PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The Philadelphia Eagles are getting back to work following the bye week and their first test will be the New England Patriots. That “Evil Empire” has ruled over the National Football League for 20 years, however, the Eagles are one of the only teams to take them down over that time.
So Sunday will be a benchmark game for the Eagles.
For rookie running back, Miles Sanders can’t wait to see what Patriots quarterback Tom Brady does in person.
“You know I’ll still be star-struck out there,” Sanders told reporters.
He has not figured out what he will say to Brady yet but he knows everyone has this game circled.
“They’re 8-1, one of the best teams in the league, so if we want to be established as one of the best teams in the league, we have to go through games like this,” Sanders said.
The Eagles coaching staff watched Super Bowl 52 during the bye week, looking for any sort of edge and refresh what they have already put on tape. During this matchup, fans will see something new.
“It’s a little bit different when 87 [Rob Gronkowski] is not out there, that looks a bit different for them but they have some continuity at the running back position,” defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz said. “They’ve been a winning team regardless of who’s been out there so that’s what the challenge is.”
With DeSean Jackson out for the rest of the regular season, the Birds’ underwhelming receiving corps hopes it can be helped by turning back the clock with Jordan Matthews back for the third time.
The receiver says he is coming in to do exactly what he did a year ago.
“We need you to come in, immediately produce. That’s just what I do when the opportunity is there, I just try and work hard and go out there and make a play,” Matthews said.
He never lost touch with guys like Carson Wentz and Zach Ertz. Then, when the call came in, he could not hold back.
“I was just so happy, I can’t even explain. I picked up my son and ran around the house,” he said.
Coming into this time with the Eagles, Matthews says he is faster and better and his offensive coordinator agrees.
“Every year I’m looking for things to add to my game and I think my best years are ahead of me,” Matthews said.
“The guy has made a lot of plays for the Eagles over the years. He’s got excellent football intelligence, he knows our system and has familiarity there,” offensive coordinator Mike Groh said.
Groh added that it will be all pedal and no brake for Matthews as he knows the offense and the quarterback.