NFL: Philadelphia Eagles vs Tennessee Titans Preview
Carson Wentz returned and played well enough in week three as the Eagles hung on late to prevent a Colts upset. The Titans will come into this week four matchup after shutting down the previously undefeated Jacksonville Jaguars in a defensive showdown by a score of 9-6. Keeping that in mind, here is a preview for the Eagles and Titans week four matchup:
Eagles Notes from week 3:
The Return of Carson Wentz: In week three against the Colts, Wentz had some shaky moments but showed some encouraging signs. His worst moment came in the third quarter when Wentz fired a pass that was intended for Zach Ertz, right into the hands of a Colts defender. He was not helped by his offensive line either, as he was sacked by the Colts five times. However, what encouraged me was that he showed almost no physical limitations. He was the same mobile Wentz and that was proven on a 3rd and 6 in the second quarter where Wentz spun out of a sack and dove head first for a first down. Classic Carson! Overall, Wentz completed 25/37 passes for 255 yards with a touchdown, an interception, and a lost fumble. Not great, but not horrible for his first game back in action.
Fletcher Cox is having a monster season:Fletcher Cox has said that he wants to be recognized on a national basis and he has proven so far that he is one of the best defensive linemen in the NFL. Through three weeks this season, Pro Football Focus has Cox rated as the NFL’s best interior defensive lineman, ahead of Rams’ linemen Aaron Donald and Ndamukong Suh. In three weeks Cox has 12 tackles and 3 sacks from the defensive tackle position. If he keeps those numbers up, he could be a candidate for defensive player of the year.
Their struggling secondary took another hit: Safety, Rodney McLeod Jr., was injured in Sunday’s win over Indy and it was announced Thursday that McLeod would miss the rest of the season after undergoing surgery to repair a torn MCL. There are many options for the Eagles at safety but I think moving Jalen Mills to safety and promoting Sidney Jones IV to the outside is the option they should go with. Mills has struggled all season on the outside and moving to safety would allow Jones to get more reps. It’s happened before where a cornerback turns into a safety and it has worked out (e.g. Devin McCourty). As of right now, Corey Graham is the backup safety.
Titans notes for week 3:
Both of their quarterbacks are dealing with injuries: After injuring his hand in week one against the Dolphins, Mariota was replaced in favor of Blaine Gabbert, who started and led the team to a win over the Texans. Despite not starting, Mariota was left active in the event of Gabbert getting an injury. And that’s exactly what happened last week after Gabbert left in the first quarter with a concussion. Mariota looked shaky in his return, throwing 12/18 passes for 100 yards but he was bailed out by his defense. Mariota will be starting in week 4 and it will be interesting to see how his injured hand affects his play.
Their defense is very underrated and talented: Looking at their defense, there aren’t necessarily names that jump out but the Mike Vrabel-led defense for the Titans is very solid. Through three games, they’ve only allowed 50 points which is third best in the NFL. Malcolm Butler was a really good acquisition in the offseason and safety Kevin Byard is one of the most underrated players in the NFL as he led the league with 8 interceptions last season. The Titans D will work to make Carson Wentz’s life as difficult as possible this week.
X Factor for the Titans and Eagles matchups: Corey Davis, WR, Titans
Davis is someone whom I was very high on coming into the season. The fifth pick in the 2017 season, Davis was underwhelming in his first season but has been decent to start this season with 13 receptions for 151 yards through three weeks. As I’ve noted multiple times throughout this season, Jalen Mills has struggled to this point. Davis hasn’t been incredible but seems destined for a breakout and his play could be a large factor in the outcome of this game.
Who will win in week 4:
This one took me a while to make my decision on who I thought would win but I’m going with the Eagles to cover a 3.5 point spread in week 4. Alshon Jeffery, who hasn’t played yet this season, has finally been cleared for contact, meaning he’ll potentially play this week which is huge since the Eagles receivers have been very unproductive. The Titans offensive line took a hit after Kevin Pamphile was placed on IR so I expect Brandon Graham and Fletcher Cox will make Marcus Mariota’s life difficult. This one is a bit of a toss up and should be a very entertaining game.
Final Score: Eagles 24, Titans 20