Healthy Eagles Ready to Face Banged-Up Patriots in Week 1

Jalen Carter and Jordan Davis at practice.

Getty Eagles defensive linemen Jalen Carter and Jordan Davis at training camp.

The Philadelphia Eagles are starting their season with some good news — everyone on the roster is healthy and ready to go for their Week 1 matchup against the New England Patriots on September 10.

The Patriots, however, aren’t in the best shape for their 2023 home opener. Four key starters were listed as questionable for the Sunday Night Football game: guards Mike Onwenu (ankle) and Cole Strange (knee), wide receiver DeVante Parker (knee), and running back Rhamondre Stevenson (illness). Rotational cornerback Jack Jones was officially ruled out with a hamstring injury.

Eagles cornerback Josh Jobe had been listed as limited on Wednesday, September 6, but was upgraded to a full participant on Thursday. Cornerback Mario Goodrich was also listed as limited with an illness on Thursday and was upgraded to a full participant on Friday.

Eagles Facing Familiar Ex-Rival on Sunday

The Eagles are no stranger to new Patriots running back Ezekiel Elliott.

For the past seven years, Elliott was a member of the Eagles’ NFC East rival the Dallas Cowboys. After deciding to roll with Tony Pollard as their primary rusher, the Cowboys let Elliott test free agency. In August, the Patriots inked Elliot to a one-year deal.

According to Statmuse, Elliott has averaged 92.3 yards per game against the Eagles throughout his career. One main contributing factor to this success is the type of offensive line Elliott had paving the way for him in Dallas. In a complementary role, Elliott will now be running behind a Patriots offensive line that is banged up — both starting guards, Onwenu and Strange, will not be operating at 100%, according to New England’s injury report.

Elliott has scored in only five out of the nine total games he’s lined up facing an Eagles defense. Elliott’s scoring cause may not get helped going up against a bolstered Philly defensive line, but if Stevenson can’t play or at least isn’t fully healthy, Elliott may be in for more opportunities, especially near the goal line.

Eagles Rookies Ready to Contribute in Week 1

Defensive tackle Jalen Carter will back up starters Fletcher Cox and Jordan Davis. Carter has received high praise from what seems like everyone in the locker room, including Darius Slay, who called Carter “a baby rhino” on the August 20 episode of his “Big Play Slay” podcast.

Linebacker Nolan Smith will act as a mini-Haason Reddick and be a rotation rusher. Smith exited the Eagles’ second preseason game, against the Cleveland Browns, early with a shoulder injury. “I feel OK,” Smith told reporters from The Philadelphia Inquirer at practice on September 6. “I’m just ready to go. I’m still learning from seven [Haason Reddick] and five-five [Brandon Graham].”

Offensive lineman Tyler Steen will serve as a backup should any interior linemen suffer an injury on Sunday.

Safety Sydney Brown will work behind Reed Blankenship. The Eagles’ strength in the secondary lies in their lockdown cornerbacks Darius Slay and James Bradberry. Brown hopes to contribute through rotation depending on what scheme new defensive coordinator Sean Desai draws up.

Cornerback Kelee Ringo is backing up Slay and Bradberry and will act in the same manner as Brown, looking for playing time if a cornerback-heavy formation is called.

Given his spot on the depth chart, it’s unlikely that quarterback Tanner McKee gets any playing time and could receive the inactive treatment on Sunday. However, McKee did impress most Eagles fans throughout the preseason and could serve as a backup if Marcus Mariota gets dealt.

Defensive lineman Moro Ojomo is listed at the bottom of the Eagles’ depth chart and is likely not to see any action except for special team’s play.

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