Week 3 game preview: Eagles vs Bengals
25 September 2020 Uncategorized
It occurred to me this morning that the NFL schedule moves so quick once you dive into the regular season. Like, the rest of the year moves at its own pace, but once it’s football time, then BANG! The time moves by lightning-quick. I can’t believe that we’re already three weeks in, and it already feels like half of the league has been decimated by injury. This obviously isn’t accurate, but there were a LOT of injuries last week, a bunch of which were season-ending.
Anyways, your Philadelphia Eagles play the Cincinnati Bengals this week, and everyone is wondering when the first win of the season will come for the Birds. There’s a big hope that they right the ship this week against a very beatable Bengals team, and we here at 4th and Jawn are hoping right alongside of you guys. Let’s dive into it.
Eagles vs. Bengals Game Analysis:
Against the Rams last week, the Eagles fell behind very quickly, at one point down 21-3 early in the second quarter. They battled back to trail 21-16 at halftime, but the damage was already done, and they never got close again. The good news was that outside of a somewhat minor oblique injury for Fletcher Cox and a IR injury for Isaac Seumalo, the Eagles avoided the huge injury bug that affected the league.
The line is currently at -4.5 Eagles, though it is down from where it started at -6, and the over/under is 46. The Eagles match up well against Cincy, with Miles Sanders being primed for a huge game against the Bengals 31st ranked run defense that allows 185 rush yards a game. As far as the passing game goes, Carson Wentz no doubt will have to be better than he has been the first two weeks. With Jalen Reagor out for the foreseeable future due to a UCL tear in his thumb, the Birds have to rely on their two tight ends and DeSean Jackson to pump out the yards in the passing game.
Keys to the Game:
~Let Miles Sanders loose: As stated above, Miles is primed for a major stats week in this game. Boston Scott hasn’t looked great while battling a couple injuries, so this is the Sanders Show. He had 131 scrimmage yards last week against the Rams, and that was with the Eagles down early. He could get some room to run in this game, as the Bengals give up a ton of room on the ground and their defensive front has been hit by injuries.
~Minimize the offensive blunders: A big part of why the Eagles are 0-2 right now is because the offense continues to make unforced errors that they simply should not be making. Wentz has the highest number of off-target throws this year (20) because he seems to be trying to make too much happen on his own and is missing throws, badly in some cases like the endzone interception he threw last week on 1st down trying to hit JJ Arcega-Whiteside. He needs to cut these throws out of his arsenal and return to his previous form from past years.
~Force some turnovers: this is a huge thing. This is a hard-hitting football team with the ability to jar the ball loose, and we’ve seen them do just that in recent years. So far this year, they’ve failed at this, with only one turnover all year. The team has to get aggressive against a rookie QB in Joe Burrow and a not-so-great offensive line and force the ball out of these guys’ hands in order to win this game. The season will be a long one otherwise.
3 Key Players for Philly:
Brandon Graham: Graham has one sack and two tackles for loss on the year, but has otherwise been pretty quiet for one of the leaders of this defense. As stated, Cincinnati has a weak offensive line, and Graham should be ready to take full advantage of the opportunity that he has this weekend to inflict some damage.
Darius Slay: I have a feeling that Slay will shadow A.J. Green for the majority of this game, so he needs to be on his best against one of the greatest receivers this decade. Green’s best days may be behind him as injuries have slowed him down, but he is no less dangerous and needs to be contained.
John Hightower: A possible coming out party for the young rookie? One could be coming this weekend. The Bengals havean entirely beatable secondary, and speedy receiver Hightower will get some increased work this weekend with the news that Jalen Reagor is going to be sidelined for at least three weeks with his UCL injury. That means it’s time for Hightower to step up. Wentz has given him a few looks so far, unfortunately one of them ended up being an interception but Hightower knows he has to step up. A look below at some of his highlights from Boise State, we could see a lot of Hightower on Sunday.
So far I am 0-2 both straight up and against the spread, so I’d like to change that this week. The Eagles need to man up and start to control these football games like we know they can. The season gets exponentially tougher from here, with Pittsburgh, San Fran, and Baltimore all on the docket coming up soon, and they need to at least be competitive in those games. I think this is a good get right spot for them with a Cincinnati team that isn’t that great on either side of the ball with a rookie quarterback, so I am going to roll with the Eagles and the points here.
As always, feel free to drop me a follow on Twitter, the handle is @swagman95.
Photo Credit: Getty Images