Eagles Inactives, Pick and Matchup to Watch vs Colts
The Eagles were one of the healthiest teams in the league when they opened the season last week against the Jaguars in their season opener at Lincoln Financial Field. This will be the first meeting between the Eagles and Colts since 2010 - Indianapolis defeated the Philadelphia, 26-24, in that game.
This game marks the first NFL meeting between Andrew Luck and Nick Foles, but the two are familiar with each other. Luck (Stanford) defeated Foles (Arizona) two of the three times they met in college.
(Listen on 97.3 ESPN, coverage starts at 7:30, kickoff at 8:30).
These teams have played 17 games all-time, with the Colts holding a 10-7 advantage in those contests.
The Eagles will be missing two starters, Dennis Kelly will fill in at left guard for Evan Mathis and Andrew Gardner will get the call as the starting left tackle. This will be Kelly's first game action since starting 10 games back in 2012. This will be Gardner's first ever start - he has played in just nine NFL games in this his fifth season.
Running back Chris Polk is probable for Week two after missing last week with a hamstring issue. Josh Huff and Matt Tobin were the only two Eagles that did not participate in practice on Friday.
Overall, other than the two starting offensive lineman, Eagles find themselves as one of the healthiest teams in the league as they enter week two of the season.
On the Colts injury front, ILB Jerrell Freeman has been ruled out for the game. Josh McNary will start in Freeman's place, and Henoc Muamba should get some snaps as well. Radio host Conrad Brunner of 1070 the Fan in Indianapolis joined the sports Bash on Monday and told us Freeman is the best cover linebacker the Colts have and it could mean a big day for Zach Ertz. The Colts also lost OLD Cam Johnson for the season in the loss to Denver - the Colts were already thin at that position due to the suspension and now injury to Robert Mathis.
For now, Brunner mentioned they will go forward with Bjoern Werner, Erik Walden and Jonathan Newsome as its top three outside 'backers.
As Brunner mentioned on the show on Friday, "You're playing the right team to have a beat up offensive line right now."
(Listen to The Outside View with Conrad Brunner of 1070-AM in Indy)
Match-Up to watch:
Zach Ertz vs Colts Linebackers: Denver's tight end, Julius Thomas had a career day against the Colts on Monday night, catching seven balls for 104 yards and three touchdowns. The Eagles should be pretty creative with ways to get Ertz and Brent Celek the ball over the middle against a depleted Colts defense.
Eagles inactives: OLB Marcus Smith, QB Matt Barkley, WR Josh Huff, CB Jaylen Watkins, OL Matt Tobin, OT Kevin Graf, and DE Taylor Hart.
Colts’ inactives: ILB Jerrell Freeman, WR Da'Rick Rogers, RB Dion Lewis, OLB Chris Carter, C Khaled Holmes, C Jon Harrison, and OL Joe Reitz.
The Eagles have some issues up front, but the Colts really don't have a marquee player on the defensive side of-the-ball. While Luck and the Colts offense can be explosive, especially at home, they struggle to run the ball. If the Eagles can generate some sort of pass rush, they could disrupt Luck enough for him to make mistakes - he will throw picks if pressured.
Expect to see more of Vinny Curry and Brandon Graham in this game to help get more pressure on Luck.
With Gardner and Kelly in the starting lineup, the Eagles added former pro bowl guard Wade Smith this week, and David Molk is still available.
This should be a great test for the Eagles, Indianapolis is 0-1 coming off a tough loss to Denver - teams that start the season 0-2 have only made the playoffs 12-percent of the time.
The Eagles were a very good team on the road last season, going 6-2 on the road and just 4-4 at home, so the game being in Lucas Oil Stadium shouldn't be a huge issue.
Overall, the Eagles have too many weapons on offense and Indy is very limited on defense. While the game should provide a ton of fireworks from both offenses, I think the Eagles pace of the game should be enough to wear down a depleted Colts defense - call it a case of playing a team at the right time.
The Pick: Eagles 34, Colts 27