clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Giants vs. Eagles 2015: Five matchups to watch

Here's what to watch for.

Rich Schultz/Getty Images

The Philadelphia Eagles are scheduled to play the New York Giants tonight. It's a huge must-win game for the Birds. Here are the five things that deserve extra attention in this matchup.

1) Sam Bradford vs. the New York secondary

This is the game where Sam Bradford really needs to step up and prove he's capable of being a franchise quarterback. After having a real rough start to the season, Bradford has seemingly made progress in recent weeks. He's also stepped up as a leader in the locker room (and/or the shower room). New York's secondary ranks 20th by Football Outsiders and the Giants allow the 18th most yards per pass attempt. Starting cornerback Prince Amukamara is out for the Giants so it's up to Bradford to take advantage. The pressure will be on Bradford to move the ball through the air because the Giants are good at stopping the run. Bradford should also have plenty of time to throwing considering the Giants rank tied for last in sacks with only seven through five games. Tonight's game is a huge opportunity for The Sleeved One.

2) Byron Maxwell vs. Odell Beckham Jr.

Odell Beckham Jr. is set to play against the Eagles barring a pregame setback. It'll be interesting to see if Beckham is hampered by his hamstring injury at all. If he's healthy, Beckham will obviously be a huge challenge for Philadelphia's secondary. Beckham finished with 12 catches for 185 yards and a touchdown the last time these two teams played, which was late in 2014. The Eagles typically don't shadow wide receivers with a single cornerback, but it's fair to say Byron Maxwell will get his fair share of matchups against the Giants' star pass catcher. Maxwell has played well in recent weeks but Beckham is a whole different challenge. It's hard to expect the Eagles to shut him down completely. Keeping him in check might be good enough.

3) Eagles' run game

The Eagles are coming off their best rushing performance of the year. Philadelphia running backs combined for 183 yards and two touchdowns on 33 carries last week. It's going to be difficult for the Eagles to repeat that kind of performance this week. New York's defense ranks second by Football Outsiders and is tied (with the Eagles) for allowing the second least yards per rush attempt. Potentially making matters worse for Philadelphia is Ryan Mathews is questionable to play after suffering a hamstring injury in practice this week. It will be interesting to see how committed the Eagles are to their run game in this game.

4) Zach Ertz

This feels like it could be a Zach Ertz game. With rookie wide receiver Nelson Agholor out, the Eagles really need someone to step up in the passing attack. And why not Ertz? The third-year tight end has been off to a slow start while recovering from a groin injury to start the season. Ertz combined for 103 yards and one touchdown on 11 receptions in two games against the Giants last season. Bradford often connected with Ertz on passes in training camp this summer, so maybe the two will be able to get going again here.

5) Shane Vereen

Philadelphia's defense has been good this season, but Vereen has the potential to be a pesky player for them. The Eagles can handle Vereen as a ball carrier. He'll prove more difficult as a pass catcher, however. Vereen caught eight receptions for 86 yards and a touchdown last week in New York's win over the 49ers. He's an underrated weapon for the Giants.