Philly Front Office - Eagles

Week 3 Preview

With a loss to the Buccaneers and Ryan Fitzpatrick last week, the Eagles look to get back on track at home against the Colts. After a loss in the second week to the Chiefs last season, the Birds went on to win twelve out of their next fourteen games. While another streak like that would be amazing, the Eagles need to take care of business this Sunday first. Let’s look at each team.

 

The Eagles

There are a lot of moving parts heading into this week for the good guys. For starters, and arguably most importantly, the return of Carson Wentz will energize the offense. Carson is overall a better quarterback than Foles, but I would definitely expect some rust. Also, one of the many reasons why Carson is such a great quarterback is because of what he can do with his legs. Everyone making the decisions feels comfortable with putting him out there, so we will see how he fairs.

A large part of the Eagles’ offense is run through run-pass options (RPOs). Foles was relatively fine at operating these, but there was never a threat from him to keep it himself or to extend a play with his legs. A healthy Carson Wentz can take that ball given the opportunity and make a play. This all comes down to how he feels with the knee, though. I would bet that, for at least this week, he keeps it simple. The best case scenario is that Carson is fully healed, and wasn’t rushed back after last week’s loss.

 

Despite the return of our main piece, he doesn’t have the greatest welcoming party there to greet him on the field. Starting left-tackle Jason Peters left last game, but is expected to play this week. After watching backup Halapoulivaati Vaiti struggle in relief against Tampa, a perfect scenario has the Pro Bowler back protecting our newly healthy QB. Running back and wide receiver are more of a mess. As of the official injury report from Wednesday, Ajayi and Sproles are day-to-day. If either of the two do play I would expect it to be Ajayi, but even that is uncertain. If neither can suit up, we are looking at a RB rotation of Corey Clement, Wendall Smallwood, and the recent practice squad promoted Josh Adams. I thought Adams should have made the team over Smallwood, and was very happy he made it to our practice squad. While some of this may possibly be related to interest from other teams and us trying to keep him, it is almost certainly due to the injury situation. I’m not sure Josh Adams is active if Ajayi can play this weekend.

 

As for wide receivers, it doesn’t get much better. Carson will be slinging to Nelson Agholor, Kamar Aiken, Jordan Matthews, and Shelton Gibson. If that moves the needle for you as a wide receiver group, I would suggest reevaluating your approach. I would’ve loved to see Wentz’s deep throw ability paired with Mike Wallace’s speed, but Philly can’t have nice things all of the time. One thing I am worried about with the resigning of Matthews is who is going to play the slot. Both Matthews and Agholor have had an overwhelming share of their success come from when they are playing there. Ertz lines up in the slot from time to time as well, so it’ll be interesting to see how it pans out. In reference to Ertz, I expect him to take on more of the receiving load. Our other tight end, Dallas Goedert, needs to be more involved. He was drafted too high and is too talented to not see the field. With the receiving core we have now, he needs to be a factor. On the defensive side of the ball, the defensive line has to dictate the game. The Eagles entire defense is based on the principle that the cornerbacks don’t have to be lock-down if the quarterback has no time to throw. If the big boys can get to Luck early and often, they should be in good shape.

 

The Colts

The Colts come to the Linc 1-1 on their season, fresh off beating the Redskins 21-9. Luck has shown some rust his first two games back, throwing three interceptions over two games so far. As I stated before, if the Eagles D-line can put pressure on Luck, he may be susceptible to bad throws we can take away. With a below average rushing attack led by Jordan Wilkins and Marlon Mack, taking away their aerial attack is the key to not letting them score. Former Eagles coach Frank Reich has done a nice job of balancing the offense more than at any point in Luck’s career, but he is the key. Leading the team in targets and receiving is T.Y. Hilton. Hilton, along with the aforementioned Mack and tight end Jack Doyle, missed practice Wednesday. While all should play, these are injuries the team will certainly be monitoring. A key matchup for the Birds will be Eric Ebron, who has caught a touchdown each of the first two games for Indy. While Jack Doyle has more targets, Ebron has emerged as a red zone favorite for Luck. Minimizing the run and mitigating Hilton, Ebron, and Doyle should keep the Colts in check. Defensively, the Colts are allowing an average of 249 passing yards and 83 rushing yards through their two games this season. The Eagles should not have too much of an issue moving down the field against this team.

 

Prediction: Wentz looks solid in his return despite a limited supporting cast, and the defense comes back to life at home. Eagles 24 – Colts 10

Brendan Keeney

If I'm not talking about Philadelphia sports, I'm usually sarcastically tweeting about them. Disciple of Sam Hinkie, lover of craft beer, and almost always right.

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