5 matchups to watch as Eagles host Lions in Week 3

5 matchups to watch as Eagles host Lions in Week 3

The Eagles (1-1) welcome the Lions (1-0-1) to the Linc this Sunday for a 1 o’clock game.

In Week 1, the Lions blew an early lead and let the Cardinals come back and tie them. In Week 2, they beat the Chargers 13-10. So it’s a little hard to figure out exactly what the Lions are.

But the Eagles certainly can’t take them lightly.

The Eagles host the Lions on Sunday, but then have to fly to Green Bay on a short week to play the undefeated Packers on Thursday Night Football. That makes this Lions game so important.

Here are five matchups to watch: 

Taylor Decker? vs. Derek Barnett 

The Lions’ left tackle missed the game against the Chargers last week with a back injury and Tyrell Crosby played in his place. That came after Decker struggled in Week 1, when he gave up two sacks and was called for four penalties.

So whether or not he’s playing this week, Derek Barnett should have a decided advantage against the left tackle. Barnett has actually gotten plenty of pressure so far this season, even though he doesn’t have a sack. Barnett has six QB hits to lead the Eagles and rank him second in the NFL behind just Myles Garrett.

But no Eagles defensive end has picked up a sack through two games. Getting a big play or two on Sunday would really help.

Lions’ WRs vs. Eagles’ CBs

The Lions’ have a nice trio of receivers that’s probably underrated: Kenny Golladay, Marvin Jones and Danny Amendola in the slot. Meanwhile, this Eagles’ secondary has given up 680 passing yards in two games, their second-most ever surrendered after two games. The secondary, as always, is tied to the pass rush, so if the Eagles can’t get pressure on Matthew Stafford, the veteran quarterback has the weapons to do some damage.

T.J. Hockenson vs. Malcolm Jenkins

The tight end from Iowa was the eighth overall pick in April and is off to a good start. While he had just one catch for seven yards in Week 2, he caught six for 131 and a touchdown in the opener. So he’s definitely talented. The Eagles would prefer to have Jenkins cover Hockenson, but that doesn’t always happen. It’ll be a team effort with the linebackers too.

Nelson Agholor vs. Justin Coleman

The Eagles will come into this game with their top two receivers banged up. This might lead to situations where Agholor has to play inside and outside this week. But when the Eagles are in 11 personnel — and it would be hard to run 12 without Dallas Goedert — Agholor will be in his typical slot position. That means going against Justin Coleman, whom the Lions made the highest-paid nickel corner in the league this offseason. It’s also a big game for Agholor because he dropped what would have been a game-winning touchdown last week. He needs to bounce back.

Brandon Brooks vs. Damon Harrison

You know all about Snacks Harrison from his years with the Giants, but he’s still a good and powerful player. He often lines up on the left side of the line and over center quite a bit. Seeing two of the strongest people in the building going up against each other for 60 minutes should be fun to watch.

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Report: Jordan Howard expected to miss Eagles-Patriots Week 11 game with injury

Report: Jordan Howard expected to miss Eagles-Patriots Week 11 game with injury

Eagles leading rusher Jordan Howard is not expected to play Sunday as he deals with a shoulder injury, according to a report by ESPN's Adam Schefter.

The Eagles have officially listed Howard as questionable for the team's Super Bowl rematch Sunday afternoon against the Patriots at the Linc.

Howard suffered a stinger in the Eagles’ win on Nov. 3 against the Bears, his former team.

That means Jay Ajayi, who the Eagles re-signed on Friday, should be active for the first time in over a year and will likely have a role.

Howard, in his first year with the Eagles, has 525 rushing yards, a 4.4 average and seven touchdowns, including one receiving. 

Since Week 4, Howard has been the 13th-leading rusher in the NFL, averaging 71 yards per game and 4.5 yards per carry.

Howard was limited in practice during the week and head coach Doug Pederson said Friday he had not been cleared for contact, which left him with a remote chance to be active on Sunday.

Howard has never missed a game because of injury. He didn’t play in the Bears' 2016 opener against the Texans — opening day of his rookie year — but he did dress for the game and was active, he just didn’t get onto the field.

Since then, he’s played in 57 of a possible 57 games.

Howard has the second-most rushing yards in the NFL since 2016 behind only Ezekiel Elliott of the Cowboys.

The Eagles are already down two running backs. Super Bowl hero Corey Clement is on Injured Reserve with a shoulder injury and Darren Sproles joined him on Injured Reserve this week with a season-ending quad injury.

The Eagles will go into Sunday with Miles Sanders, Ajayi and Boston Scott. They also have a rookie, De’Angelo Henderson, on the practice squad.

Sanders, after a slow start, is averaging 4.4 yards per carry on 76 for 336 and has 22 catches for 305 yards.

Ajayi, acquired by the Eagles from the Dolphins midway through the 2017 Super Bowl season, hasn’t played since injuring his knee in a game against the Vikings on Oct. 7 of last year.

Ajayi has battled knee injuries most of his career but his 4.5 career average is fifth best in the NFL since 2015 among running backs with at least 500 carries.

Scott has 16 carries for 68 yards, a 4.3 average in limited duty.

The Eagles have averaged 141 rushing yards in their last six games. The Patriots are allowing an NFL-worst 5.6 yards per carry over their last six games.

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Eagles send high-ranking official to Colin Kaepernick’s workout

Eagles send high-ranking official to Colin Kaepernick’s workout

According to those who attended Colin Kaepernick’s workout in Atlanta on Saturday, the Eagles were well represented.

The Eagles could have sent a regional or a low level scout to watch Kaepernick, but instead, they sent vice president of football operations Andrew Berry, which seems noteworthy.

On Friday, head coach Doug Pederson was asked if the Eagles would be in attendance at the workout.

“I would assume that we would,” Pederson said. “Obviously for us, we're in season so I can't be there. I’m comfortable with the guys we have, but I'm assuming that we would have somebody there.”

Pederson might be comfortable with the quarterbacks the Eagles have now, but it makes sense that the Eagles would at least take a look at Kaepernick. While Carson Wentz will be in Philly for a long time, his backups — Josh McCown and Nate Sudfeld — are both set to be unrestricted free agents after this season is up.

McCown will be 41 at the beginning of the 2020 season and Sudfeld has attempted just 25 career passes. The Eagles also have Kyle Lauletta on their practice squad.

Philadelphia, more than any other NFL city, should realize how important the backup quarterback position can be. Sure, maybe Kaepernick gets a crack at a starting job, but after three years out of the league, that’s certainly not a given. And the Eagles, with their progressive owner, might just be willing to sign Kaepernick despite potential backlash. Or maybe this leads nowhere.

Despite a last-minute move to a location 60 miles away from the Falcons’ facility, Berry and a few representatives from other NFL teams still made it to the workout.

The whole workout on Saturday was seemingly thrown together hastily and was organized by two sides that clearly have a contentious relationship. There were plenty of issues between them, including ones about the liability waiver, media availability and video footage. The move happened 15 minutes before the workout was scheduled to happen.

After the workout, Kaepernick explained why the move happened:

The NFL on Saturday released a statement saying it was “disappointed that Colin did not appear for his workout.” He didn’t appear for the workout at the Falcons’ facility, but the 32-year-old quarterback did appear at the high school sight in Georgia and apparently looked good.

The Eagles pride themselves on searching everywhere for talent and evaluating all options. Kaepernick is certainly an option. Of course, there’s a lot more to the Kaepernick story than a former Pro Bowl quarterback looking for a new team. The NFL in February settled a collusion grievance with Kaepernick and his former teammate Eric Reid. And Kaepernick hasn’t played since 2016, claiming collusion after he began a series of protests over social and racial injustice in the United States. He famously kneeled during the national anthem before games.

It’ll be interesting to see if this workout leads anywhere for Kaepernick or if the Eagles would actually pursue him. For the rest of this season, the Eagles are in a good spot when it comes to the quarterback position, but when this year is over, it’s more questionable. That’s probably why they looked at Kaepernick today.

Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.

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