Philadelphia Eagles vs. Denver Broncos: Preview and Prediction
The Eagles might be the best rushing team in the league this season, but it just so happens that the Broncos have the NFL's top-rated run defense.
And of course, the Eagles have continued to struggle in pass defense, while Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning is on pace to break completion-percentage, yardage, touchdown and passer-rating records.
PFR (min. 250 attempts for records)
So the odds aren't in Philly's favor Sunday at Mile High, but anything can happen in this league. Here's our final preview of the matchup from the Eagles perspective, along with a prediction...
What Philly must do to win, offensive edition
First, control the pace to shorten the game and keep Manning off the field. That won't be easy with Kelly's up-tempo approach, when you consider that the Broncos have surrendered just 2.3 yards per rush attempt this year. But Philly will have to find a way to do so, using lots of short, safe passes and creative runs. Eventually, that should give them some play-action opportunities to pick on a somewhat shorthanded Broncos secondary.
The Eagles might also want to try some new things. If there are wrinkles to be introduced, now would be the time. Maybe even try throwing to a tight end for once. What have you got to lose?
What Philly must do to win, defensive edition
Make all of your tackles, get pressure on Manning to help the secondary, create takeaways and avoid big plays. That's it!
Five most important non-quarterback players
LeSean McCoy: He's on pace to break Eric Dickerson's single-season rushing-yards record. He'll have to keep that up Sunday if the Eagles want to compete.
DeSean Jackson: They need their top deep threat to take advantage of a secondary that might still be without Champ Bailey and a pass rush that still doesn't have Von Miller.
Cary Williams, Bradley Fletcher and Brandon Boykin: Another option here might have been Trent Cole, Connor Barwin and Brandon Graham. You get the point.
Injury analysis, Eagles edition
Rookie safety Earl Wolff will probably make his first career start in place of Patrick Chung, who is doubtful with a shoulder injury. Chung has struggled anyway. Meanwhile, Jason Peters struggled after dislocating a finger last week. He'll play, but that injury could be a factor.
Who will win Sunday?
Injury analysis, Broncos edition
Denver's Miller is still suspended, which is a huge break for the Eagles, especially based on the way that the line performed against the Kansas City Chiefs. Bailey might make his season debut but won't likely be 100 percent and could be rusty, and fellow corner Tony Carter is banged up as well. There will be openings against this D.
B/R NFC East blog prediction: Broncos 37, Eagles 20
The Eagles have had 10 days to prepare, and the Broncos are coming off a short week, which is scary. But that is pretty much the only thing Philly has in its favor going into this matchup. At the end of the day the Eagles secondary has too many holes to shut down the NFL's best aerial assault.
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