The drudgery of the preseason and two-a-day workouts is finally waning, and the Philadelphia Eagles are finally lining up for a football game.
Yes, it’s only preseason, but the Eagles will face the Tennessee Titans on Thursday night at Lincoln Financial Field in its first game action of the 2019 season. Though the starters likely will not play much more than a quarter of Thursday’s game, Eagles’ fans will a look at Carson Wentz, DeSean Jackson as well as rookie running back Miles Sanders, who has turned some heads during the first week of practices.
Eagles odds to beat the Titans
Heading into Thursday’s game, the Eagles are a 3½-point favorite over the Titans. The Eagles also are a minus-180 favorite on the money line with an over/under of 37.
There are a lot of question marks headed into Thursday’s game regarding who will play and when, but the Eagles are given the favorite nod because they are playing at home.
A season ago in the four preseason games, the Eagles:
- Lost to the Steelers at home, 31-14
- Lost on the road against the Patriots, 37-20
- Lost on the road against the Browns, 5-0
- Won the finale at home against the Jets, 10-9.
Over the last two seasons, the Eagles are 3-5 in preseason games, including a 3-1 record in preseason games at home.
Here are a few things to look for when the Eagles face the Titans on Thursday.
Wentz, Sudfeld and the Eagles quarterbacks
Through the first week of training camp, the talk has been about the chemistry that has developed between Wentz and veteran receiver Jackson.
Wentz also has picked up right where he left off with tight end Zach Ertz as well as WR Nelson Agholor. A season ago Ertz caught 116 passes for eight touchdowns. Jackson, a deep threat, is third all-time in NFL history for touchdown catches longer than 50 yards.
Wentz, however, might sit; update here.
Reports indicate that Sudfeld also has been impressive through the early going by showing poise in the pocket and showing nice touch on his passes down the field. Look for Sudfeld to play a quarter in Thursday’s game.
Reserve quarterbacks Cody Kessler and rookie Clayton Thorson likely will get a bunch of snaps in Thursday’s game. A veteran of 17 NFL games, including 12 starts, Kessler is penciled in on the depth chart as the third-string quarterback, but that could change.
A first look at running back Miles Sanders
Drafted in the second round of last April’s draft, the expectations are high for Sanders. That’s especially the case when running backs have the biggest impact in NFL in their first few seasons.
Though the Eagles likely won’t push too much on Sanders in the early part of the season, but the reports from the Eagles’ camp is that Sanders could be a breakout star in his first season.
From the Philly Voice’s Jimmy Kempski: “He’s the best running back on the team. Period. And it isn’t close.”
Will the injuries on defense linger?
The biggest question mark for the Eagles headed into the 2019 season is if the defense can match the game-breaking ability of the offense. But through the early part of training camp, injuries have been a bit of an issue.
Key defensive players who are coming off injury have yet to take part in team drills include:
- Cornerback Jalen Mills, who is on the on the active/physically unable to perform list as he recovers from a foot injury
- Four-time Pro Bowl defensive tackle Fletcher Cox (foot)
- Defensive end Derek Barnett (shoulder)
- Linebacker Nigel Bradham (toe)
- Cornerback Ronald Darby (knee)
That does not include linebacker Kamu Grugier-Hill, who suffered a knee sprain in Saturday’s practice and is expected to miss multiple weeks. It also doesn’t include cornerback Cre’Von LeBlanc, who suffered a foot sprain on the first day of camp and is out for a few more weeks.