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The Journal Gazette

  • Associated Press Doug Pederson will lead the 2-3 Philadelphia Eagles into tonight's game at MetLife Stadium against the New York Giants (1-4), looking to avoid their first three-game losing streak since 2016.

Thursday, October 11, 2018 1:00 am

Eagles having some issues

Expectations, injuries have led to early struggles

TOM CANAVAN | Associated Press

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – After turning over half their roster, it's not surprising the New York Giants are losing.

The defending Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles are another story. They were expected to make a run at being the first team to repeat since the New England Patriots won title games after the 2003 and 2004 seasons.

The Eagles (2-3) head into tonight's game at MetLife Stadium against the Giants (1-4), looking to avoid their first three-game losing streak since 2016. Four losses would be more than last season.

While some might point to a Super Bowl hangover, it's also a combination of having a target on their backs, injuries and bad play.

“We know we're going to get everybody's best and we've seen it already this season,” Eagles coach Doug Pederson said.

“I've addressed the team that way. It doesn't mean we have to; it's not about panic mode or anything in that nature, it's just a heightened sense of urgency. The mistakes we're making are self-inflicted and it's keeping us from possibly winning a game or two here or there, and we understand that.”

So do the Giants. They aren't making enough plays, and have had too many mistakes in coach Pat Shurmur's first season.

Odell Beckham Jr., who caught a touchdown and threw another in the Giants' 33-31 loss to Carolina last weekend, is glad this is a short week and the Eagles are the opponent in the weak NFC East where no team has a winning record.

“Defending Super Bowl champs coming in here, Thursday night game, but right now the focus is more on this just one game, and not putting so much pressure on what it could do for us,” Beckham said. “But this is a game that we need to win against a division rival.”

The Eagles have won the past three against New York and seven of eight.

Beckham doesn't care.

“There's always a team each and every year where everything is right for them,” Beckham said of the Eagles.

“Even watching them last year, there was third downs, third-and-7s – they got all of them. It's just the little stuff that was going on for them all year that was happening that allowed them to win each and every game. I don't know if I've seen that in the past games.”

Stopping Ertz

Eagles tight end Zach Ertz has at least 10 catches and 100 receiving yards in each of his past two games. He is looking to become the fifth player in league history to record three consecutive 10-catch, 100-yard games. The Giants have the league's eighth-best pass defense, and that's with only six sacks. Safety Landon Collins does a good job in slowing down opposing tight ends, so expect to see him go against Ertz.

Where's the rush?

The Eagles only have 12 sacks and the inability of the front four to bring down quarterbacks has hurt because coordinator Jim Schwartz doesn't like to blitz. As a result, the pass defense has suffered. Eli Manning gets the ball out quickly, but he's been sacked 16 times.

“The defensive line drives this team. We have to do better,” Pro Bowl defensive tackle Fletcher Cox said.