Rothman’s First Look
Week 8 – 10/26/14 – @ Arizona Cardinals
by Andrew Porter
First Look at the Eagles: The Eagles are 5-1 coming off their week 7 bye, as they look to get healthy for the last ten games of the season. The Eagles went into the bye on a two-game win streak. They’ve scored 27 points or more in every game this season, except for one, a 26-21 loss at San Francisco.
Philly hopes to get linebacker Mychal Kendricks back on the field. Kendricks has missed the last four games with a calf injury. In the backfield, Chris Polk is recovering from a hamstring injury and Darren Sproles sprained his MCL in the Eagles’ week 6 win over the Giants, leaving the Birds with major question marks in the backfield. Offensive lineman Evan Mathis (sprained MLC) and Jason Kelce (sports hernia surgery) continue to rehab, although both are not expected to play this week.
First Look at the Cardinals: While the Eagles (5-1) are one of the hottest teams in football, the Cardinals, also 5-1, are right there with them. The Cards head into their week 8 matchup with the Birds on a two-game win streak of their own. Their only loss came at Denver and the Cardinals currently sit in first place in a tough NFC West division.
Quarterback Carson Palmer returned from injury two weeks ago against the Redskins and is 2-0, beating the Redskins and Raiders. Palmer has 503 passing yards, four TDs, and one interception in those two wins.
First Look at the game: The Cardinals (5-1) host the Eagles (5-1) on Sunday afternoon at 4:05pm E.T.
The Cardinals’ stingy defense enters week 8 as the eighth ranked defense and is fifth best in points allowed per game (19.8). On the flip side, they will face an Eagles offense that is third in the NFL, scoring 30.5 points per game. Something’s got to give, as they say.
The turnover battle will be crucial in this matchup. The Cards are third in the NFL with a plus-seven turnover differential, while the Eagles are an incomprehensible minus-five for a 5-1 team, fifth worst in the NFL.
Week 7 – BYE
Week 6 – 10/12/14 – vs. New York Giants
by Andrew Porter
First Look at the Eagles: The Eagles are coming off a 34-28 win over the Rams, but it wasn’t pretty. Despite holding a 27-point lead late in the third quarter, the Rams had the ball with a chance to win the game on their final drive. Although they came up short and the Eagles ultimately improved to 4-1, there are alarming aspects of the game that is concerning.
Nick Foles threw his fifth interception and lost his third fumble on Sunday. In addition, he was sporadic throughout the game, often throwing difficult passes off his back foot into traffic.
LeSean McCoy, the Eagles most explosive offensive threat and the reigning NFL rushing champ, had 81 yards on 24 carries. Through five games, Shady has just 273 yards rushing and one touchdown, averaging just under three yards per carry.
Defensively, the Eagles continue to be solid up-front, tallying four sacks for the second-straight game. However, the secondary has been well below average, especially corners Bradley Fletcher and Cary Williams.
First Look at the Giants: After an 0-2 start, the G-Men are suddenly 3-2 after three straight impressive wins.
The Giants handled the Falcons 30-20 at home in week 5, as they continue to display their slew of offensive weapons. Rookie WR Odell Beckham Jr. made his NFL debut catching four balls for 44 yards and a touchdown. In week 4, the Giants’ TE Larry Donnell caught three touchdowns.
Eli Manning has been brilliant in his previous three games. Against the Falcons, he was 19-30 for 200 yards and two touchdowns. He has eight touchdowns to one interception over that three game span.
On the ground, the Giants have a two-headed monster with Rashad Jennings and Andre Williams. Defensively, the Giants lead the NFL in interceptions with eight and are tied for fourth in the NFL in takeaways with 10.
First Look at the game: The 3-2 Giants come to Lincoln Financial Field in South Philadelphia to face the 4-1 Eagles on Sunday night in a primetime NFC East battle.
This divisional rivalry always brings the best out of the players, coaches, and fans, and this one is sure to be a nail-bitter. The Giants come into the game hot, winners of their last three contests, while the Eagles enter week six facing various offensive question marks despite their impressive 4-1 record.
Week 5 – 10/5/14 – vs. St. Louis Rams
by Andrew Porter
First look at the Eagles: The Eagles are coming off a devastating 26-21 loss in San Francisco against the 49ers, falling to 3-1 on the season.
The Eagles had the ball 3rd and goal on the SF 1-yard line with two minutes left in the game and failed to score the go-ahead touchdowns, as Nick Foles threw two straight incomplete passes. Behind an offensive line that was missing three of its five starters, the Eagles rushed for only 22 yards on 12 carries. LeSean McCoy had 10 carries for an abysmal 17 yards.
The Eagles got two touchdowns from the special teams unit—a blocked punt for a touchdown by Trey Burton and a punt return touchdown by Darren Sproles.
First look at the Rams: The 1-2 Rams are coming off a bye week after blowing a 21-0 lead in their week 3 loss against the Cowboys.
The Rams’ quarterbacks Austin Davis, who is playing for the injured Sam Bradford, had his best game of the season in week 3 throwing for 327 yards and three touchdowns. The Rams’ most dynamic playmaker is RB Zac Stacy.
First look at the game: The Eagles host the Rams Sunday at 1:00pm, coming off a tough road loss while the Rams are coming off a bye. St. Louis enters 1-2, allowing 155 rushing yards per game, third worst in the NFL. However, offensively the Eagles are 26th in the NFL averaging only 87 yards rushing per game, as they have been dealing with an injured offensive line all season long.
The Eagles will be the considerable favorite at home, as they look to improve to 4-1 on the season.
Week 4 – 9/28/14 – @ San Francisco 49ers
by Andrew Porter
First Look At The Eagles: The Eagles became the first team to erase three straight double-digit deficits to win three straight games in NFL history on Sunday. They enter week 4 as only one of three teams still unbeaten (3-0).
It was a drama filled divisional battle, but ultimately the Eagles edged out the Redskins 37-34 behind their leader Nick Foles. Foles was blind-sided by Redskins defensive lineman Chris Baker late in the game. Jason Peters, sticking up for his quarterback, went after Baker immediately and both Baker and Peters were ejected.
Foles finished the game 27-41, 325 yards, three touchdowns and no turnovers. Jeremy Maclin and Jordan Matthews each caught eight balls, combining for three touchdown receptions between the two of them, Matthews with two of them.
On the ground, the Eagles were stifled as McCoy only had 22 yards on 19 carries. Center Jason Kelce left the game in the first half with an abdomen injury, to go along with the Peters suspension, depleting the Eagles’ offensive line.
Defensively, Kirk Cousins and the Redskins racked up 427 yards through the air. DeSean Jackson had five catches for 117 yards, including a 81-yard touchdown in his return to Philly. While neither team was able to record a sack, Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins came up with a huge fourth quarter interception for the second week in a row.
First Look At The 49ers: The 49ers are coming off a disappointing 24-20 loss, as they were upset by the Cardinals in Arizona in week 3. The 49ers fell 1-2 on the season.
It was evenly matched for the most part as the Cardinals finished with only 20 more total yards than the Niners (338 to 318). However, the Cardinals were better late, out-scoring the 49ers 17-0 in the second-half. Nine penalties totaling 107 yards hurt the Niners.
The 49ers’ scariest weapon Colin Kapernick completed 29 of 37 passes for 245 yards and a touchdown and ran for another 54 in the loss, while Frank Gore tallied a measly 10 yards on six carries. Niners tight end Vernon Davis did not play (left ankle).
A banged up 49ers defense gave up 244 yards passing and two touchdowns to the inexperienced Drew Stanton. The Cardinals had one sack, while the Niners had none.
First Look At The Game: The Niners are reeling following two straight losses at home against the Bears at the Cardinals, while the Eagles go into San Fran with a ton of momentum as one of the league’s three 3-0 teams.
The Eagles enter week 3 as the sixth best offense in the NFL, second-best in terms of points per game (33.7). On the flip side, the Niners are the 19th ranked offense and tied for 20th in terms of points per game (20.7).
However, the Niners are among the best defensive teams in the NFL (8th in yards allowed), despite injuries to some key players. It will be a true test for the Eagles on the road against a tough, angry 49ers team that does not want to fall to 1-3.
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.
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.