Week 9 of the NFL is upon us and for the Eagles, a home stand against the Denver Broncos is what stands between them and an 8-1 record. While the quarterback situation is anything but stable, their transcendent defense could pose more than a few problems for the Eagles offense. Here are five matchups to keep an eye on this weekend.
Eagles wideouts vs Broncos cornerbacks
So far the Eagles wideouts have enjoyed a surprisingly successful season. Headlined by Nelson Agholor’s five touchdown year, the likes of Alshon Jeffery and Torrey Smith have helped open up the passing attack for Carson Wentz. They’ll face a tumultuous task in one of the league’s most feared cornerback groups this weekend however.
Chris Harris Jr, Bradley Roby, and Aqib Talib make up one of the best man-coverage outfits in the league. So far, the route-running of Nelson Agholor has allowed him to run riot, while Alshon Jeffery and Torrey Smith have both taken the tops off of defenses. But with a physical starting trio who are all more than willing to jam at the line and disrupt routes, it will be a game of mental composure and patience for wide receivers that may not be used to facing such tight coverage.
Big v vs Pro Bowl V
Von Miller roles into town with seven sacks on his back this season so far. His assignment? Backup left tackle Halapoulivaati Vaitai. (In depth breakdown below)
Vaitai has looked relatively impressive in the limited action he’s seen so far, but coming up against arguably the most polished linebacker in the league has the potential to give the TCU product nightmares. Keeping Wentz upright may not be the poigniant issue here, but opening the run could be more than problematic if Miller gets his way.
Brock Osweiler vs Eagles pass rush
The Broncos named debatably the league’s most overpaid quarterback as their starter this weekend. Osweiler has only completed 2 passes for Denver since rejoining the team and his inconsistencies have long been documented. This bodes well for one of the NFL’s most lethal pass rushes
The Broncos offensive front has allowed 25 sacks this season and the Eagles are one massive wrecking ball at this stage. With Fletcher Cox and Timmy Jernigan headlining the inside pass-rush, the emergence of Derek Barnett and the support of the outside rotation has helped the Eagles defense become a force to be reckoned with. Blowing up the run each and every week, this is a pass-rush that can marginalize any mobile quarterback into a collapsing pocket…and with Brock Osweiler’s tendencies, the Eagles will be licking their lips with the potential of a big day of sacks ahead.
C.J Anderson vs Eagles linebackers
The Eagles are missing linebacker Jordan Hicks and even though Mychal Kendricks has exceeded expectations in his place thus far, his lack of coverage ability could carve an opening for C.J Anderson.
Anderson has 469 yards on the ground this year and 91 yards through the air. Joe Walker and Najee Goode are going to be tested with Denver likely not wanting to pile pressure on their newly named starter, expect a heavy rushing effort from the Broncos and a heavy focus on the Eagles linebackers who despite a strong performance, wavered occasionally against the Niners.
Demaryius Thomas vs Jalen Mills
Jalen Mills was recently named the NFC Defensive player of the month and while thoroughly deserving of the accolade, he now faces yet another big name receiver in Demaryius Thomas. Leading the Broncos in receiving yards with 455, he also has 9 receptions of 25 yards or more.
So far, the Eagles have been extremely disciplined in the secondary and have played in off-coverage to help keep receivers at bay and that is going to have to be the priority to keep Thomas at bay once again.
Mills has done more than hold his own when it comes to keeping number one wideouts contained and this is the latest in a long line of challenges that the Green Goblin will look to overcome.
Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports