The Eagles schedule has been up for a while now and as more and more season predictions come in including Zach Ertz’s confident 16-0 prediction, we took the time to evaluate the three receiver tandems who are going to give the Eagles Secondary the biggest problems come the regular season.
Honourable mention- Golden Tate and Calvin Johnson JR- Detroit Lions, Week 12
The reason this duo isn’t in the top 3 is sheerly due to age. The top 3 tandems are still relatively young, in both league experience and age. Megatron had a bit of an off year last season despite still putting up huge numbers whilst Golden Tate hit 1331 yards on 99 receptions. You simply cannot underestimate them, but the Eagles have faced the Lions before, they’ve beaten them before with much weaker secondaries.
Stafford is a great Quarterback but with the Eagles Defence looking as strong as it is right now, it may take a little more than the gradually declining and arguably overpaid Megatron who everyone knows they simply have to shut down and a Golden Tate who was formerly teammates with a member of the secondary he is trying to beat. Maxwell will know Tate’s pro’s, con’s, good habits and bad, making this partnership seem a lot less intimidating.
3- Julio Jones and Roddy White- Atlanta Falcons, Week 1
The first real challenge is going to come almost instantly when the Eagles travel to Atlanta. Julio Jones is arguably the best WR in the league and with Shanahan in control if the Offense, Jones may be in for the most receptions of his career providing he can stay healthy. He’s the perfect prototype for a receiver with unrelenting speed and agility. His route running has always been incredible and when you partner that with the consistent route running of Roddy White, you have a dangerous duo.
The pairing between them were targeted 288 times last season! White’s hands have always been an issue whilst Jone’s ability to stay healthy for a full season have stunted his progress from becoming a GOAT receiver. None the less, Shanahan has a wealth of experience and two of the most dominant receivers in the game on one team..the Eagles secondary will be trialled by fire come week one, if they fail, the mistakes will be highlighted in the most obvious of ways, if they succeed..they could probably take on any duo in the league.
2- Odell Beckham JR and Victor Cruz- New York Giants, Weeks 6 & 17
This should really be a given, OBJ had a huge year last year and posed mighty problems for the Eagles secondary. There’s a lot of hype around the second year receiver and it will be interesting to see if his game lives up to the expectations of fans and journalists around the world. It’s not a certainty that Beckham JR is going to be the most explosive WR we have ever seen, but the signs are all there. THAT catch last year alone proved that it doesn’t matter who you pair him with, he’s going to find a way to come down with the ball regardless. No fear, just style and speed. The perfect qualities in a wide receiver.
The problem with the Giants last year was just about everywhere else. Eli had a terrible year that showed signs of redemption towards the end whilst the Defence had as much intimidation as Kermit the Frog. Beckham’s partner however is someone who has torched teams since his arrival in the league, but injury issues may yet hold him back. Victor Cruz is chasing his 25th league touchdown this season and could well break 4,500 yards if he has a good year. The danger here is that without these two, the Giants have no Offensive weapons. This means that they will both be targeted HEAVILY during this season. If they are both working in perfect symphony, they are incredibly dangerous. If they’re not, or one falls injured due to the amount of action seen and hits taken, it will be like taking candy from a baby..
1- Dez Bryant and Cole Beasley- Dallas Cowboys, Weeks 2 & 9
Believe us, we hate putting them here as much as you hate reading it, but we can’t ignore the facts. The last time these two teams met, Bryant torched the Defence for three heartbreaking touchdowns and over a hundred yards. 16 Touchdowns in total and over 1,000 yards last season make Bryant an extremely tough man to stop. He may not be the fastest or most agile in the league, but Bryant is a powerhouse receiver. If he comes down with that ball, you better make sure the first tackle hits hard because it takes a lot to bring the big man down.
Beasley had his best career season last year, picking up 400 yards and 4 touchdowns. A few sources are pinning him as the next Wes Welker as his career numbers start to get higher and higher and for the Eagles secondary this poses a problem. If you focus heavily on Bryant, like many teams naturally will, then Beasley is going to pick up a lot of easy yards due to finding so much open space.
However the biggest problem is not the magnitude of the receiver in Bryant or the underrated underdog that might emerge in Beasley, it’s the fact that the Cowboys realistically are the only team in the NFC East who will be battling the Eagles for a play-off spot and the divisional crown. Having to face this receiving once would be bad enough but twice? We upgraded the secondary for a reason, the reason is to make sure the team get to the playoffs and beyond. To do that, they have to beat the most physical receiver in the league both on home turf and in Dallas. That’s the biggest challenge. Not just containing the pairing once, but twice, when a play-off place could be on the line.