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Jalen Mills, Eagles Secondary Must Find Way to Stop 'OBJ'

By Zach Gershman, Sports Talk Philly staff writer 

Coming off a huge win knocking off the last undefeated team in the NFL, the Minnesota Vikings, the Birds entered Jerry’s World with all the momentum on their side but just could not capitalize.

Last week, the Philadelphia Eagles lost 29-23 in overtime to the Dallas Cowboys in a matchup with a ton of miscues. One of those miscues was the game-winning touchdown when Rodney McLeod ran into Malcolm Jenkins allowing Jason Witten to be left wide open in the end zone.

Along with the overtime mishap, the Eagles secondary did a mediocre job guarding Dez Bryant who had four receptions for 113 yards and scored the touchdown that tied the game at 23 with three minutes left in the fourth quarter. Now this week, the secondary, particularly rookie Jalen Mills, might just have an even bigger challenge in guarding wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr.

Besides his comments that football wasn’t fun for him anymore, the 2014 Rookie of the Year is having an outstanding season thus far with 40 receptions for a total of 630 yards. Beckham is averaging nearly 16 yards per receiving reception. 'OBJ' also has more receiving yards than Darren Sproles, Nelson Agholor and Zach Ertz combined.

The plan for the Giants on Sunday is to force Mills to guard the two time Pro-Bowler. Mills and Beckham were teammates at LSU, so the two are fairly familiar with one another.

With starting cornerback Ron Brooks out for the rest of the season, Mills will be playing a big bulk of the snaps on defense. Although he had a blooper against the Cowboys on the fake punt, he has guarded receivers very well this season. He shut down Antonio Brown in Week 3 by not allowing him to score in the blowout win over the Steelers and he plans on doing it again but to Beckham this Sunday.

"Don't really care. It's going to be football, regardless," Mills said to NJ.com about guarding Beckham. "We practice and we preach that guys have assignments and make a play if it comes to you. Either the ball's going your way or it isn't. It really doesn't matter." 

Ever since Beckham Jr. stepped foot in the league, he has yet to beat the Eagles, as the Giants have a record of 0-4 against the Birds. The Eagles hope to make that 0-5 come Sunday and earn a much-needed first victory against an NFC East divisional opponent.

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