Important game for the Eagles with the Vikings and Cowboys close by in the standings. For the Eagles, getting home-field for the playoffs is imperative.
3 PREDICTIONS YOU’LL LIKE
1. MILES SANDERS
The Eagles running back is having quite a season — 900 yards on 177 attempts and eight touchdowns. He is the fifth-leading rusher in the league.
He also has been healthy, which is noteworthy because his career has been slowed by injuries. He also hasn’t fumbled this year. In his first three years, he fumbled seven times.
Sanders has been the bull in the backfield, giving quarterback Jalen Hurts a reliable and forceful running back to help carry the offense. Last week against Green Bay, Sanders set a career high with 143 yards.
Offensive coordinator Shane Steichen said Sanders’ consistency this season has impressed him the most. Sanders also is breaking tackles along the way, turning short gains into more significant plays.
- “I think that’s the biggest thing,” Steichen said. “[Running backs/assistant head coach] Jemal [Singleton] does a heck of a job with those guys going through, and obviously you guys see us out there in individual period working the ball security stuff and running through those things.
- “But just the consistency and the physicalness of running through the tackles … I think that’s just the relentless effort and pursuit to go score. That’s what he’s been doing week in and week out, and we need that.”
Expect a big game from Sanders on Sunday. He will be sharing a stadium and a stage with Titans star back Derrick Henry. Sanders will want to show his stuff.
2. A.J. BROWN
Brown is itching to get at his former team, from which he was traded on the first night of the draft. Brown has been slowed recently with an ankle injury and a stomach illness. He said he feels much better this week and even got in a good workout at home.
I can see Eagles coach Nick Sirianni going to Brown early to get his feet wet, then going back to him multiple times. Even though Sirianni said it’s just another game, he knows it’s not that routine to Brown.
Thinking he’ll feed Brown and his ace wide receiver will respond.
3. EAGLES WIN
Most weeks, this block has been easy to write. Most weeks, the Eagles have had superior talent, favorable matchups and an exploitable aspect against their opponent.
This week, not so much. Tennessee likes to play a physical game, feed Henry and keep the score tight. The Titans average 19 points per game, 26th in the league.
The Eagles are all gas — averaging 27.5 points per game, third in the league. That go-go approach fits their coach and his personnel.
The Eagles are 5.5-point favorites. That’s a good line. I like the Eagles by a touchdown, 24-17.
3 PREDICTIONS YOU WON’T LIKE
1. DERRICK HENRY
Henry, who probably is the best back in the league, has gone three games without a 100-yard performance.
- “He’s big. Obviously really big, really fast, is able to get going downhill really quick and I always think they get good O-line play there as well,” Sirianni said.
- “But he just has things you can’t coach. He’s got great vision. Not only can he lower his shoulder and break tackles, with being able to break arm tackles, stuff like that. Got a really good stiff arm, but also has speed to finish long runs.
- “When you’re looking at backs and you’re looking at them in the draft process and they’ve got all those things, you’re like, man, this guy is a complete back, and he is, he’s a complete back that does a lot of things really well.”
With the struggles of the Eagles’ run defense — they are ranked 18th — this game sets up well for Henry. Expect him to get his 100 yards and make the game uncomfortable for the Eagles.
2. NOT-SO-SPECIAL TEAMS
The Eagles’ sloppy special teams haven’t cost the team a game yet. The feeling is out there that is going to happen.
They allowed the Packers three long kickoff returns. Can’t give short fields to Henry and a quarterback in Ryan Tannehill, who is more than capable of taking advantage. Expect the Titans to capitalize on their opportunities.
3. TITANS WIN
Eight of the Titans’ games have been one-score games, with Tennessee going 5-3.
The Titans are an outstanding team at 7-4. They started 0-2 with losses to the Giants and at Buffalo. Since then, they are 7-2 with losses at Kansas City and home vs. Cincinnati.
They have played in tough places. They are not going to be intimidated by a Philly crowd.
Here is how they win: Henry keeps the chains moving, Tannehill is successful against a pass defense missing two starters in the secondary.
If the Titans come in and win, thinking it’s going to be 20-17.