The Eagles run defense has been fantastic this year anchored by Bennie Logan and Fletcher Cox. They held Mark Ingram in check last week and seemingly have an easier stable of running backs to face this week for the Giants. The pass rush is still a concern outside of Cox racking up 3 sacks last week. Connor Barwin and Brandon Graham aren’t quite getting there on the outside. Graham is getting closer and closer just needs to hit home. The corners are still worrisome in my book as Byron Maxwell looks shaky on most plays this season. However, the safeties are playing at a Pro Bowl level with Malcolm Jenkins and Walter Thurmond. It sure is nice to have NFL safeties again.
Jordan Hicks vs. Shane Vereen
Hicks has been a godsend for a third round rookie stepping into play starters snaps in the absence of Kendricks and Kiko Alonso. He is a ball hawk who is constantly making plays. Chip refers to him as “one-time” meaning you tell him something one time he gets it. Hicks is the likely candidate to cover Giants pass catching running back Shane Vereen out of the backfield. Demeco Ryans should not be getting these duties. Vereen is starting to get a feel for the Giants offense as he caught 8 balls for 86 yards along with a score last week against the Niners. The two previous weeks he did not have a catch. The Giants offense is starting to click and I expect Vereen to become more involved. He is the equivalent of Darren Sproles for the Giants especially on third downs where he can be a backbreaker.
Player to Target: Justin Pugh
Pugh is a former first round pick who struggled at tackle for New York before being switched to left guard this season. He is also playing alongside rookie left tackle Ereck Flowers who will be playing in his first Monday Night game and on the road at that. Pugh is not very physical and pretty lean for an offensive linemen. Cox, Logan and Thornton should feast on Pugh especially in run downs. I would like for Bill Davis to send some blitzes in Pugh’s direction to see how he picks them up. The Giants line has improved but Pugh is still a weak link in my eyes.
Larry Donnell vs. Malcolm Jenkins
The obvious matchup would be to write about Odell Beckham against any one of the Eagles corners. Instead I’ll go with another Giants pass catcher in tight end Larry Donnell. He’s caught 7 balls each of the last two weeks including a touchdown in Week 5 against San Fran. Jenkins typically lines up on the slot receivers for the opposing offense, but in this instance Donnell almost is the slot receiver for the Giants. Starting wide receiver Rueben Randle is banged up as well which could lead to more targets for Donnell. Like I mentioned Jenkins has been at an All-Pro level this year making plays at a high rate. This will be a challenging matchup for the second year Eagles safety.
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