yards they have given up in a game this season? 208 to the Eagles in the first meeting. No reason to think that will change this time around.

Jake Fromm or Mike Glennon vs. Jonathan Gannon

Whether it’s Fromm or Glennon, it shouldn’t really matter to the Eagles or Gannon. They entered Tuesday’s game not knowing who the opposing quarterback was going to be up until just a couple hours before game time. And let’s be honest, neither Fromm nor Glennon will keep Gannon up at night.

“We got to prepare for both quarterbacks, just like we have had to do a couple different games,” Gannon said. “You got to have plan in place to be able to affect the quarterback and a lot of this goes into who is actually playing quarterback. So, we'll have a good plan for both of those guys.”

The Eagles have beat up on bad quarterbacks this year and they’ll have another chance to do that on Sunday.

Evan Engram vs. Eagles’ defense

In the last meeting between these two teams, Engram didn’t have a huge day. He had just 3 catches for 37 yards but he was targeted 6 times. If Fromm is the quarterback, it would make sense for him to use Engram as a safety valve. That’s often how young quarterbacks operate.

“We got to have a good plan, depending what coverages we're in, who is on him, where our help is and things of that nature,” Gannon said. “So, just got to know how we're defending him within each coverage and do a good job on him because he can wreck the game.”

And the Eagles have struggled against opposing tight ends this season. Here’s a look at opposing tight end stats against the Eagles and where that ranks league-wide:

Receptions: 93 (1st)

Receiving yards: 932 (3rd)

Touchdowns: 11 (2nd)

So this is an area where the Eagles have been giving up plays. The Giants don’t have a ton of play-makers but a healthy Engram definitely counts.

Dallas Goedert vs. Giants secondary

Yes, Goedert’s two drops on Tuesday night were brutal but he made up for it with a career performance. He had 7 catches for 135 yards and that followed a 6/105/2 performance against the Jets.

Goedert is proving himself to be a top tight end in the league. He didn’t make the Pro Bowl — those nods went to George Kittle and Kyle Pitts in the NFC — but if Zach Ertz wasn’t on the team to start the season, Goedert would probably be a Pro Bowler right now. Since the Ertz trade on Oct. 15, Goedert has averaged over 64 yards per game, which is a 1,000-yard pace over the course of a 17-game season. He’s been a dynamic player in the pass and run game.

The worst game during his stretch? That came against the Giants a few weeks ago. In that game, Goedert was targeted just 3 times and had 1 catch for 0 yards. That simply can’t happen again. Something tells me it won’t.