A team that many expected to be a strong Super Bowl contender, is now fighting to get out of a tough spot. Offensively, the Eagles are having a really hard time taking care of the football (4 interceptions and 1 fumble) and RB DeMarco Murray has been completely ineffective. In the 20-10 loss against his former team last week, Murray gained just two yards on the ground on 13 carries, and it was QB Sam Bradford the leading rusher of the team with 9 yards. Bradford is completing just 66.3 percent of his passes for 560 yards, two touchdowns and four interceptions, and a QB rating of 72.3. No one would expect to see the Eagles ranking 28th in scoring offense and dead last in rushing offense in the league at this point, but that’s exactly where they stand right now. And a visit to the defensive-minded New York Jets will hardly change that scenario.
New York Jets (2-0)
Jets head coach Todd Bowles has built a defense that is very effective at stopping the run (98.5 yards per game, 14th in the league), and one that is making it extremely hard for other teams to score points (8.5 points allowed per game, 1st in the league). That defensive ability was again on full display last Monday night, in a dominant 20-7 win in Indianapolis against the Colts. Turnovers have played a major role in this team’s success, as the Jets have forced 10 turnovers in two games (1st in the league), while their offense has remained consistent and has kept mistakes and penalties more or less under control. Offensively, experience seems to be the key for success, with veteran QB Ryan Fitzpatrick, wide receivers Brandon Marshall and Erick Decker, and RB Chris Ivory leading the way. Fitzpatrick, who continues to look very comfortable in this offensive system, and has now been designated the starter, has completed 63.8 percent of his throws for 423 yards, with four touchdowns and two picks.
Since 2009, only two teams, of the 45 that have kicked off their seasons with a 0-2 record, have reached the playoffs, so the Eagles need to start taking care of business before it’s too late. Philadelphia’s defense has kept things more or less competitive so far, but they are spending too much time on the field and, if that doesn’t change, it will eventually take its toll on the group. Going against the best defensive unit in the NFL doesn’t help the Eagles’ cause, so Sam Bradford and company will definitely need a great game on Sunday to avoid going 0-3.
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