Eagles-Jets Preview: Sam Darnold Ruled Out, Top 5 Storylines to Watch

Carson Wentz Fantasy

Getty Carson Wentz has a plus matchup against the Jets in Week 5.

The Eagles will get the closest thing to a cupcake game there is in the NFL this week. The Jets are downright terrible, especially on the offensive side of the football.

New York ranks dead last in total offense while averaging 196.7 yards and 11 points per game. That’s incredibly bad, high-school level bad. Add to the equation the fact that the Jets have never beaten the Eagles in NFL history. Never once. They are 0-10 against Philadelphia. While some may caution about this one being a trap game, it’s not.

The one area where the Jets thrive is in run defense. The team has held opposing running backs to just 3.6 yards per carry and 88.7 yards per game. That doesn’t mean the Eagles should abandon the run game — keep them honest — but this would be a great day for Carson Wentz to air it out.

“It’s an attack style of defense. Our angles have to be right with our offensive line and tight ends coming off the ball,” Eagles head coach Doug Pederson told reporters. “It’s very similar to Green Bay in a sense, but probably a little more movement up front with these guys. More of a penetrating style.”

Eagles-Jets: Top 5 Storylines to Watch

Eagles Defensive Line Ready to Feast

The Jets finally ruled quarterback Sam Darnold out. Good thing, too. The second-year quarterback had been trying to play despite an enlarged spleen. That would have been a huge mistake with guys like Fletcher Cox, Derek Barnett, Vinny Curry and Brandon Graham breathing down his neck. Instead, they’ll huff on backup Luke Falk who has a 29.5 quarterback rating this season. The Eagles’ pass-rush has been on vacation through the first weeks. They are due and this has all the makings of a new Body Bag Game.

Carson Wentz Should Throw for 400 Yards

The Eagles can’t afford to abandon the run, but the way to win this game is through the air. The Jets secondary is really bad, slightly better than the Eagles secondary, but really bad. They benched their $72.5 million cornerback (Trumaine Johnson) after Week 1, then gave up 631 combined passing yards in consecutive weeks. Meanwhile, Wentz has been Pro Football Focus’ highest-graded quarterback through the first four weeks while throwing for 963 yards and nine touchdowns. Jets starting cornerbacks Darryl Roberts and Nate Hairston are two easy matchups the Eagles need to exploit. Wentz should throw for 400 yards.

Eagles Cornerbacks Need to Step Up

Rasul Douglas and Sidney Jones are going to be the starting cornerbacks for the Eagles. As bad as the Jets have been against the pass, this unit has been worse. The Eagles rank dead last in passing defense after giving up 1,295 yards and nine touchdowns in the first four weeks. Making matters worse, Jones will be playing with a sore hamstring. Look for the Jets to target him early and often. However, this could be the perfect spot for the Eagles secondary to get some respect on their names. New York’s receivers are pretty pedestrian, including their top target Jamison Crowder. Remember, Crowder is familiar with the Eagles from his days in Washington. But he comes in averaging a pathetic 31.5 yards per game in eight career contests versus Philadelphia.

Don’t Forget About LeVeon Bell

Once upon a time (on the other side of Pennsylvania) LeVeon Bell was the undisputed best running back in football. Bell has been severely underwhelming with his new team but it’s not all his fault. The Jets have been forced to start mediocre (at best) quarterbacks with Sam Darnold ill. They are also living life with one of the worst offensive lines in the NFL, one that has allowed 13 sacks and averaged 3.0 rush yards per attempt. Despite all the shortcomings, Bell has still managed to rack up 284 all-purpose yards in three games. Bell sat out last year while trying to prove a point about contracts. He’s fresh and ready to bust out. The Eagles better be ready.

It All Starts Up Front in Philadelphia

Look, this isn’t breaking news: the Eagles boast the best offensive line in the NFL. The only argument is Dallas. Jason Kelce is playing Sunday despite being in the delivery room for the birth of his daughter. He’ll be motivated to make sure the first game she sees is a win. If the Eagles come up chucking the ball deep — yes, they should as the team needs to get off to a fast start for once — then the boys up front need to keep No. 11 clean. Jump out to a 21-0 lead and then salt the game away with some old-school ground and pound. Jordan Howard and Miles Sanders are a lethal thunder-and-lightning duo. If this game follows the script, the Eagles could conceivably pull their starters in the fourth quarter. Philadelphia has a very tough three-game road trip coming up so the extra rest would serve them well.

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