The Eagles face the Giants this weekend in a must-win matchup. With three teams tied for second in the NFC East, any opportunity to gain an advantage on a divisional opponent is one the team have to capitalize on if they are to mount a playoff charge. If they’re to do so against the Giants, they’ll be needing a big game from one man in particular..tight end, Zach Ertz.
After signing a huge contract extension, keeping him in Philadelphia for the duration of Pederson’s first contract, Ertz’s role in the Eagles Offense has diminished. Although he missed two games with an injury, Ertz has amassed a lowly 150 yards on 15 receptions in the five games he has played. Through a culmination of not being targeted when open and a lack of looks that favor his skill-set among other things, the franchise tight end has been drastically underwhelming so far.
But with the Eagles Offense facing week-long criticism for their 3.7 yards per passing attempt against the Cowboys, things may be set to change..and Offensive Coordinator is more than prepared to fuel those changes. Meeting with the media earlier in the week, Frank Reich showed an desite to get Ertz the football.
“Have a sense of urgency. Keep thinking about it. Keep trying to get the ball to him. And just have a breakthrough one of these games and get things back on track. We’re pushing for that, we’re thinking about it. we’re planning for it. I can tell you each week there are ‘X’ number of plays geared to go to Ertz since he’s been back.”
“…We just need to make more first downs and get him the ball. He’s a great tight end..and that’s our plan.’’
The good news is, that this may be the best opportunity to once again make Ertz a focal point of the Eagles Offense. The Giants allow the tenth most passing yards per game in the NFL and when it comes to keeping tight ends quiet, they’ve struggled.
Notable Tight end performances vs Giants:
Jason Witten: 9 rec, 66 yards
Jordan Reed: 4 rec, 56 yards
Kyle Rudolph: 5 rec, 55 yards, 1TD
Lance Kendricks: 7 rec, 55 yards
If the Eagles want to defeat the New York Giants, they simply have to get creative with the Football and allow Carson Wentz to throw down the field. Ertz is one of the most explosive tight ends in the league and is yet to be utilized as such, which is a surprise given Pederson’s success in Kansas City with Travis Kelce.
But the birds are 0-2 against divisional opponents..and if they lose a third, playoffs become that much harder to attain. These are the sort of games where playmakers thrive and earn their reputation as difference makers. That’s exactly what Zach Ertz will need to do in order to help his Offense break out of whatever anchor is currently holding them down.