Rothman’s First Look

rothmanfirstlook header Rothmans First Look

 By Andrew Porter


Week 7 – Minnesota Vikings (5-0) @ Eagles (3-2) Sunday, October 23rd


First look for the Eagles: The Eagles have lost two games and their starting right tackle in two weeks, and are all of the sudden struggling.

The Eagles allowed 493 total yards and 230 rushing yards to the Redskins in an ugly 27-20 loss. A Wendell Smallwood kick return touchdown and a Malcolm Jenkins pick six made it look a little bit better than it actually was.

Filling in for Lane Johnson, who was suspended 10 games for violating the league’s PED policy, was fifth-round pick rookie Halapoulivaati Vaitai (“Big V”). Big V struggled allowing two sacks, a hit, and two hurries in 29 dropbacks in his first career NFL action.

First look for the Vikings: The Vikings are the NFL’s only undefeated team.

Acquiring Sam Bradford from the Eagles about a week before the start of the season has paid off for Minnesota, as Bradford is completing 70.4-percent of his passes. He has thrown for 990 yards, six touchdowns, and no interceptions.

With Adrian Peterson out for the season, Jerick Mckinnon and Matt Asiata have filled in nicely. Young talented wide receivers Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen, along with veteran tight end Kyle Rudolph, have all played well this season.

Defensively, Minnesota has been really dominant, leading the NFL allowing just 12.6 points per game. They’re second in the NFL allowing just 287.6 yards per game and they lead the NFL with 3.8 sacks per game.

First look for the game: Bradford makes his return to Philly, as the Eagles return home for their first time since their 34-3 thrashing of the Steelers in Week 3.

The key to the game will be how the Eagles’ offensive line protects Carson Wentz against the ferocious Vikings’ pass rush. Minnesota leads the NFL in turnover ratio at +11 while the Eagles are third best at +6.

Early line (via Vikings -2.5 at Eagles

Sunday, October 23rd – Vikings at Eagles @ Lincoln Financial Field


Week 6 – Eagles (3-1) @ Washington Redskins (2-3) Sunday, October 16th


First look for the Eagles: The Eagles lost a devastating game in Detroit in Week 5, 24-23.

Leading 23-21 late in the game, Ryan Mathews fumbled on a 3rd-and-2 carry. The Lions went ahead with a field goal and on the Eagles’ first play during the ensuing drive, Carson Wentz threw his first career interception ending the game. Those two turnovers were the Eagles’ first and second giveaways of the season.

Wentz played his fourth straight solid game, completing 25-33 passes for 238 yards, 2 TD’s, and 1 INT.

Defensively, the Eagles struggled early allowing three straight passing touchdowns to start the game and 199 total yards in the first 30 minutes. However, in the second half, the Birds held the Lions to just 45 total yards and three points.

First look for the Redskins: The Redskins enter Week 6 as one of the hottest teams in football, on a three-game winning streak.

Washington beat Baltimore 16-10 on Sunday in a windy game. Washington still managed 310 yards of offense, with Kirk Cousins throwing for 260 of them. Pierre Garcon was their leading receiver catching five of seven targets for 56 yards and a touchdown.

The Redskins did allow 118 yards on 19 carries to the Ravens, but held them to 10 points.

First look for the game: Washington boasts one of the game’s most dangerous passing attacks with Cousins throwing to Garcon, DeSean Jackson, Jordan Reed, and Jamison Crowder. Cousins is sixth in the NFL with 1,432 passing yards.

Defensively, Washington is just 28th in the NFL allowing 392 yards and almost 25 points per game.

The Eagles have the third best rushing defense in the NFL, allowing just 73.3 yards per game. They’re giving up just 194 yards per game in the air, sixth best in the NFL, but expect Washington to throw a lot on Sunday at home.

Despite the two turnovers on Sunday, the Eagles are still 4th in the NFL in turnover differential at +5. Washington is +1.

Early line (via Eagles -2.5 at Redskins

Sunday, October 16th – Eagles at Redskins @ FedEx Field 


Week 5 – Eagles (3-0) @ Detroit Lions (1-3) Sunday, October 9th


First look for the Eagles: The Eagles enter Week 5 coming off their bye week, hoping to have a fully healthy roster.

Offensive lineman Lane Johnson will reportedly have his appeals hearing on Tuesday. Johnson hopes to avoid a potential 10-game suspension for violating the NFL’s performance enhancing drug policy for the second time in his career.

Starting running back Ryan Mathews, who was very limited in the Eagles’ Week 3 win over the Steelers with an ankle injury, hopes to return fully healthy for Week 5. As does cornerback Leodis McKelvin (hamstring) and tight end Zach Ertz (rib displacement).

First look for the Lions: The Lions are struggling. After opening the season with a last second win over the Indianapolis Colts, the Lions have lost three straight games to fall to 1-3.

Last Sunday, the Lions lost 17-14 to the Chicago Bears, recording just 263 yards of total offense and just 66 rushing yards. Matthew Stafford threw for just 213 yards, 0 TD’s, and 2 INT’s.

Stafford had some miscommunication with wide receiver Golden Tate resulting in one of his two interceptions. Tate, who has just 14 catches for 95 yards on the season, was subsequently benched.

The Lions lost second-year running back Ameer Abdullah in Week 3, who was placed on injured reserve with a foot injury. On Sunday, rookie running back Dwayne Washington limped off with an ankle injury and did not return.

First look for the game: The Lions are 25th in the NFL allowing 386.3 points per game through four games this season and 20th in the NFL allowing 25.5 points per game. The Lions have also struggled getting takeaways this season, recording just one in four games accoutning for a -3 turnover differential.

For the Eagles, it’s the far opposite, as the Birds have allowed just 9.0 points per game on defense (1st in NFL) and 274.3 yards per game allowed (4th in NFL). The Eagles’ turnover differential is +6, tied for second best in the NFL.

Offensively, the Eagles will have to contain one of the league’s best QB-WR connections in Stafford to Marvin Jones. Stafford is 4th in the NFL with 1,198 passing yards while Jones has 482 receiving yards, just six yards off Julio Jones’ league-best mark.

When the Eagles have the ball, they’ll have to game plan against the Lions’ fourth-year cornerback Darius Slay, who has quickly become one of the top NFL shutdown corners in the NFL.

Early line (via Eagles -2.5 at Lions

Sunday, October 9th – Eagles at Lions @ Ford Field 


Week 4 – Eagles (3-0) BYE Sunday, October 2nd


First look for the Eagles: The Eagles enter the bye week as one of the NFL’s biggest surprises.

After a 34-3 beat down of the Pittsburgh Steelers Sunday at the Linc, the Eagles improved to 3-0. They are the only team in the NFL yet to commit a turnover and have an NFL best +65 point differential.

Rookie QB Carson Wentz — who was 23-31 for 301 yards, 2 TDs, and 0 INTs on Sunday — now has thrown an NFL record 102 pass attempts to start his career without an interception.

The Eagles have allowed just 9.0 points per game on defense (1st in NFL) and 274.3 yards per game allowed (4th in NFL). They have a turnover differential of +6 (2nd best in NFL) and 10 sacks (t-3rd most in NFL).

First look at the bye: The Eagles are expected to get Leodis McKelvin (hamstring) and Zach Ertz (rib displacement) back from injury after the bye week. Running back Ryan Mathews, who was held to limited snaps vs. the Steelers with an ankle injury, will look to return to full health after the bye week as well.

The Eagles will play at the 1-2 Detroit Lions in Week 5. The Lions play at the 0-3 Chicago Bears in Week 4.


Week 3 – Pittsburgh Steelers (2-0) @ Eagles (2-0) Sunday, September 25th


First look for the Eagles: Carson Wentz is one of the NFL’s biggest stories.

After a 29-14 win over the Bears, Wentz became the first quarterback in NFL history to start and win his first two career games without a team turnover.

The Mat(t)hews brothers have lead the charge for the Eagles offense. Ryan Mathews has three rushing touchdowns in two games and J-Matt has 13 catches for 185 yards and 1 TD this season.

Zach Ertz’s status is uncertain. He missed the Eagles’ Week 2 game against the Bears with a rib displacement injury. Trey Burton filled in nicely with five catches for 49 yards and a touchdown.

Tackle Lane Johnson has reportedly scheduled his appeal on his potential 10-game suspension for October 4th, meaning Sunday vs. the Steelers could be his final game until Week 15.

First look for the Steelers: Ben Roethlisberger comes to town with an NFL high six touchdown passes and a 2-0 record.

His number option, Antonio Brown has caught two of his six TD passes. Brown has 12 catches for 165 yards on the season and his regarded by most as the game’s best wide receiver.

On the ground, DeAngelo Williams has filled in beautifully for the suspended Le’Veon Bell. D-Will has 237 yards on 58 carries and two touchdowns and also has 10 catches and a receiving score.

Sammie Coates, rookie WR Eli Rogers, and tight end Jesse James provide Big Ben with a slew of offensive weapons.

Defensively, the Steelers have allowed just 16 points in each of their two wins. Third-year linebacker Ryan Shazier leads the team with 17 tackles, and also has a forced fumble and interception. The Steelers have just one sack on the season.

First look for the game: The Steelers entered the season with Super Bowl expectations. The Eagles entered with a rookie quarterback. Now, both teams are 2-0.

Eagles cornerback Leodis McKelvin missed Monday night’s game against the Bears with a hamstring injury, thrusting rookie corner Jalen Mills into a starting role. Mills played well against Alshon Jeffery and will have to do the same against Antonio Brown.

The Steelers have the second best run defense in the NFL, allowing just 3.4 yards per attempt and just 101 total rushing yards in two games. However, against the pass, they have allowed 348 yards per game, which is second worst in the NFL.

Early line (via Steelers -5.5 at Eagles

Sunday, September 25th – Steelers at Eagles @ Lincoln Financial Field


Week 2 – Eagles (1-0) @ Chicago Bears (0-1) Monday, September 19th


First look for the Eagles: Carson Wentz was brilliant in his NFL debut completing 22 of 37 for 278 yards, two touchdowns, and no turnovers in a 29-10 win over the Browns.

Jordan Matthews was Wentz’s go-to guy catching seven of 14 targets for 114 yards and a touchdown. Ryan Mathews rushed 22 times for 77 yards and a touchdown, a modest performance as the Eagles’ offensive line was average at best.

Lane Johnson, who is reportedly expected to be suspended 10 games for violating the PED policy, started the game at right-tackle for the Eagles.

The Browns ran just 50 plays totaling 288 yards. Safety Rodney McLeod came away with four tackles, one for a loss, and an interception in his Eagles debut. The Eagles’ corners gave up two big plays and Leodis McKelvin left early with a hamstring injury.

The Eagles could also be without Zach Ertz, who has a rib displacement injury.

First look for the Bears: The Bears got off to a solid start against a stringy Texans defense, but eventually lost 23-14 in their season opener.

Jay Cutler completed 16 of just 29 passes for 216 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT. Alshon Jeffery came away with 105 of those yards on just four catches and Jeremy Langford rushed for 57 yards and a touchdown.

Defensively, the Bears allowed 344 yards to the Texans and just 215 in the air. However, the Texans ran for 129 yards on 35 carries behind Lamar Miller’s 106 yard rushing performance.

LB Jerrell Freeman had a game-high 17 tackles and 1 for a loss. LB Danny Trevathan had 11 tackles, 1 for a loss, and a sack. Veteran corner Tracy Porter came away with an interception, the Bears’ only takeaway.

First look for the game: While skeptics will scoff at Wentz’s debut against the lowly Browns, heading to Soldier Field on Monday Night Football is a true test.

The game’s key matchup will be between the Bears’ tandem of 6-3 receivers in Alshon Jeffery and rookie Kevin White vs. the Eagles’ suspect corners Nolan Carroll, Leodis McKelvin (if healthy), or Jalen Mills.

The Eagles’ defensive front will look to pressure Jay Cutler and force him into turnovers, something he has been prone to do throughout his career.

Early line (via Eagles +3 vs. Bears

Monday, September 19th @ 8:30 p.m. – Eagles at Bears @ Soldier Field


Week 1 – Cleveland Browns @ Eagles (Sunday, September 11th)


First look for the Eagles: When you trade your starting quarterback eight days before the season starts, you command a lot of national attention.

On Saturday, the Eagles traded Sam Bradford to the Minnesota Vikings and two days later named rookie QB Carson Wentz as their Week 1 starting quarterback. The Eagles will likely help Wentz in his NFL debut by relying on the rushing attack led by Ryan Mathews and Jim Schwartz’s defense anchored by Fletcher Cox.

Wide receiver Jordan Matthews, who missed the preseason with a knee injury, is expected to start on Sunday.

Head coach Doug Pederson makes his NFL head coaching debut.

First look for the Browns: The Browns also enter 2016 with a new head coach, in Hue Jackson, and a new quarterback in Robert Griffin III who comes over from Washington.

RGIII will have a slew of weapons to play with: early-down back Isaiah Crowell, passing-down back Duke Johnson, rookie receiver Corey Coleman, tight end Gary Barnidge, and speedster Terrell Pryor.

Defensively, the Browns are expected to struggle. This offseason, they lost Pro Bowl safety Tashaun Gipson, among other key starters, to free-agency.

First look for the game: The Browns finished 2015 as the third worst defense against the run. The Eagles finished dead last against the run.

The key to the game will be which quarterback will make the least amount of mistakes. This preseason, the Eagles’ defense led the NFL with nine interceptions and was seventh in the NFL with 11 sacks.

With new coaches and new quarterbacks, expect both teams to rely on the ground attack and pressure the opposing QB’s.

Early line (via Eagles -4 vs. Browns

Sunday, September 11th @ 1:00 p.m. – Browns at Eagles @ Lincoln Financial Field



Preseason Week 4 – New York Jets @ Eagles (Thursday, September 1st)


First look for the Eagles: It’s not often you get to see many starters, if any, during the final preaseason game.

However, LB Mychal Kendricks and WR Dorial Green-Beckahm are expected to play on Thursday.

WR Paul Turner is vying for to be the Eagles’ fifth receiver and make the 53-man roster as an undrafted free agent.

First look for the Jets: The Jets are expected to give plenty of reps to second-round pick QB Christian Hackenberg out of Penn State.

Wide receiver Robby Anderson, out of Temple, will look to continue his impressive play as he tries to make the Jets’ 53-man roster as an undrafted player.

Thursday, September 1st at 7:00 p.m. – Jets at Eagles @ Lincoln Financial Field

Preseason Week 3 – Eagles @ Indianapolis Colts (Saturday, August 27th)


First look for the Eagles: Preseason game number three is always the closest to a regular season game, as the starters typically see an extended amount of playing time. The Eagles’ defense will get a true test, against Andrew Luck and the high powered Colts offense.

That Eagles’ defense has fared well in two preseason games, forcing nine takeaways and recording seven interceptions.

Offensively, with Carson Wentz still sore with a rib injury, Sam Bradford and Chase Daniel will take the bulk of the snaps at QB. Rookie running back Wendell Smallwood says he will be a full go at practice this week and hopes to makes his NFL debut on Saturday night.

Also, Eagles wide receiver Dorial Green-Beckham should see more work with his new team.

First look for the Colts: Luck, who sat out of the team’s first preseason game, went 8-8 with 71 yards in a 19-18 loss against the Baltimore Ravens last week.

Second-year receiver Phillip Dorsett led the team in receiving with 37 yards on three catches against the Ravens. Dorsett, along with T.Y. Hilton, Donte Moncrief, Dwayne Allen, and Frank Gore provide Luck with a slew of dangerous offensive weapons.

First look for the game: The Colts possess one of the league’s top offenses, providing a true test for Jim Schwartz and the exciting new Eagles’ defense.

Defensively, the Colts ranked 24th in the NFL against the pass last year. Sam Bradford, who threw for just 115 yards on 14 completions against the Steleers, and the Eagles’ wide receivers hope to get going against the Colts.

Early line (via Eagles +3 at Colts

Saturday, Auguat 27th at 7:00 p.m. – Eagles at Colts @ Lucas Oil Stadium


Preseason Week 2 – Eagles @ Pittsburgh Steelers (Thursday, August 18th)


First look for the Eagles: The Eagles enter Week 2 of the preseason coming off a 17-9 win over the Bucs. However, in their preseason opener last week, Sam Bradford and the starting offense only played three snaps thanks to a recovered fumble on the opening kickoff and a short touchdown drive.

Eagles rookie running back Wendell Smallwood is hoping to make his NFL debut.

Defensively, the Eagles’ front recorded three sacks against the Bucs. The leader of that unit, Fletcher Cox, was in midseason form recording a sack, strip, and fumble recovery on the same play.

However, as expected, the Eagles’ wide receivers and cornerbacks struggled and look to improve this week against the Steelers.

Rookie QB Carson Wentz suffered a hairline fracture in his ribs and will miss Thursday’s game. Mychal Kendricks, Mike Martin, Jordan Matthews, Jalen Mills, and Hunter Sharp have all be ruled out for the Birds.

New Eagles wide receiver Dorial Green-Beckham will also not play.

First look for the Steelers: The Steelers opened their preseason slate with a 30-17 loss to the Detroit Lions last week. Their big three of Ben Roethlisberger, Le’Veon Bell, and Antonio Brown did not play in last week’s game. They are not expected to play again on Thursday.

Fitzgerald Toussaint and Daryl Richardson will continue to battle for the team’s No. 3 running back position.

Defensively, the Steelers are planning on playing their starters.

“We’re in a different stage of development collectively defensively than we are offensively,” said Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin.

First look for the game: The teams enter 2016 with different perspectives and expectations.

The Steelers enter the season with Super Bowl expectations, boasting arguably the NFL’s most talented offensive. The Eagles, however, are built to win with their aggressive defensive style under new coordinator Jim Schwartz.

Early line (via Eagles +3.5 at Steelers

Thursday, August 18th at 7:00 p.m. – Eagles at Steelers @ Heinz Field 


Preseason Week 1 – Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. Eagles (Thursday, August 11th)


First look for the Eagles: The Eagles embark a new season under first-year head coach Doug Pederson and a cloudy, three-pronged quarterback situation.

All eyes will be on the quarterbacks as Sam Bradford, Chase Daniel, and rookie QB Carson Wentz are all expected to play with Wentz starting and playing the bulk of the second half.

Defensively, we will get a glimpse of the Eagles’ new 4-3 system under aggressive coordinator Jim Schwartz.

Offensive guard Brandon Brooks, safety Rodney McLeod, cornerback Leodis McKelvin, and cornerback Jalen Mills are four notable players expected to make their Eagles debuts.

Inactive for the Eagles: Jason Peters, Malcolm Jenkins, Jordan Matthews, Mychal Kendricks, Malcolm Smith, Wendell Smallwood

First look for the Bucs: The Bucs also enter the season under a first-year coach, in Dirk Koetter.

Koetter, who was the team’s offensive coordinator, helped mold No. 1 overall pick QB Jameis Winston to a 4,000 yard rookie season. On November 22nd, Winston tied an NFL rookie record throwing for 5 touchdowns against the Eagles in a win at Lincoln Financial Field.

The Bucs boasts a ton of first-string offensive weapons other than Winston with receivers Mike Evans and Vincent Jackson, tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins, and running backs Doug Martin and Charles Sims.

Defensively, many are excited for the debut of the Bucs’ 11th overall pick cornerback Vernon Hargreaves, who has been taking some first-string snaps during practice.

First look for the game: Both teams will be displaying new styles, systems, and coaching techniques on Thursday night.

While the starters are expected to play for both teams, it shouldn’t be for too long. In preseason game No. 1, the key is to stay healthy.

Early line (via Eagles -3 vs. Bucs

Thursday, August 11th 7:00 p.m. – Bucs at Eagles @ Lincoln Financial Field

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