The one real good part of being a fan of the 4-9 Eagles on a short week is we're able to relax and enjoy the game. Sure, we want to win (I think, unless you're a draftnik), but we're more interested in following the progress of our favorite boys and new guys. Meanwhile, in Cincinnati, Bengals fans will be taking gas until their boy Andy Dalton is taking a knee in victory formation.
Records: Bengals 7-6; Eagles 4-9
Line: Bengals by 4 points; over/under: 45½
TV announcers: Brad Nessler, Mike Mayock, Alex Flanagan (NFL Network); game also on WPHL
Radio: 97.3, 94.1 FM, 610 AM
Forecast: Clear, with a low around 30. Light north wind (NFLweather.com).
Notable numbers: Bengals lead series 7-3-1 and are 4-3 in Philadelphia. ... Eagles are 1-1-1 versus the Bengals under coach Andy Reid. ... Eagles are 5-2 in Thursday games and 2-1 under Reid. ... Eagles have been outscored 75-24 in first quarter this season. ... Bengals lead the league with 42 sacks. ... Bengals are 2-1 versus NFC East this season.
Assessing the offenses---
Eagles: They struggled for most of the game at Tampa before rallying for two fourth-quarter touchdowns.Nick Foles’ 381 passing yards were the most ever by an Eagles’ rookie quarterback. Bryce Brown was held in check, rushing for just 6 yards on 12 carries. The offensive line had a rough game, surrendering six sacks. Brent Celek (concussion) will not play tonight. Clay Harbor will start in his spot.
Bengals: Andy Dalton is tied for second in the AFC with 25 touchdown passes but also has thrown 14 interceptions. A.J. Green is his favorite target, with 10 TD's, 79 receptions and 1,151 yards, but tight end Jermaine Gresham (55 receptions) is also a threat. They have a balanced attack that also features running back BenJarvus Green-Ellis. He’s rushed for 974 yards on 238 carries.
Assessing the defenses---
Eagles: The pass rush was better against the Bucs under new defensive line coach Tommy Brasher. Rookie defensive tackle Fletcher Cox is coming on strong. They have flip-flopped rookie linebacker Mychal Kendricks by moving him to weakside linebacker. Jamar Chaney is back as the starter on the strong side. Cornerbacks Nnamdi Asomugha and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie are solid but still struggling a little with zone coverage. Free safety Colt Anderson played well in place of injured Kurt Coleman on Sunday.
Bengals: They have a terrific pass rush. Geno Atkins leads all NFL defensive tackles with 10.5 sacks. End Michael Johnson has 8.5 sacks. They have 21 takeaways (10 interceptions, 11 fumble recoveries). Rookie free-agent linebacker Vontaze Burfict has been a pleasant surprise.
Eagles guard Evan Mathis (69) vs. Atkins (97). This is a matchup between two potential Pro Bowlers. Mathis is having a pretty good season, but will face his biggest challenge against Atkins. Don’t expect the Eagles to give Mathis a lot of help. They’re confident he can handle Atkins alone.
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