5 players to watch when the Eagles clash with the Bills

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Eagles Kevin byard
Philadelphia Eagles safety Kevin Byard (31) intercepts a pass intended for Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Justin Watson (84) as Eagles linebacker Zach Cunningham (52) watches during the first half of an NFL football game, Monday, Nov. 20, 2023, in Kansas City, Mo. (AP Photo/Ed Zurga)

The Eagles are set to take on the Buffalo Bills on Sunday at 4:25 pm. Philadelphia currently owns the best record in the NFL at 9-1 so far while the Bills are 6-5 and are trying their best to keep up with the Dolphins. Josh Allen and Jalen Hurts will headline this heavyweight bout but there are so many more players that will find their time in the spotlight on Sunday afternoon. Here are five players to keep your eye on when these two teams meet.

Kevin Byard

Philadelphia Eagles safety Kevin Byard (31) is congratulated by teammates after intercepting a pass during the first half of an NFL football game against the Kansas City Chiefs, Monday, Nov. 20, 2023, in Kansas City, Mo. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

Byard came up big for the Eagles in the red zone as he recorded his first interception with the Eagles of the season. This is the level of play that the organization was hoping to see when they traded for the 2x All-Pro safety. Can he come up big again in a matchup against Josh Allen?

Allen has thrown 12 interceptions this season with 8 of them coming in his last 7 games. He’s a gunslinger who’s fighting for survival at this point in his career. Byard could play a big role in making sure that the defense capitalizes on Allen’s mistakes.

Nolan Smith

Newly drafted Philadelphia Eagles’ Nolan Smith speaks during a news conference at the NFL football team’s training facility, Friday, April 28, 2023, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

The Eagles cut Derek Barnett this week and the one beneficiary should be rookie Nolan Smith. While it’s not a guarantee that there will be an uptick in his snaps, Nolan Smith should at least have the chance to earn more snaps as the season goes along.

Smith was a first-round pick for the Eagles this season. I’m sure that Howie Roseman and company want to see more out of him in hopes of not getting burned like they did with the selection of Derek Barnett. Although Barnett will always hold a special place in Eagles history as being the player who recovered the fumble to win the Eagles their first Super Bowl.

D’Andre Swift

Philadelphia Eagles running back D’Andre Swift (0) is congratulated by teammate Olamide Zaccheaus (13) after scoring during the first half of an NFL football game against the Kansas City Chiefs, Monday, Nov. 20, 2023, in Kansas City, Mo. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

We saw a different style of usage when it came to Swift against the Chiefs. After struggling the last couple of weeks in the run game, Swift showed signs of life as he tallied 76 yards on the ground and 31 yards in the air. I would expect Brian Johnson to expand that style of usage against the Bills. Swift will be key to an Eagles win against the Bills and a possible Super Bowl run.

The offensive line

Commanders Vs Eagles
Philadelphia Eagles’ Jalen Hurts, center, scores a touchdown during the second half of an NFL football game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Monday, Sept. 25, 2023, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Chris O’Meara)

The offensive line as a whole looked a bit off to start the game against the Chiefs on Monday night. They made the proper adjustments to end up only allowing 5 pressures in the game and ranked seventh in pass-blocking efficiency in week 11.

They’ll need to allow Jalen Hurts to breathe some more against the Bills. His growth as a pocket passer has taken the needed strides this season as the offense has evolved under Brian Johnson. 

A.J. Brown

Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver A.J. Brown (11) making a one-handed catch to score a touchdown against Washington Commanders cornerback Benjamin St-Juste (25) during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Oct. 29, 2023, in Landover, Md. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

It was great to see DeVonta Smith in the spotlight on Monday night but that led to Brown taking a back seat to the show. After taking the NFL by storm this season, Brown finished with only 8 yards against the Chiefs on 4 targets that night.

With the Chiefs missing their top cornerback this season, I’d expect a bounce-back game from the Eagles WR1. It’s time for the offense to take off with Brown and Smith leading the way in week 12.

AP Photo/Ed Zurga