Week 14 Matchups: Eagles Offense vs. Bills Defense

Demarco Murray received only 8 carries in Sunday’s win versus the Patriots.  Darren Sproles and Kenjon Barner were the featured backs who ultimately led the Eagles to a much needed victory.  Reports surfaced Tuesday from ESPN’s Ed Werder in regards to Murray being upset about his role in the offense.  The story goes Murray went to Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie to discuss his displeasure.  While I appreciate Demarco keeping it out of the media and not giving any selfish quotes after the game, he has to understand the team won the game and the other backs simply got the job done better.  All year Murray has not fit into the style of running game Chip is calling for whatever reason.  Specifically those long drawn out sweep plays have hardly ever worked with Murray as the back.  The return of Ryan Mathews this week may also result in even less touches for Murray depending on Mathews health.  In other news, Sam Bradford returned in New England and did a great job hanging in the pocket making some big throws.  Most importantly he didn’t turn the football over.  This week the Eagles will face Rex Ryan and his 20th ranked defense which allows 23.2 points per game.

Player to Watch: Ryan Mathews

As I discussed earlier Mathews will be returning this week after he missed the past three games with a concussion.  It remains to be seen how healthy Mathews is and his effectiveness moving forward for the rest of the season.  He was also dealing with a groin injury before he suffered the concussion.  He comes back to a crowded backfield with Darren Sproles now viewed as the starter with the demotion of Demarco Murray.  I’m expecting Mathews to be eased back into the gameplan with around 8 carries and possibly a few catches.  I loved the way he was running this season before his injury and the aggressive style he was hitting the hole with.  Hopefully that style has not disappeared when he hits the field against Buffalo on Sunday.

Matchup to Watch: Jason Kelce vs. Marcell Dareus

I’ll give Kelce credit he was much better last weekend in Foxboro after his awful performance for the majority of the 2015 season.  He didn’t cost the Eagles with any holding penalties or bad snaps to Bradford which is a small, but necessary step.  He’s struggled in the past with physical defensive tackles who seem to push him around.  He’ll be facing just that style of player this week in the Bills Pro Bowl tackle Marcell Dareus.  Dareus is arguably the best player on the Bills defense and can disrupt an offense if his mind is in the right place.  I expect the Alabama product will be all systems go this week as the Bills are in the thick of a playoff race.  More than likely he can see from film the inconsistencies from the Eagles offensive line this year and his ability to attack them.  Dareus has managed only 2 sacks on the season thus far.

Player to Watch: Ronald Darby

The rookie corner from Florida State has been quite the find for Rex Ryan and company.  He’s been a starter since Week 1 and could be in line for Defensive Rookie of the Year honors.  He’s a Rex Ryan corner through and through by the physical style he plays with.  Darby has 60 tackles on the season along with two interceptions.  We’ve all witnessed the struggles the Eagles outside receivers have had this season and I don’t expect that to change any time soon.  Rex Ryan may choose to shift Darby over to Jordan Matthews to take him away from Bradford.  Either way I wish Darby was an Eagle and hopefully he doesn’t make an impact this weekend.

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