Dissecting Most Crucial Matchups in Philadelphia Eagles' Week 8 Game
The Eagles cannot afford to underestimate the 1-6 New York Giants. Philadelphia may be favored in this matchup, but the Giants still have many playmakers who, while underperforming, are still dangerous.
The Eagles are still a very flawed team and must play their best football if they want to break even at 4-4.
Below are three matchups to watch during Sunday's divisional showdown.
WR Victor Cruz vs. CB Bradley Fletcher
While Hakeem Nicks is technically listed as the WR1, the Eagles will most likely put their best cornerback on Victor Cruz, who is more of a big-play threat than Nicks is.
In just seven games, Cruz already has 40 catches, 591 yards and four touchdowns. Fletcher is a physical player, but he lacks elite speed, so he must be careful not to be burnt deep by Cruz.
The Giants also like to move Cruz around in an attempt to create favorable matchups. If he is played frequently at his traditional slot role, it will be up to Brandon Boykin to step up.
It's unlikely the Eagles can stop Cruz, realistically speaking. They can only hope to contain him.
WR Riley Cooper vs. CB Prince Amukamara
In the past two weeks, Riley Cooper has had 10 catches for 208 yards and a touchdown. But he will be tested against Prince Amukamara, one of the better young cornerbacks in the NFL.
Cooper's performance against Amukamara may dictate how the Giants plan on slowing down the Eagles' passing attack. If Cooper can consistently win his matchup, then it will mean less attention will be given to DeSean Jackson, who seems to play well against the G-Men.
It may not be all up to Cooper, however. It was clear that Nick Foles seemed more comfortable throwing in Cooper's direction than Michael Vick did. If Cooper can succeed with a new quarterback throwing towards him, we will know that he is legitimately taking a step forward as a WR2.
DE Justin Tuck vs. RT Lane Johnson
Justin Tuck has had just 1.5 sacks this season and has struggled along with the entire Giants D-line. But he is still an excellent veteran player. How will Tuck fare against rookie Lane Johnson?
Johnson is a talented rookie who clearly has a bright future ahead of him, but he still shows inconsistency due to his raw level of technique.
He will have a difficult matchup against Tuck. Tuck was once one of the most feared D-linemen in the NFL, but he still packs a punch. If Johnson can shut him down, it would be an excellent sign going forward.
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