Each week, the PFF analysis team will bring you break downs of the most important matchups for each game of the NFL season.
Coverage by: Aaron Jones
Matchup: New York Giants offense vs. Philadelphia Eagles defense
- TE Evan Engram vs. LB Jordan Hicks – Evan Engram currently sits at 17th among 42 qualifying tight ends with a receiving grade of 74.5. Eli Manning has consistently looked Engram’s way through the first two weeks, targeting him a total of 12 times, tied for ninth most in the league among tight ends. The rookie could potentially have a tough matchup this week, coming up against linebacker Jordan Hicks. Hicks has had a surprisingly slow start to his third season, currently grading as the second worst linebacker in the league among 78 qualifying linebackers. While admittedly not fielding an entirely healthy Odell Beckham Jr. yet this season, if Engram’s usage through the first two weeks is any indication of how they plan to use him, look for Manning to try and continue to look Engram’s way.
- WR Odell Beckham Jr. vs. CBs Rasul Douglas and Jalen Mills – If Odell Beckham Jr. is back to 100%, expect to see the Giants attack these rookie corners. Rasul Douglas has graded out well through two weeks, sitting at 15th among 106 qualifying cornerbacks, with a grade of 83.2. Jalen Mills ranks 65th, with a grade of 50.7.
- T Justin Pugh vs. EDGE Brandon Graham – While Ereck Flowers accrues most of the disappointment from the Giant’s offensive line woes, Justin Pugh shoulders some blame as well. He’s struggled at guard so far this season, and after switching to right tackle Monday night due to an injury to Bobby Hart, Pugh continued to struggle. He allowed five total hurries, finishing the game with an overall grade of 33.0. If McAdoo decides to roll with Pugh at right tackle, he will be projected to line up against Brandon Graham, who currently boasts the third best grade among edge defenders, with a 91.0. Last year Graham amassed 83 total pressures, the second most among 4-3 defensive ends. His 14.0 pass-rush productivity (measures pressure on per snap basis with weighting towards sacks) was the third highest among 4-3 defensive ends. This matchup will be one to keep an eye on all night.
Coverage by: Mike Alessandrini
Matchup: Philadelphia Eagles offense vs. New York Giants defense
- Eagles offensive tackles vs. Giants edge rushers – Carson Wentz has struggled under pressure in 2017 thus far, so keeping their quarterback clean will be imperative to the Eagles’ offensive success. This week features a competitive battle in the trenches. Jason Peters and Lane Johnson will match up against Olivier Vernon and Jason Pierre-Paul. Peters has surrendered just four hurries on 76 pass-block snaps this year. Johnson gave up a sack in Week 1, but his 96.8 pass-blocking efficiency ranks 12th out of 54 tackles. New York’s edge rush duo has accumulated two sacks and 14 pressures through two weeks. Vernon’s 9.9 pass-rush productivity ranks 14th among 4-3 defensive ends.
- TE Zach Ertz vs. Giants linebackers – With the Giants fielding a strong secondary, Philadelphia will look to exploit mismatches with their tight end. Ertz ranks first at his position, and third overall, with 190 receiving yards through two games. He has yet to drop a pass on 16 targets, while his 2.32 yards per route run ranks fourth among tight ends. New York’s linebackers B.J. Goodson (returning from injury) and Jonathan Casillas will be tasked with covering Ertz. Goodson was targeted six times in Week 1, allowing six receptions for 63 yards. 55 of those yards came after the catch. Casillas has allowed four receptions on five targets in 2017. His 0.48 yards per coverage snap is fourth best among 4-3 outside linebackers.
- WR Alshon Jeffery vs. CB Janoris Jenkins – Philadelphia’s top wide receiver has a 75.8 overall grade (26th among receivers) after two games. Jeffery had a strong game against Kansas City last week after struggling against Josh Norman and Washington in the season opener. In Week 1, Wentz had a 60.4 passer rating when targeting his new weapon. Against the Chiefs, the quarterback had a much better passer rating (102.1) when targeting Jeffery. Jenkins missed his team’s Monday Night matchup with an ankle injury, but was solid against the Cowboys in Week 1. When lined up against Dez Bryant, Jenkins allowed just two receptions on eight targets for 43 yards.