Eagles vs. Jets: Full Philadelphia Game Preview

Douglas J Miller@@seDougtiveFeatured ColumnistSeptember 24, 2015

Eagles vs. Jets: Full Philadelphia Game Preview

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    Matt Rourke/Associated Press

    The Philadelphia Eagles head to MetLife Stadium this weekend to face the New York Jets following a disastrous game against the Dallas Cowboys last Sunday.

    The Eagles head into the third week of the regular season after losing their first two games. Philadelphia failed to come back from a 17-point deficit against the Atlanta Falcons in its opening game of the season. Last week, things got even worse for the Eagles as they could not do anything offensively in their 10-point defeat to the Cowboys.

    Heading into Week 3, the Eagles will face the red-hot Jets, who are fresh off a dominant victory over the Indianapolis Colts. The Jets defense suffocated Andrew Luck, one of the league's best quarterbacks, and will look to continue its dominance against Chip Kelly's struggling offense.

    Philadelphia and New York faced off just three short weeks ago in the final game of their preseason campaigns. The Eagles were the talk of the league after Sam Bradford had a perfect game against the Green Bay Packers with three touchdown passes. Since playing the Jets, the wheels have fallen off the Philadelphia bandwagon and Coach Kelly's seat is heating up.

    The Jets defeated the Eagles in the final game of the preseason, but the majority of the starters did not play for either team. Now in the regular season, the rosters will be full strength, and Philadelphia will have a point to prove to its fans and the rest of the league.

    As these two teams headed in opposite directions collide, here is all the info you need for Sunday afternoon's game.

    Location: MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey

    Time: 1:00 p.m. ET

    Television: Fox

Week 2 Results and Recap

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    Elsa/Getty Images

    Chip Kelly remodeled the Eagles roster over the offseason to bring in the players that he wanted, and now he is under pressure following two straight losses to start the season. Philadelphia lost a demoralizing game 20-10 to division rivals Dallas Cowboys last Sunday.

    From the start, the offense looked terrible as it went three-and-out in five of its first seven possessions against Dallas. The Eagles remained in the game due to the play of their defense and Dallas' inability to convert in the red zone. Philadelphia's defense clamped down and forced Dallas to kick two field goals in the first half.

    Starting the second half down six points, the Eagles were forced to punt on fourth down; Dallas blocked the kick and recovered the ball for a touchdown.

    The play of the second half came from rookie linebacker Jordan Hicks. The Texas product stripped quarterback Tony Romo, and Fletcher Cox recovered it. On the play, Romo suffered a broken clavicle and did not return to the game.

    Philadelphia's chances of a comeback seemed to come to an end when Sam Bradford threw an interception in the end zone to Sean Lee on the ensuing drive. The turnover sucked all of the momentum from Philadelphia.

    In the fourth quarter, Terrance Williams scored a 42-yard touchdown against cornerback Byron Maxwell to secure the win for Dallas. Jordan Matthews caught a touchdown on 4th-and-goal in garbage time to close the gap on the scoreboard.

    With the victory, the Cowboys jumped out to an early lead in the NFC East, as the Eagles and New York Giants both sit at the bottom.

Latest Injury News

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    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    Things go from bad to worse for the outlook of the Philadelphia Eagles' season as DeMarco Murray left practice early due to a hamstring injury in practice, according to ESPN.com's Phil Sheridan. Sheridan reported that the injury is not considered serious but he is considered questionable for the game against the Jets.

    If Murray is unable to play, Philadelphia has two other backs who are capable of carrying the load. Center Jason Kelce believes the success of Ryan Mathews and Darren Sproles comes down to the play of the offensive line.

    Last week's game against the Cowboys also saw injuries to two of Philadelphia's most talented playmakers on the defensive side of the ball. Kiko Alonso left the game with an injury to his left knee, and Mychal Kendricks limped off the field with a hurt hamstring.

    Defensive coordinator Billy Davis ruled out Kiko Alonso for the upcoming against the Jets after the inside linebacker injured the same knee as his recently torn ACL.

    “Kiko is still in the evaluation process, so we’re crossing our fingers and hoping everything turns out for the best,” Davis said before practice, according to CSNPhilly.com's Reuben Frank. “We’re unsure about him, but this week I don’t expect him to play.”

    The fate of fellow inside linebacker Kendricks is still in question heading into the clash against the Jets.

    "It’s going to be tough for him, but he’s got an outside shot,” Davis said, via Frank. “It’s still early in the week. We’ll see how he does.”

    Rookie linebacker Jordan Hicks stepped in alongside DeMeco Ryans last week and played well. There will be a lot of pressure on Hicks to perform with consistency as Philadelphia will need to rely on the young linebacker.

Key Matchup

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    Mitchell Leff/Getty Images

    Eagles offensive line vs. Jets defensive line

    Philadelphia failed to establish a steady running game for the second week in a row due to the poor play of the offensive line. A poor offensive line also leaves the injury-prone Sam Bradford open for target practice.

    Against the Cowboys, the offensive line failed to make holes for the running backs to run through. The Eagles finished the day with only seven yards rushing. Philadelphia will work to establish a running game against the New York Jets this weekend as it faces new head coach Todd Bowles, who was once the defensive coordinator for the Eagles. 

    The struggles of the offensive line lead to criticism of Chip Kelly's roster decisions as he released the two starting guards from last season. Philadelphia released quality offensive linemen without having players of equal caliber to replace them. Through two games Allen Barbre and Andrew Gardner look like liabilities for the protection of Bradford and the running backs.

    The new starters were not alone in their struggles, as Jason Peters and Jason Kelce both allowed defenders to blow right past them last week. The offensive line's inability to deter penetration in to the backfield could be the downfall of the Eagles against New York's talented defensive line.

    The Jets wreaked havoc against the Colts offensive line last Monday. The Jets defense was able to hit Andrew Luck 11 times, forcing him to be uncomfortable, which led to three interceptions.

    Against a struggling running game, the Jets can pin their ears back and get Sam Bradford. In only his third competitive game back from an ACL injury, the Eagles will need to protect Bradford if they hope to win their first game of the season.

Matchup X-Factor

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    Michael Perez/Associated Press

    Eagles X-Factor of the Week: Darren Sproles

    Philadelphia's backfield has been largely ineffective so far this offseason, but veteran Darren Sproles has found a way to impact the game despite a shaky offensive line. 

    If Murray is unable to play because of his hamstring injury, the workload would fall to Ryan Mathews and Sproles. Even if Murray is healthy, Sproles provides a different style than the other two running backs.

    The entire offense struggled last week, including Sproles. The tailback only had one carry for minus-four yards, but he also contributed four catches out of the backfield against the Cowboys.

    In Week 1 against the Falcons, Sproles showcased his ability to create mismatches. The undersized running back (5'6", 190 lbs) carried five times for 50 yards and also caught seven passes for 76 yards.

    Philadelphia will need Sproles to make big plays against the Jets this weekend. With a struggling offensive line going against a talented defense, the Eagles will need to implement an effective screen-pass game to slow down the pass rush.

    Additionally, last week showed that defensive players are able to get into the Eagles backfield quickly, so Sproles' elusiveness may be the only way to gain yardage on the ground. His game is based on versatility, and the Eagles will have to be creative if they want to turn their offense around against New York's talented defense.

    The veteran out of Kansas State University will need to make a few impact plays Sunday afternoon if the Eagles hope to get their first win of the season.

Prediction: Jets 17, Eagles 10

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    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    Chip Kelly and the Eagles need a win this weekend against the Jets to get the monkey off their back, but things will likely get worse before they get better.

    The first week against Atlanta showcased the secondary's inability to compete with legitimate playmakers on the outside. Both Julio Jones and Roddy White carved up Philadelphia's defense on the way to a two-point victory for the Falcons.

    This week, Billy Davis' defense will have to contend with the Jets' two legitimate playmakers on the outside. Brandon Marshall caught seven passes for 101 yards and a touchdown last week. In addition, Eric Decker complemented him with eight catches for 97 yards and a touchdown against the Colts.

    Philadelphia's big-money signing, Byron Maxwell, has not been able to keep up with Jones or even Terrance Williams, so it could be a long day for the secondary.

    For Philadelphia's offense, the hype train was steaming along two weeks ago following an exciting preseason. Philadelphia scored 36 points or more in its first three preseason games, and Bradford looked like an MVP candidate. In the third exhibition game, he was perfect, completing all 10 of his passes for 121 yards and three touchdowns.

    Following the loss to the Dallas Cowboys, the train has fallen off the tracks. In his first two regular-season games, Bradford has thrown two touchdown passes and four interceptions. Philadelphia also has only scored three points total in the two first halves combined against Atlanta and Dallas.

    Philadelphia is free-falling fast, and Chip Kelly's Eagles do not look likely to turn it around against a stout Jets defense. Philadelphia will have a tough time throwing the ball against New York's defense if it cannot establish a run game. On the other side, the Jets will rely on their skill-position players to make one or two impact plays on offense and then count on their defense to protect the lead.

    Prediction: Jets 17, Eagles 10