What was once the Kevin Kolb era has quickly turned into the Michael Vick era. It will all begin later today when the Eagles take on the Jacksonville Jaguars. Like last week, the Eagles are facing a team that historically and statistically has been a worse team than they are. They got a little taste of what the Jaguars offer when they faced them in the preseason, but the first teams only played a quarter. However, as the Eagles also proved last week, they are as vulnerable as any team in the NFL.
With one of the most explosive offenses in the NFL, the Eagles should have no problems putting up points today against the Jags. Jacksonville’s defense is very young and most likely won’t be able to keep up with the speed of Vick, McCoy and the Eagles receivers. The Jags are fourth-to-last in the league in points allowed through the first two weeks with 55. They also have allowed 420 total yards per game through the first two weeks, and I don’t see things changing this week against the Eagles.
Like every week, the Eagles offense will depend on the offensive line. They have looked terrible in the first two weeks, but I look to them to improve this week against a mediocre Jaguar front seven. Jacksonville has forced four turnovers in two weeks this year and rely heavily on big plays defensively to limit the yards and points. In order to beat them this week, the Eagles need to beat them with their speed and quick passing.
Another thing I will be watching is how Brent Celek fits in to the offense this week. He has yet to make an impact in the first two weeks, which is a bit of a concern considering he has the potential to be one of the best in the league at his position. He was expected to be Kolb’s go-to-guy over the middle with the west coast offense, but we all know how that one turned out.
Defensively the Eagles will have their hands full with Maurice Jones-Drew. He is one of the best in the game and presents a challenge the Eagles faced last week with Jahvid Best. They are similar in stature and speed except Jones-Drew is even better. Luckily for the Eagles, their defense will welcome back linebacker Stewart Bradley today. He presents a nice plug in the middle of the field that should limit Jones-Drew’s power up the middle. The speedy running back also plays a role in the passing game, as he is often a target for short passes.
As far as stopping the receiving game, the Eagles secondary will have to shut down Mike Sims-Walker. He had a big week against the Chargers last weekend and his size presents problems for the Eagles small secondary. My bigger concern is with tight end Mercedes Lewis. Like Sims-Walker, he is an big tight end with a lot of speed and power. He will most likely match up with the Eagles linebackers, who have known to give up big games to tight ends. This will be a tough challenge for a young and banged up Eagles linebacker core.
Prediction: Eagles 31, Jags- 21
Here are a few links of good previews for the Eagles game against the Jaguars.