Match-Up Focus: Eagles vs Bengals

PREVIOUS GAME RESULTS

2012 WEEK 15 CIN 34 PHI 13

2008 WEEK 11 PHI 13 CIN 13

2004 WEEK 17 CIN 38 PHI 10

Player to Watch – Nelson Agholor

I know this is the easy way out in terms of what to watch for, but it’s the elephant in the room.  All eyes will be on Nelson Agholor.  It’s not even a lock that Agholor will dress but if I were a betting man I would say he’s active.  With Jordan Matthews seen limping in practice with a sore ankle the Eagles can’t afford to go into this game with the likes of DGB, Treggs and Paul Turner.  It’s not even worth it getting into the PFF stats and grades on Agholor.  We know he’s been awful.  Why beat a dead horse?  The main question is, Can he rebound?  Can he gain enough confidence to help this offense put some points on the board.  The last two games the Eagles combined have scored 28 points.  This isn’t all on the shoulders of Nelson Agholor but he definitely isn’t helping.  Brian Baldinger on Quick Slants (Comcast Sports Network) said this “isn’t the best defense to go against if you’re struggling with your confidence.”  The likes of Adam Jones and Vontaze Burfict will be sure make their presence felt.

Player to Watch – Brandon Brooks

Keep your eyes on Brandon Brooks this Sunday and more importantly the OL as a unit.  Brooks was a surprising late scratch with an illness last Monday night.  He was so sick he ended up spending some time in the Hospital.  It’s not so much that Brooks was out but his void paired with Big V’s absence shifted the plans for 3 other players.  Whiz was thrust into the guard spot, Barbre kicked out to RT and rookie G Isaac Seumalo got the start at LG and looked over matched at times vs a GB defense that lets be honest was struggling. Brooks is the 5th best G in the league right now with an overall rating 86.7 per PFF.com.   He’s been on the field a total of 690 snaps with a split of 411 (pass snaps) and 279 (run snaps).  His pass blocking grade is a respectable 89.1 while his running grade is 82.6.  He will no doubt have his hands full with stud DT Geno Atkins.  Because Brooks was out with an illness I’ll be focused on his conditioning.  Can he hold up and perform under pressure with Atkins testing him all game?  If the Eagles want to get to 6-6 and keep their playoff hopes alive Brooks and the OL will need to be at their best.

Player to Watch – Tyler Eifert        

The hamstring injury to AJ Green shifts the attention to Eifert who is far and away the number one option for the Bengals offense. Gio Bernard also suffered a torn ACL against the Bills further hampering Andy Dalton and company. Eifert missed the first half of the season recovering from an ankle injury suffered in the Pro Bowl while also dealing with back issues as he attempted to practice. According to Pro Football Focus, Eifert earned the highest grade of any offensive player for the Bengals at 81.4. Dalton targeted Eifert 11 times against the Ravens defense. However, Eifert only caught 5 passes for 68 yards and provided the Bengals only touchdown on the afternoon. The Bengals are a very limited offense through the air without Green with rookie Tyler Boyd being the most legitimate outside threat to opposing defenses. Eagles linebackers Jordan Hicks and Nigel Bradham have been solid all season in the pass game especially when covering tight ends. The potential problem is Jaylen Watkins being forced to cover Eifert since Malcolm Jenkins has been moved into the corner role. Eagles fans can eat their hearts out for 3 hours on Sunday watching a real impact tight end in Eifert.

Player to Watch – Fletcher Cox

Cox has been a topic of conversation in recent days following the dismal performance for the defense on Monday night against Green Bay. Everyone knew Cox would have the bullseye squarely on his back heading into this season after receiving his monumental contract in the offseason. I still believe he’s an elite player and want him to be a part of this team moving forward. However, at a certain point the excuses need to stop as to why his impact is less than in year’s past. Offensive coordinators for the past couple of seasons have pinpointed Cox as the Eagles most disruptive defensive player. He still made an impact pretty much each and every game even though he was lining up in a system which didn’t seem to fit his skillset. Cox won NFC Defensive Player of the Month for September, but since that award he hasn’t even registered a single sack. PFF still has Cox graded as tied for the third best interior defender through 12 weeks, and even graded him as the third highest player for the defense this past week. I guess that’s not really saying a whole lot based on how they looked at a unit. Bottom line is Cox needs to be an impact player similar to Aaron Donald from the Rams should the Eagles stand any chance of being contender in the near future.

Source – www.profootballfocus.com

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