Can the Eagles stay perfect in Jalen Hurts’ return to Houston?

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Eagles
Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts (1) answering questions during a news conference at the end an NFL football game against the Washington Commanders, Sunday, Sept. 25, 2022, in Landover, Md. Eagles won 24-8. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

The Eagles are set to take on the Houston Texans tonight and there’s more on the line than meets the eye. The team will be fighting to stay perfect but they’ll have to be more motivated to lift their QB at all costs.

Jalen Hurts will be playing for the first time in his hometown since being drafted by the Eagles. For Jalen, this homecoming has the utmost meaning behind it. He was asked about the homecoming matchup and said, 

It’s always been a dream of mine to play in NRG-Reliant Stadium and I’ve spent a lot of time in that city – my childhood, growing up in Houston, going to watch the Texans play, being in the Texans’ facility as a kid. Going to watch high school football playoffs in that stadium but not having the opportunity to ever play in it. I will have an opportunity this week and I’m looking forward to playing. It will be fun.

While Hurts has had nerves of steel all season long, you have to wonder about the emotions that could impact him in his return to Houston. Jalen has led the Eagles to a perfect start without playing to his highest potential. He’s kept them in front in most games and led them back from a 14-0 deficit against the Jaguars but how will the 24-year-old MVP candidate perform in his return home?

The Eagles bonafide leader

Hurts is coming off a career game against the Steelers as he threw a career-high 4 passing touchdowns. He’s thrown for 1,799 passing yards and 10 touchdowns this season while rushing for 303 yards and 6 rushing touchdowns. He’s as big of a threat as they come and he has looked unstoppable so far.

Dating back to last season, the Eagles have gone 10-0 in Hurts’ last 10 starts. He’s come into his own this season with room to grow as his completion percentage has jumped from 61% to 67%. His Quarterback rating has also jumped from 87.2 to 105.1.

No moment is too big

Nick Sirianni was asked about Jalen’s mental state ahead of his return to Houston. He went on to say, “He knows that all he can focus on is being there and being the quarterback of our team. It doesn’t matter if we’re in Houston, if we’re in Atlanta, doesn’t matter where we are. He knows about his process. He’d probably be the guy that will handle it better than anybody would because he’s just so focused and dialed in on what he has to do. We talk about this all the time, too, not letting the outside noise get to you, whether that’s you’re 7-0, you’re 0-7, you’re going to Houston, you’re going to Alaska, whatever it is”

Sirianni ended his thoughts on Hurts’ return to Houston by saying, “He’ll handle that great, and that really hasn’t been much of a discussion about it because I just know what we talk about all the time, and I know [QB] Jalen [Hurts] is the least person I worry about because he knows how to handle his business better than anybody.”

While emotions may be at an all-time high for the Eagles QB, Hurts has shown that not much can phase him in the toughest times. As the Houston crowd in NRG Stadium file in one by one to watch the undefeated Eagles take on a rebuilding Texans team, a sea of green jerseys and shirts will be cheering for Houston’s prodigal son. 

AP Photo/Susan Walsh

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