If the Eagles’ game plan is really determined by the opponent, there is a blueprint for beating the Carolina Panthers.
The Cowboys amassed 245 yards in a 38-26 victory over the Panthers last week. Quarterback Dak Prescott completed runs of 75, 56 and 66 yards with three of his four touchdown passes. Zeke Elliott rushed for 35 of his 143 yards on the first scoring streak, completing it with a one-yard run.
The Eagles attacked the Kansas Chiefs in much the same way the Los Angeles Chargers did when shaking offensive power the week before.
Jalen Hurts got rid of the ball quickly and the Eagles tackled the Chiefs. Both of these tactics would go a long way in giving the Eagles (1-3) a chance against the Panthers (3-1), who won their first three games.
“They’re really quick,” said offensive coordinator Shane Steichen of the Panthers defense. “These guys can fly around football. They picked up speed. I know Shaq Thompson is absent, but he is a very good football player. And then Brian Burns is a very good football player. They have very good football players. They got really good speed like I said. And they can fly and attack each other. It is essential.
The Panthers are coached by former Temple legend U. Matt Rhule, who signed one of the players who helped kick off the program on Broad and Montgomery in Philadelphia.
Pass carrier Hasson Reddick has a dozen sacks in his last eight games, including two against Hurts last year in the desert with the Arizona Cardinals. Reddick forced fumbles on these two pieces. Hurts has been sacked six times by the Cardinals.
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The Eagles have put goaltender Sua Opeta on the COVID roster, further depleting their depth on the offensive line.
It is unclear whether Lane Johnson, who was scratched last Sunday for what the Eagles called “personal reasons”, will be back in the lineup.
Plan for more offensive line moves in the coming days.
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The Panthers are crossing their fingers that explosive running back Christian McCaffrey can practice Wednesday after missing the Cowboys game with a hamstring injury.
There’s no more dynamic back with running and landing skills than McCaffrey, at least when he’s in good health. Since the 2019 season, when he rushed for 1,387 yards and 15 touchdowns and recorded 1,004 receiving yards and four scores, he has played just six games due to injury.
McCaffrey recorded 201 rushing yards, one-for-one touchdown, and had 16 receptions for 163 yards in the first three games.
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NOTES >> Eagles wide receiver Quez Watkins leads the league with a 21.9 yards-per-catch average. He and Henry Ruggs III (21.2) of the Raiders are the only receivers in the NFL averaging 20 or more yards per catch (minimum 10 receptions)… DeVonta Smith leads the Eagles with 18 catches for 237 yards. Only DeSean Jackson was more productive in his first four games with the Eagles… Dallas Goedert leads all tight ends in yards-per-catch average (14.5) and resulting first-down catch percentage (84.6 percent)… Only league leader Myles Garrett (6.0 sacks) has more sacks than Eagles defensive tackle Javon Hargrave, who has five and counts.