The New York Jets are hosting the Philadelphia Eagles in their final preseason game of the year, which doubles as an opportunity for viewers to get familiar with the second-string players on each roster.
Eagles head coach Chip Kelly already conceded that Michael Vick and the rest of the starters—with a few exceptions—would be benched for the entirety of the contest.
Regardless, each of these young teams is currently in the midst of solving a number of competitive positional battles and employ plenty of players hoping to make the final 53-man roster.
When: Thursday, Aug. 29 at 7 p.m. ET
Where: MetLife Stadium, East Rutherford, N.J.
Watch: WCBS (New York); 6ABC (Philadelphia)
Streaming: Preseason Live
Betting Line: Eagles (-3), according to ScoresAndOdds.com
Take the Eagles here, as even though the starters aren’t playing, there are a number of hungry players that are competing for limited roster spots. They should run away with a victory here as the Jets look to iron out their quarterback situation and likely line up some inexperienced scrubs under center.
What They’re Saying
ESPN’s First Take crew discussed Vick being named the starting signal-caller in Philly. It’s an interesting discussion, especially considering how good he used to be and how well he fits—on paper—in Kelly’s offense.
Eagles Player to Watch: Nick Foles and Matt Barkley
Even though Vick is atop the depth chart at the quarterback position, Foles and Barkely are definitely not out of the picture this season.
No matter how well he plays and how much confidence coach Kelly has in his starter, it’s hard to imagine a scenario in which Foles doesn’t play at least one game in 2013.
Vick has played in all 16 games just once during his 10-year NFL career, with that rare occurrence coming back during the 2006 season. Even during his electrifying 2010 campaign, the dual-threat QB participated in just 12 games and dealt with various injuries.
Due to Vick’s injury-prone nature, Foles will need to prepare for each game like he is going to play a big part.
If Foles doesn’t impress when he gets the opportunity, third-string rookie Barkley will certainly have a chance to move up and may even end up as the team’s starter when all is said and done.
It’s certainly worth tuning in to see which of the two reserves shines brightest on Thursday night.
Jets Player to Watch: Geno Smith
Smith had the starting job all but locked up after tossing a touchdown in last week’s preseason outing, but decided to take 10 leaps backward after that one solid step forward.
The second-round draft pick chucked three interceptions and committed a bad quarterback move that Dan Orlovsky patented back in 2008—mistakenly running out of the back of his own end zone for a safety.
If anyone had any lingering hope left for Smith to develop into a quality starter after the trio of picks, the quarterback obliterated the optimism and proved that he’s just not ready to play in the NFL after he stepped out of bounds.
However, he’s likely going to get thrown to the wolves now because head coach Rex Ryan made the brilliant decision to insert former starter Mark Sanchez into the game behind a third-string offensive line.
It’s a lose-lose situation in the Big Apple, but Smith at least has some upside and could learn on the fly during a season in which Gang Green may actually go 0-16.
Keep an eye on the former West Virginia star on Thursday and see if he shows any improvement from last week.
The Jets first-team offense didn’t have a preseason touchdown until Smith connected with Ben Obomanu against the New York Giants last Saturday.
It is simply an embarrassing organization pockmarked by terrible coaching and even worse quarterback play, although Smith still has a chance to be a legit player in the future.
However, don't be surprised if Philly wins this one by recovering a Smith butt fumble in his own end zone, as he's not ready for the big stage yet and plays for the laughingstock of the league.
Eagles 21 – Jets 6