Eagles vs. Giants: Five Players to Watch Tonight


The Philadelphia Eagles take on the New York Giants tonight in a huge game. After the Redskins lost yesterday, the winner of tonight’s game will go straight to first place in the NFC East. The Eagles are already 0-2 in the division and they cannot afford to go to 0-3, especially as they have played the Cowboys at home already. Here are five players I think will play important roles in tonight’s game:

Walter Thurmond 

Eli Manning is an aggressive thrower against man coverage, if he sees man coverage he will almost always throw it to his guy and give him a chance to make a play which is one reason why he throws a lot of interceptions. The Eagles give Walter Thurmond a free role frequently when the Eagles play man coverage. This gives Thurmond a great chance at intercepting Eli if he fails to recognize where Thurmond is when facing man coverage. Especially as under Ben McAdoo, Manning is releasing the ball extremely quickly. If Odell Beckham plays, I expect Thurmond to try and jump a lot of his routes as Manning will probably look there first. Hopefully Thurmond can capitalize on Manning’s aggressive decision making against man coverage just like he did last week against Drew Brees and in week 1 against Matt Ryan.

Zach Ertz 

The Eagles finally ran more two tight end sets last week and it was great to see. Here is a ridiculous stat from Greg Cosell, before the Saints game the Eagles had lined up in 1-2 personnel on only 22 snaps. Against the Saints the Eagles lined up in 1-2 personnel on 24 snaps. Out of 1-2 personnel, the Eagles ran 12 times for 50 yards and Bradford was 11/12 for 158 yards a touchdown. The Eagles might not use 1-2 personnel as much tonight but I expect Zach Ertz will still see the field a lot and I hope they use more 1-2 personnel. The Eagles should throw the ball a lot today as the Giants are 31st in the NFL against the pass but 2nd against the run. The Giants have struggled to cover tight ends too, giving up 111 yards to Charles Clay and 96 yards to Jordan Reed over the past few weeks. Ertz could have a big night.

Nolan Carroll 

If Odell Beckham does play, I would be very surprised if Byron Maxwell follows him around the field. I am not optimistic that Maxwell will have a lot of success covering a smaller shiftier receiver such as Beckham, I think Maxwell is better at covering more physical receivers such as Dez Byrant. This means that Nolan Carroll may be lined up against Beckham a lot and that is a really tough ask for anyone. I don’t think Carroll’s good enough so hopefully Billy Davis gives him some help. Remember though, Davis expects his cornerbacks to be able to line up and cover anyone one on one. Remember Dez Byrant against Bradley Fletcher last year? Carroll may have to play really well to stop Beckham from going off when he is covering him.

Jordan Hicks 

The Giants passing game is similar to the Patriots, they spread you out and get rid of the ball extremely quickly. They target the middle of the field a lot and throw a lot of balls to their tight end and running back. This puts a lot of stress on the linebackers. Jordan Hicks will probably be asked to pick up Shane Vereen out the backfield in man coverage and that is a tough cover. Vereen is a receiving back and he had a great week last week, catching 8 passes for 86 yards and a touchdown. Larry Donnell is also very athletic and made a great game winning catch last week, Hicks will also be asked to cover Donnell on some plays I imagine. If Hicks shows once again he is the real deal, that will help the Eagles shut down the Giants passing game.

Landon Collins 

Yes, I know Landon Collins doesn’t play for the Eagles. I’m not even attempting to be funny here, I think you should be watching him because I think the Eagles gameplan will be to attack Landon Collins as he cannot play man coverage. If the Giants even attempt to have Collins line up against Jordan Matthews in the slot or Zach Ertz at tight end, expect the Eagles to target that matchup heavily. Chip is great at attacking the oppositions weakness and Collins is clearly a huge liability in coverage so I am certain that Chip will do everything he can to exploit this. I would watch Collins a lot tonight when the Eagles pass the ball because there is a good chance the ball will be near him.

Next: Five Bold Predictions: Eagles Vs. Giants Preview

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