What to Watch for: Eagles/Panthers
This game was described by Carolina wide receiver Steve Smith as a “battle of the bads,” which is impossible to argue with. At 2-8 and 3-7, these two teams are the third and sixth worst in the league. It’s going to be an ugly contest for sure as two teams with previously high-powered offenses have been lacking their mojo all season long. To make matters worse for Philadelphians, consider this: Andy Reid will be fired at the end of the year, but Ron Rivera and Sean McDermott-former members of Reid’s staff-will likely be out at the end of the year from Carolina as well. How totally unpleasant.
And now, what you should watch for tonight.
1. Draft position. If the Eagles manage to throw up another six point stinker, then take comfort in the fact that it will help this team move up in the draft. The Eagles would move up to fourth or fifth and “beat” Carolina in tie-breakers for a lower spot. When you’re attracting a new coach, a high pick can be nothing but helpful.
2. Bryce Brown. Brown will be getting his first start tonight as LeSean McCoy recovers from a concussion. This should be very exciting to watch. Brown has quality speed, a solid stiff arm and is averaging 4.4 yards per carry. Tonight he has the opportunity to prove that he can be a quality back in this league. He should be fun to watch.
3. Vinny Curry. After spending most of the season in street clothes, Curry will get his NFL debut tonight. When the Eagles drafted him in the second round, he was heralded as a quality edge rusher who struggles in the run game. Therefore, look for Curry to make most of his appearances on third downs.
4. Chris Polk. With Bryce Brown the starter, Polk moves up as the next man in line. His powerful running style earned Polk a roster spot in training camp, but he hasn’t seen any work outside of special teams. Expect Polk to get his first carries tonight in short yardage situations.
5. Nick Foles. Foles will be getting his second career start tonight. Like I said last week, Foles simply needs to be OK tonight. His poise seems good in the pocket, so for this week watch the type of throws he’s making. How many passes are beyond 15 yards? Is he hitting receivers in stride? Can he make a clean throw over the top? These questions will help determine whether or not Foles has long-term potential.
6. Something else entirely. You know, go to the movies or watch paint dry. It will keep you sane and leave your tv not shattered into 500 pieces.