With the Philadelphia Eagles coming off their 32-21 loss in week ten to the division rival Commanders, the newly led Indianapolis Colts come speeding in with plenty of momentum. Here are some key components to watch for in this week 11 matchup for Philadelphia.
Eagles’ Offense Remaining Consistent
For Head Coach Nick Sirianni’s Eagles offense, the name of the game is consistency. The Eagles enter week 11 as the eleventh-ranked team in passing yards per game with 234.2. They also rank second in the NFL in passer rating at 106.4. Philadelphia has committed just three turnovers through the air through the first 11 weeks, tied for the fewest in the league.
Eagles Quarterback Jalen Hurts looks to have another efficient game against the Jeff Saturday-led Indianapolis Colts. Despite a less-than-ideal week ten loss against the Washington Commanders, the Eagles team will be rearing and ready to go against a Colts secondary that ranks seventh in the league in average passing yards allowed per game. While the yards may be hard to come by, the statistics dictate that moving the chains may not be an issue for the Eagles. The Colts allow a completion percentage of 67.8 to opposing quarterbacks, which ranks 28th in the league.
Eagles starting Running back Miles Sanders also looks to bounce back from a subpar performance in week ten. The former Penn State Nittany Lion rushed for just 54 yards during last week’s loss to the Commanders. Sanders leads the Eagles’ rushing attack with 710 yards and six touchdowns. The Indianapolis Colts’ defense has been stout against the run, holding opposing teams to just 3.8 yards per carry on the ground. With Sanders averaging five yards per carry, this matchup is one many fans look forward to on Sunday.
Wide Receivers AJ Brown, DeVonta Smith, and Quez Watkins will need to carry the load in the receiving department with the news that Tight End Dallas Goedert is headed to injured reserve. For Brown, he comes off his worst performance as an Eagle, posting just one lone reception for seven yards. Look for Brown to be targeted early and often in this game.
Smith and Watkins look to be more prominent factors within the construction of the offense moving forward. The duo accounts for just under 75 receiving yards per game in 2022. That number will need to increase for the offense to remain as potent as it’s been this season. The Colts will have their hands full trying to slow down this trio of receivers.
Eagles Run Defense Facing Big Test In Jonathan Taylor
The Eagles’ run defense has given up 464 yards on the ground in the last three games. Philadelphia lost rookie Defensive Tackle Jordan Davis to injured reserve as he recovers from an ankle injury two weeks ago. The team also placed Defenvie Tackle Marlon Tuipulotu on injured reserve this week. In a corresponding move announced on Wednesday, Philadelphia signed 34-year-old Linval Joseph to plug into the defensive line.
Additionally, Philadelphia announced the signing of veteran defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh on Thursday. The 35-year-old former All-Pro is another addition to a defensive line that has taken a blow to its depth in recent weeks. The additions of Joseph and Suh are welcoming to a defense trying to fill rushing lanes and make it harder for offenses to convert first downs on the ground.
That said, the Eagles will face a test in week 11 with the NFL’s league-leading rusher last season, Colts Running back Jonathan Taylor. Despite only being active for six of the Colts’ ten games in 2022, Taylor accounts for 62% of the team’s total rushing yards this year. Taylor comes off a 147-yard performance last week against the Las Vegas Raiders. The Colts will rely heavily on Taylor to be the workhorse back they expect him to be. With Indianapolis leaning on their explosive rushing attack, Philadelphia will need to limit big plays this Sunday and force the Colts to move the ball through the air.
Specials Teams Woes To Continue For Philadelphia?
Perhaps the biggest weakness outside Philadelphia’s leaky run defense has been its special team unit. While former Pro Bowl Kicker Jake Elliot has been solid thus far in 2022, the rest of the unit is serviceable at best. Punter Arryn Siposs ranks 30th in the league in average yards per with 46.3. Siposs’ average needs to improve to give his team a better starting field position.
Rookie Wide Receiver/Returner Britain Covey has been underwhelming in his performance this season. Covey has averaged just 20.6 yards per kickoff return and an abyssal 6.5 yards per punt return. The explosive receiver out of Utah, known for his return skills in college, has failed to produce at the NFL level.
The kickoff and punt return units as a whole have not been outstanding either for Philadelphia. It seems like once or twice per game; the opposing team returns a kick or punt for big yardage. In turn, that team’s starting field position is fantastic, crippling the Eagles’ defense before they have a chance to hit the field.
Special Teams Coordinator Michael Clay will be tested this week against a special team unit led by Colts’ returners Isiah Rogers and Keke Coutee. Colts Kicker Chase McGlaughin has played relatively well in Indy this season, and Punter Matt Haack has successfully pinned opponents inside the 20-yard line on 19 occasions this season. The bottom line is that the Eagles need to clean up the special teams unit to ensure success in their second-half stretch in the NFC.
Much like it’s been all season in Philadelphia, the list of items needing correction is slim. As you start checking the boxes, the Eagles’ offense needs to remain consistent, as they’ve been throughout the 2022 season. Hurts and company will have their hands full with a defensive line consisting of DeForest Buckner, Grover Stewart, and others.
Next on the list is Philadelphia’s run defense. The losses of Davis and Tuipulotu are significant. Adding two veterans along the defensive line should lessen the blow of losing those two young defensive tackles. With the electric Running back Taylor lining up for the Colts looking to do damage to the Eagles, they’ll need to plug gaps and execute challenging assignments in this week’s matchup.
Lastly, for the Eagles is the special teams unit. The unit must clean up its mistakes, whether kicking, punting, returning, or providing coverage. The preverbal third phase of the game is by far the most glaring weakness for this team, and this item on the list is circled and written in bold letters.
In conclusion, the 8-1 Philadelphia Eagles have things to clean up ahead of the week 11 matchup with the Colts. This team remains the top seed in the NFC and is a threat to put up huge numbers on any opponent. With an increased focus on consistency on offense, a stifling run defense, and shoring up special teams, Philadelphia should handle the 4-5 Indianapolis Colts without significant issue. The Eagles look to take charge of this game and notch another win in the win column on Sunday.