Three things to know before the Eagles face the Giants on Thursday Night Football (8:20 p.m. ET, FOX, NFL Network, Amazon Prime).
1. Should Eli Manning throw deep more to appease Odell Beckham Jr. (and for reasons never explained, Lil Wayne)? One reason he might: Eagles safeties tend to play aggressive, shallow coverage. Two reasons Manning might not: Philadelphia’s pass rush, though not as productive as last year, still poses major problems against a mediocre Giants offensive line; and Eagles corners Ronald Darby and especially Jalen Mills have been playing with a lot of cushion lately, inviting throws underneath. Manning typically takes what the defense gives. Expect more dinking and dunking Thursday night.
2. Giants stud safety Landon Collins is having an eventful season. Aside from some missed tackles in last Sunday’s loss at Carolina, he’s been fantastic when locating the ball as an unblocked defender in the box. Collins has also drawn important man coverage assignments. Last week it was Christian McCaffrey. The week before, Alvin Kamara. The Eagles don’t have a receiving back of that caliber, so don’t be surprised if this week Collins takes tight end Zach Ertz.
3. With limited speed and depth at wide receiver, Philadelphia’s offense must begin with the running game, even with Jay Ajayi out for the year. Under Doug Pederson and offensive line coach/run game coordinator Jeff Stoutland, it has been one of the most diverse and creative rushing attacks in football. There is copious athleticism up front, especially at center with Jason Kelce and right tackle with Lane Johnson (though granted, he was recently added to the injury report with an ankle). New York’s defensive line features stout run defenders, and defensive coordinator James Bettcher aligns them close together, clogging inside lanes. The Eagles must find creative ways to hit the perimeter on the ground game.
Bold Prediction: Manning will have a turnover trying to force the ball to Beckham.