Odell Beckham turns 24 years old on Saturday. He's used to playing football in, on and around his birthday. Needless to say, he usually plays pretty well, too.
Last year on Nov. 1, OBJ had eight catches for 130 yards with three touchdowns in the Giants' 52-49 loss to the Saints in New Orleans. In his rookie year of 2014, he hauled in eight passes for 156 yards in a 40-24 loss at home to Indianapolis on Nov. 3.
This year, Beckham is nearly recovered from a hip ailment, claiming he is "85 percent." The hip issue hasn't hampered him too much, however. He hasn't missed a game and has looked pretty normal. The bye week has certainly helped him convalesce and he's ready to take it to the hated Eagles.
"Definitely a big game. I don't think I've beaten the Eagles since I've been here," Beckham said this week. "It's perfect timing. Right around my birthday time. Pretty much on the birthday. I always tend to rise to the occasion around my birthday time. Hopefully we have a big game. We definitely need this win."
Beckham could be in for a big game again as he could likely be shifted into the slot to line up against Eagles' rookie DB Jalen Mills, a former college teammate of Beckham's at LSU.
"I'm all in to move around, cause controversy and make it difficult for the defense," Beckham said. "Getting in the slot, it allows you to get a different look. It's tougher to double some one in the slot. It leaves too much open. Hopefully I get back in there. We have a great slot guy right now. All three of us could go in there. Pretty much go wherever they tell you to go. Run what we're going to run."
Mills is not daunted by Beckham's presence, however. He's already faced off against some of the league's top wideouts this season in Pittsburgh's Antonio Brown, Alshon Jeffery of Chicago and Dallas' Dez Bryant. Brown and Bryant torched the Eagles' secondary for 140 and 155 yards, respectively, by the way.
Mills told NJ.com this week that he sees Beckham as a player who is "in the mix" among the league's top wideout but does not plan on goading him or doing anything different this week.
"No and that wouldn't be a plan at all, to try and goad him," Mills said. "When you're forcing a guy to try to get aggravated or get out of his character, then I'm getting out of my character and not really focusing on the scheme or technique that I need to bring to the table every single down."
A lot has changed since the two players went at each other down in Bayou country. OBJ has become an international superstar, while Mills is a seventh-round draft pick who is finding his way in the NFL.
"From three years ago, of course he's gotten a lot stronger and a lot faster," Mills said when asked to assess his former teammate. "He knows the league. He's made a lot of great plays in the league. I'm sure that the match up on Sunday afternoon is going to be way different than it was back in practice at LSU."
The Giants will try to get the Eagles into single coverage situations by moving the wideouts around. So far, we haven't seen a lot of this. At least not to the point where it's been effective. Beckham agrees they have to start finding the mismatches.
"We're doing the best that we can right now at finding ways to move around," he said. "Not let them double so much. Even at times running the linebacker underneath. It's definitely tough. It's tough to go against and it's tough to want to be successful. You're faced against some great obstacles. They play a lot of one-high man. Hopefully we can get them in a lot of one-high man and see what happens."