Odell Beckham Jr. turns 24 Saturday.
That’s good news for Beckham — and bad news, perhaps, for the Eagles, who have to stop him Sunday.
The wide receiver has played well around his big day in each of his first two seasons with the Giants.
“It’s perfect timing,” Beckham said following practice Wednesday. “Right around birthday time. I always tend to rise to the occasion around my birthday. We definitely need this win.”
A productive Beckham would help. As a rookie in 2014, Beckham torched the Colts for eight catches and 156 yards two days before he turned 22. It was the first of a nine-game stretch in which he broke the 100-yard barrier seven times.
Last year, he got the Saints for eight catches, 130 yards and three touchdowns the Sunday before his birthday and went on to surpass the century mark six straight times.
This season, he enters while still recovering from a hip injury that he said limited him to about 65 percent against the Rams in London, where he wasn’t even sure he would be able to play during warm-ups.
“I didn’t know if I would make it through the game,” Beckham said. “Thankfully, I did. The bye week came at the right time. [It gave me] time to recover, get worked on all break. I’m almost back to normal.”
Beckham said on Wednesday he feels about 85 percent following the bye week.
And the Giants, struggling offensively, could certainly use another flurry of 100-yard games from the third-year pro.
Asked why he seems to save his best for the second half of the season, Beckham did not point to any magical birthday cake. Instead, he thinks it’s about conditioning.
“I think it’s because people wear down,” Beckham said. “I make sure I stay on top of my body so once it gets toward the end of the season, I still feel like it’s Week 2 pretty much every game. The bye week gave me another week. I’m gonna be fresh all year and hopefully stay healthy and don’t get nicked up as much. I tend to do better toward the end of the race.”
That race kicks into high gear at MetLife Stadium on Sunday, with both the Eagles and Giants entering at 4-3, trailing first-place Dallas by two games in the NFC East.
Beckham remained limited in practice Wednesday, but head coach Ben McAdoo said he was moving OK.
And he expects another big second half from his star receiver.
“Odell is a talented player,” McAdoo said. “The more he practices, the better he seems to get.”
Beckham has been inconsistent this year, with a game like the one he had against Baltimore, when he finished with 222 yards and a pair of touchdowns, but also filled with lackluster showings against Green Bay, Minnesota and the Rams.
His best three games have come at home, so perhaps that’s another good sign for a Giants’ offense in need of some.
Despite the struggles by the offense, Beckham said he feels the Giants are going in the right direction.
“We’re 4-3 right now,” Beckham said. “As long as we keep winning, I don’t know that anything needs to change. I’m definitely expecting more of myself, making all the plays that you can make. I feel very focused as we head to the second half of the season. I think the team is, as well.’’
Dan Martin | newyorkpost.com | November 2, 2016