WEEK IN REVIEW
The Eagles offense hit a new low in their 30-16 loss to the Green Bay Packers on Sunday. Quarterback Carson Wentz was benched in favor of rookie Jalen Hurts after completing only 6 of 15 pass attempts and failing to generate more than 41 yards of offense on any individual drive, Wentz was sent to the bench for the remainder of the game. Hurts did not fare much better, but he was able to throw a touchdown pass to Greg Ward and complete a deep pass to fellow rookie Jalen Reagor.
On the other side of the ball, Aaron Rodgers looked like Aaron Rodgers. He sliced up the Eagles defense with the help of his top receiver, and good friend, Davante Adams who finished the day with 10 receptions for 121 yards and two touchdowns. This marks the second consecutive game in which Darius Slay has struggled to cover the opposing team’s top receiver. Slay had a great start to the season, but has been battling a calf injury, which could be hindering his ability to shut down opposing receivers.
NEWS OF THE WEEK
The biggest news of the week in Philadelphia is that Jake Elliott missed another kick on Sunday. Elliott is having a down year, along with most of the team, having missed 6 kicks in 12 games this season. Elliott signed a five-year $19 million contract, and the Eagles can’t get out of it until at least 2022 and, even then, the dead money would be one of the largest for a kicker.
In all seriousness, the real headline is obviously the decision to start Jalen Hurts this week against the New Orleans Saints. Hurts will get the majority of first team repetitions in practice leading up the to the game while Carson Wentz will try to work his way out of his funk from the sidelines.
One of the major variables involved with the Wentz benching is the potential rift that may be created in the locker room. Veteran Eagles stars Jason Kelce, Brandon Graham, and Fletcher Cox expressed support for Wentz on social media, while rookie Jalen Reagor voiced his support for Hurts in an interview on Wednesday. If this change is permanent, it could signal the end of an era for the core team who won the Super Bowl just three years ago.
THE WEEK AHEAD
The Eagles are slated as 6.5-poing home underdogs to the New Orleans Saints as of the writing of this article. This weekend’s matchup could look like the student versus the master when it comes to Doug Pederson and Sean Payton respectfully. Around the time of Jalen Hurts’ drafting, there were several reports that Sean Payton’s use of Taysom Hill was the inspiration for the selection. Payton will likely be motivated to show the full power of his creative offense and assert his dominance as one of the top play-callers in the league.
With two mobile quarterbacks, who both have tendencies to take off and run if their first read is covered, the clock is expected to be running a lot, which would shorten the game and limit scoring opportunities. The low 43.5 Over/Under reflects this trend. The Saints defense is also performing about as well as any group in the league over their last five games, averaging just 8.8 points allowed over that span. That is an extremely tough task for a rookie quarterback making his first career start.