By Kevin McGuire
After a stunning win on the road against the New England Patriots, the Philadelphia Eagles prepare to return home and give a not-so-warm welcome to a former teammate. Running back LeSean McCoy returns to Philadelphia for the first time since being traded to the Buffalo Bills in the offseason, and he will be looking for a big game on the ground to prove Chip Kelly made a bad decision to trade him away.READ MORE: Philadelphia Weather: Winter Weather Advisory In Effect For Philadelphia, Lehigh Valley As Snow Moves In
After scoring a 30-21 against the Houston Texans on Sunday, Buffalo evened their record at 6-6 this season. The Bills and Eagles have split the all-time series between the two, with each franchise owning six wins dating back to 1973. The two teams last played in 2011, with the Bills picking up a 31-24 victory. Eagles quarterback Mike Vick was intercepted four times and McCoy—then an Eagles running back—rushed for 8 yards and a touchdown.
Bills on Offense
Former Eagles running back LeSean McCoy hasn’t exactly been putting up the big numbers he may like, but at least he’s having a more productive season than the man who replaced him in Philadelphia, DeMarco Murray. McCoy has just three 100-yard games this season, including this past week when he went for 112 yards against the Texans. He has also rushed for just three touchdowns this season. Still, the Bills have the NFL’s fourth-best rushing offense this season, averaging 140.9 yards per game. The passing game is among the worst in the NFL, ranked 29th in the league with Tyrod Taylor taking over as the starting quarterback this season.
Bills on DefenseREAD MORE: Danial Moore, Hero Pilot In Drexel Hill Medical Helicopter Crash, Released From Philadelphia Hospital
With the Eagles still trying to get in a rhythm on offense, Buffalo may not be the best possible opponent to get things ironed out. The Bills are 14th in the NFL against the run, allowing 104 rushing yards per game. With the way the Eagles have been running the football, it could be hit-or-miss against the Bills on Sunday afternoon. The Bills pass defense is about the same as the Eagles, but there should be pressure on Sam Bradford. Buffalo has sacked opposing quarterbacks 31 times this season, but they also only have seven interceptions this season, so the Bills will be more likely to bring Bradford down than they will be picking him off. One thing Buffalo does particularly well is force fumbles. The Bills lead the NFL in forced fumbles (18) but have recovered just seven of those loose footballs.
Buffalo’s Players to Watch
WR Sammy Watkins: The 2014 first-round draft pick out of Clemson has caught 34 passes for 635 yards and six touchdowns this season. He can make big plays happen at any moment with his speed. Last week against Houston he caught three passes for 109 yards and a touchdown.
DE Jerry Hughes: The Bills are racking up sacks this season, and nobody on the Bills has more sacks than Jerry Hughes. Hughes added one more sack to his season total last week against Houston as he continues to bring pressure on the one side of the defensive line.
If one thing has been learned this season about the 2015 Philadelphia Eagles, it is that no game should be considered an easy win. The Eagles have already lost to teams less formidable than the Bills, and LeSean McCoy will be looking for a bit of a statement game in his return to The Linc. The Eagles will go out to make sure that doesn’t happen, but the Bills have a defense adequate enough to slow down a scuffling Eagles offense. If the Eagles can avoid hurting themselves, they can make it two in a row for the second time this season, but that will not come easily.MORE NEWS: Ex-Bordentown Police Chief Frank Nucera, Jr. Granted Delay On Reporting To Prison
Kevin McGuire is a Philadelphia area sports writer covering the Philadelphia Eagles and college football. McGuire is a member of the FWAA and National Football Foundation. Follow McGuire on Twitter @KevinOnCFB. His work can be found on Examiner.com.