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Rothman’s First Look

rothmanfirstlook header Rothmans First Look

 By Andrew Porter

 

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 VegasInsider.com): 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 VegasInsider.com): 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 VegasInsider.com): 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 VegasInsider.com): 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 VegasInsider.com): 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 VegasInsider.com): Eagles -3 vs. Bucs

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

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