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Rothman’s First Look

Week 3 – 9/21/14 – vs. Washington Redskins

by Andrew Porter

First Look At The Eagles: The Eagles have led for less than seven of 120 minutes in their first two games of the season, but they’re 2-0, becoming the first team in NFL history to comeback from two straight 10-plus point deficits to open a season.

The Eagles are coming off an emotional 30-27 win over the Colts, the biggest win of Chip Kelly’s NFL coaching career. While the receivers struggled, running back Darren Sproles—a new addition the Eagles’ acquired in the offseason from the Saints for a fifth-round draft pick—racked up 152 receiving yards against the Colts.

Defensively, the Eagles uncharacteristically allowed 169 yards rushing on 38 carries, but impressively shutdown Andrew Luck and the Colts’ dangerous passing attack. Luck finished just 20-34 for 172 yards, three touchdowns, and one crucial interception late in the game to Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins.

Rookie kicker Cody Parkey drilled the game-winning 36-yard field goal as time expired.

First Look At The Redskins: The Redskins are coming off a dominating 41-10 blowout win over the Jaguars improving to 1-1 on the season, but not without some significant injuries.

Quarterback Robert Griffin III left the game early with a dislocated ankle and it looks like he will miss significant time. Former Eagles, now Redskins, wide receiver DeSean Jackson suffered a sprained AC joint in his shoulder and his status is uncertain.

Kirk Cousins replaced RGIII at quarterback and was excellent, finishing 22-33 for 250 yards and two touchdowns.

Defensively, the Skins allowed just 148 total yards against a bad Jaguars offense.

First Look At The Game: Former Eagles wideout DeSean Jackson makes his return to Philadelphia with Washington on Sunday afternoon at Lincoln Financial. In this divisional rivalry, it is expected to be an intense and emotional game.

The Eagles were 2-0 against the Redskins last season under Chip Kelly, but have yet to face QB Kirk Cousins who will make his first start of the season on Sunday.

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Week 2 – 9/15/14 – @ Indianapolis Colts

by Andrew Porter

First Look At The Eagles: It was a tale of two halves for Nick Foles and the Eagles against the Jaguars on Sunday. After falling behind 17-0 in the first half, in large part to three turnovers by Foles, the Eagles fought back to score 34 unanswered second-half points, en route to a 34-17 win and a 1-0 start.

Darren Sproles shined in his first game as an Eagle, igniting the team with a 49-yard 4th and 1 touchdown run. Defensively, the Eagles held the Jags to 2-14 on third downs, including an 0-9 stretch at one point. Individually, Mychal Kendricks lead the team with six tackles, a sack, and a pass deflected, while Brandon Graham had an impressive four tackles of his own.

First Look At The Colts: The Colts are coming off a comeback effort of their own, except unlike the Birds, the Colts fell just short and couldn’t pull off the win. Opening the season on Sunday night at Denver against Peyton Manning and the defending AFC Champs is no easy task. Falling behind 24-0 in the first half, just made matters worse. To their credit, Andrew Luck and the Colts fought back, but ultimately lost 31-24 in their season opener.

While the Colts offense produced over 400 yards of total offense, only 54 of them came on the ground. Also, their offensive line allowed three sacks, and Luck committed two turnovers. Reggie Wayne caught nine balls for 98 yards in his first game back after suffering an ACL injury last season.

Defensively, the Colts were picked apart early by the reigning NFL MVP Peyton Manning.

First Look At The Game: The Eagles will travel to Indianapolis to take on the Colts on Monday Night Football in week 2. Expect the Birds to be slight underdogs in a hostile environment, as the Colts look to avoid starting the season 0-2.

The Eagles head into the game uncertain about their offensive line, after All-Pro left guard Evan Mathis and right tackle Allen Barbre both left Sunday’s victory with injuries and reserve Matt Tobin was inactive after getting banged up in the club’s final preseason game.

Colts defensive end Robert Mathis continues to serve his four game suspension to start the season.

 

Week 1 – 9/7/14 – vs. Jacksonville Jaguars

by Andrew Porter

First Look At The Eagles: The Eagles head into the 2014 season with high expectations, under second-year head coach Chip Kelly. Kelly, shockingly, lead the Eagles to a 10-6 record and a NFC East division title in his first NFL season.

On offense, quarterback Nick Foles enters the season as the clear-cut starter for the first time in his young career, after throwing 27 touchdowns and only two interceptions in 2013. While Foles has lost his most explosive wideout in DeSean Jackson (released), the Eagles have added all-purpose scat back Darren Sproles (acquired from New Orleans), rookie receiver Jordan Matthews, and Jeremy Maclin—who is back from injury.

And I didn’t even mention the reigning NFL rushing champ LeSean McCoy, nor the talented 6’5” tight-ends Zach Ertz and Brent Celek.

On defense, the Eagles will begin their second straight campaign under Billy Davis’ and his 3-4 scheme. Key acquisitions include safety Malcolm Jenkins and rookie outside linebacker Marcus Smith.

First Look At The Jaguars: The Jags enter the 2014 season coming off a putrid 4-12 season under their own first-year head coach, Gus Bradley.

The Jags drafted quarterback Blake Bortles from the University of Central Florida, with the third overall pick. Bortles has been excellent in preseason, but the Jags have yet to announce whether they will go with him or Chad Henne against the Birds.

In the offseason, the Jags lost their most talented offensive player in Maurice Jones-Drew, but signed former Vikings back-up back Toby Gerhart to replace him. At receiver, the Jags drafted former USC WR Marqise Lee and former Penn State WR Allen Robinson, to go along with veterans WR Cecil Shorts and TE Mercedes Lewis.

On defense, the Jags look to improve after giving up 28.1 points per game in 2013.

How? They’ve added two Super Bowl champion defensive ends this offseason, in Chris Clemons and Red Bryant, as well as former Bucs LB Dekoda Watson, to bolster their pass rush. The Jaguars’ 31 sacks in 2013 was tied for worst in all of football.

First Look At The Game: This is expected to be the most lopsided NFL game of week, if you ask Vegas. The Eagles are 10.5 point favorites according to Sportsbook.ag, and at home, so they should be able to handle the Jags.

The matchup to keep an eye on is the Eagles’ offensive line against the new and improved Jaguars pass rush. With Eagles second-year offensive lineman Lane Johnson suspended for the first four-games of the season (performance enhancing drugs), Allen Barbre will have to step in fill the void at right-tackle. Allen will be tested right off the bat against Clemons, Bryant, and the Jags.

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