Eagles-Giants: 3 matchups to watch in divisional tilt
The Philadelphia Eagles (3-4-1) travel to MetLife Stadium on Sunday to take on the Giants (2-7) for the second time in three games.
Although the Giants enter Week 10 riding high off two inspired performances and boast home-field advantage, the Eagles emerge from the bye week rejuvenated, primed, and ready to go on a late-season run.
As is the case with most divisional clashes, this figures to be a closer contest than many anticipate. I took a close look at three pivotal matchups that could decide the outcome.
Let's get to it!
WR Jalen Reagor vs. CB Isaac Yiadom
To put it mildly, Yiadom had a rough go of it last week. According to Pro Football Focus, Washington quarterbacks yielded a perfect 158.3 quarterback rating when targeting the third-year corner.
For perspective, James Bradberry, the Giants' prized free-agent add, was only targeted once.
Despite being a late addition to the Giants' injury report due to a calf injury, the team remains optimistic that Yiadom will play on Sunday. While Yiadom grapples with poor technique and frequent mental lapses, look for the Eagles to target the embattled cornerback early and often.
With Travis Fulgham expected to battle with Bradberry for much of the afternoon, that means the explosive Jalen Reagor should reap the benefits on the other side.
Against Dallas, Reagor finished with the second-highest snap total (46) among wide receivers behind Fulgham and Greg Ward -- who each accounted for 59 snaps. The rookie parlayed six pass targets into three receptions and a touchdown and nearly reeled in a second late in the fourth quarter.
I suspect the coaching staff spent a portion of the bye week creatively scheming ways to best-utilize Reagor for the remaining slate of games. The rookie will likely get involved early on Sunday. I expect multiple deep shots.
LBs vs. TE Evan Engram
In the first matchup, the Giants wisely decided to attack linebacker Nate Gerry and force-feed tight end Evan Engram. Engram, who saw nine pass targets in Week 7, finished with six catches for 46 yards. Ironically, Engram's egregious drop in the waning moments ultimately turned the tide for the Eagles.
Three weeks later, the Giants no longer have the luxury of isolating Engram on Gerry -- the maligned linebacker is on injured reserve -- but they should have little trouble scheming mismatches against linebackers T.J. Edwards and Alex Singleton.
The new-look linebacker tandem has performed well relative to expectations, but they have yet to truly be tested by a dynamic move tight end like Engram. Edwards is renowned for his run defense but limited in coverage, while Singleton remains a virtual enigma. They'll get help from safety Will Parks -- who was in coverage on Engram's drop -- but look for the Giants to get Engram in space and test the middle-seam.
DEs Derek Barnett, Josh Sweat vs. LT Andrew Thomas
The Eagles only mustered three sacks against a dismal Giants' offensive line in the first meeting, but Sunday presents an opportunity for redemption.
Brandon Graham had no issues generating pressure on Cameron Fleming, he sealed the game with his signature strip-sack, so I anticipate more of the same on Sunday. However, the right side of the Eagles' defensive line failed to dominate as I expected.
Sure, Derek Barnett registered a sack, and three quarterback hits on Daniel Jones in Week 7, but against a floundering rookie left tackle in Andrew Thomas, I assumed Sweat and Genard Avery would add to the total. Sweat, who has had some positive moments this season, recorded a tackle and a forced fumble while Avery played five special teams snaps.
Though Thomas has demonstrated encouraging signs of development over the past couple of weeks, there will be opportunities for Barnett and Sweat to utilize their length and quickness to bear down on Jones. If the duo can generate pressure early, it could change the whole complexion of the game.