Three-And-Out: Eagles-Colts Predictions
Player I’ll be watching
Kapadia: Nick Foles
I’ll go ahead and take the lay-up.
If you were to hook Chip Kelly up to a lie detector test and ask him when he really learned who Nick Foles is, I believe he’d say the Raiders game in 2013.
Foles was coming off a nightmarish start against the Cowboys where he suffered a concussion. He sat out the following week, but then was thrust back into action. Yes, it was only the Raiders, but he responded with a seven touchdown performance and never looked back the rest of the season.
In Week 1, Foles was shaky against the Jaguars. He was hesitant, skittish in the pocket, inaccurate with the football and turned it over three times in the first half. Against Indy, there will be plenty of plays to be made against a mediocre defense. But the Eagles will see a lot of man coverage, and Foles will be playing behind a pair of backup offensive linemen.
If the past is any indication, Foles will bounce back. But if he struggles, the quarterback’s play will dominate conversation in the days leading up to the Redskins game.
McManus: Riley Cooper.
Foles targeted Cooper eight times against the Jaguars, but the two connected for just four completions for 29 yards (7.3 average). We know that Cooper was dealing with a foot/ankle injury for much of the summer that limited his participation during the preseason. Maybe the quarterback and receiver need some time to get back in sync. It is also plausible that Cooper is not totally recovered. (He was on the injury report last week with an ankle; this week he was not listed).
Cooper’s quiet day can be partially attributed to the fact that Foles was off. On the other side of that, how much of Foles’ off day is tied to the fact that one of his primary receivers wasn’t getting much separation?
Given that he is working behind a makeshift offensive line, Foles could face heavy pressure in Indy. He needs to be on time with his throws. Part of that is trusting that his receivers will be where they need to be and will make some catches in tight spaces once they get there. This would be a good time to get back on the same page with Cooper.
Over/under: 8 carries for Darren Sproles. Whaddya got?
Kapadia: Give me the under.
Last week, Sproles carried it 11 times. He’s only had more rushing attempts than that four times in his entire career. I’m expecting the Colts to play a lot of man coverage with one high safety. That means the passing game will have to carry the offense.
Don’t be surprised if Sproles again grabs some headlines this week. But it’ll be as a receiver, not as a running back this time around.
McManus: I’ll take the over.
I was a little bit surprised by how often Sproles was on the field instead of LeSean McCoy last week, but nobody within the organization seemed to be. It appears that a shared workload is part of the plan.
“That’s good for me [over the long-term] because I don’t have to get those extra amount of touches,” said McCoy. “He’ll probably get about 10-plus [carries] a game and some in the air. I think we’ll work well together.”
We’ll go with McCoy’s estimates and say Sproles reaches double-digits in carries.
Kapadia: Eagles 27, Colts 24
I think these two teams are pretty evenly matched. Andrew Luck is fantastic, but the Colts have done a poor job of surrounding him with the talent necessary for Indy to make a Super Bowl run. I’ll be stunned if the Colts are able to run the ball effectively, and they are starting two rookies on the offensive line.
Defensively, Indianapolis doesn’t have a lot of pass-rushing options with Robert Mathis out, and the overall talent on that side of the ball is mediocre.
Don’t get me wrong. The Eagles have issues as well. They’re going into the game with a pair of backups along the offensive line. They need Foles to rebound, and LeSean McCoy has to be more of a factor than he was last week. Defensively, Billy Davis’ pressure packages looked good vs. Jacksonville, but he’ll be dialing them up against Luck, not Chad Henne, this time around.
I think this one comes down to the wire, with Cody Parkey nailing a 47-yard field goal in the final seconds before pressing his finger to his mouth and mimicking the “Shhhhhhh!” gesture to the fans in attendance at Lucas Oil Stadium.
McManus: Colts 34, Eagles 27
Since you mentioned it, can we slow the Parkey train down a little bit? He’s kicked two field goals in the NFL, for crying out loud.
This is a tough spot for the Eagles. They’re going into the domed Lucas Oil Stadium with issues along the offensive front. Communication problems could certainly arise. That would be bad news for Foles, who seems to be working through a rough patch right now.
They’ll be facing a Colts squad that is fighting to avoid an 0-2 start. I agree that their personnel leaves a little to be desired but they are still a playoff-caliber team in my opinion, thanks in large part to the coach/quarterback combo. Andrew Luck has never lost back-to-back games in his young NFL career to date. Don’t think that’s changing this week.