5 players to watch for in the Eagles clash against the Jaguars

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Eagles
Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver A.J. Brown (11) and quarterback Jalen Hurts (1) celebrating their touchdown against the Washington Commanders during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Sept. 25, 2022, in Landover, Md. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

The Eagles are heading into a critical matchup against the Jacksonville Jaguars. Not only is Doug Pederson returning for the first time since being fired by the Eagles but he has the Jaguars looking like a more competent team this season. Jacksonville has been playing sound football as of late and could pose as a test for the Eagles to see how good Philly is.

Ever since the week 1 debacle against the Lions, the Eagles’ defense has held opposing teams to only 6 points. While Jacksonville resembles a feisty young team that’s trying to prove themselves like the Lions, the Eagles will have to buckle down and handle their business. For them to do so then there will have to be certain players that stand out this Sunday. 

Here as five players to watch in the Eagles vs Jags matchup:

Miles Sanders

It’s not secret the running game has been reliant on the ability of Jalen Hurts this season. While Hurts does hold the fate of the run game in the team’s RPO sets, the Eagles running backs haven’t done much to make the most of their opportunities. 

Miles Sanders has ran for 222 rushing yards on the season and it’s averaging 74 per game but I’ve noticed that the team’s rushing numbers have decreased as Hurts has rushed less himself. In week 1, Sanders ran for 96 yards, then in week 2, he ran for 80 yards but in week 3, he only ran for 46 yards. He had 17 carries in week 2 and 15 in week 3.

The Eagles are going to need their run game to find its groove if the team is truly going to contend. This will be the matchup for them to get right. It won’t be easy as the Jaguars are first in the league against the run and have only allowed 165 rushing yards on the season. 

Chauncey Gardner-Johnson

The next two on my list will seem repetitive but are fairly different. With Avonte Maddox out many are expecting to see CJGJ in the slot which would leave either Blankenship or Wallace manning the safety position more. Switching to the big nickel package against this Jaguars team could expose a weakness for the defense which is safety depth. 

Chauncey has done extremely well as the team’s starting safety. His speed and reaction time has been operating at a high level for the Eagles so far. I would hate to see that falter due to the need of having him play nickel in the absence of Avonte Maddox.

Josiah Scott

Josiah Scott has only played 9 snaps on defense this season. In those 9 snaps, he has not been targeted by opposing QBs. So there isn’t much to go off in explaining why he may be manning the slot for the Eagles on Sunday. But there is the fact that they brought in Scott last season for this very reason.

He also beat out a lot of the young guys over the offseason with the favor of the coaching staff. Scott could end up being a weakness if he isn’t prepared but it may make more sense to have Scott in over CJGJ. The Eagles have been able to contain the long ball with CJGJ and Epps over the top. It seems that Philly may have to choose their poison. 

A.J. Brown

It’s going to be a rainy day in Philadelphia which means the ball is going to be as slippery as can be. The Eagles may want to attack the short to the mid-passing game which means it could be a big day for A.J. Brown. Jalen Hurts will want his WR1 to have the ball in his hands more often than not due to the trust factor that they both have in each other.

The Jaguars also rank 21st in the league in yards allowed in the passing game. They also rank 16th in the league in touchdowns allowed through the air. With the run defense being a strength for Jacksonville, I would expect the Eagles to rely more on the passing attack if the run game falters.

Jalen Hurts

He’s on a tear this season and doesn’t look like he’ll be slowing down anytime soon. But my curiosity lies in how the weather will affect his game on Sunday. Hurts will be in full control of this game as no one will know how the rain can alter his game. Will he rely on his legs more often than not? Or does he keep himself inside of the pocket and rely on his receivers to make the big plays?

Jacksonville’s defense is literally night and day. Their run defense is playing at a high level while their pass defense is trying to find their identity. Hurts has the ability to beat both sides of the defense and control the game but once again, how will the weather affect him? Also, will the pressure of staying undefeated get to him?

AP Photo/Alex Brandon

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