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October 24, 2019

Eagles vs. Bills: Five matchups to watch

The Philadelphia Eagles will head to Buffalo this week to take on the Bills in the third installment of a rare three-game road trip. The Bills' offense is underwhelming, but they have a very good defense.

Here are our five matchups to watch:

1) The Eagles' receivers vs. the Bills' secondary

The Bills' secondary is probably the strength of their team, as they have an excellent young corner in Tre'Davious White to go along with one of the best safety duos in the NFL in Micah Hyde and former Eagles draft pick Jordan Poyer. The rest of the secondary is rounded out by second-year pro Levi Wallace on the outside, and nickel corner Taron Johnson.

The Bills' pass defense is allowing 201.3 passing yards per game (4th best in the NFL), 5.9 yards per pass attempt (3rd best in the NFL), and they have allowed just one pass of 40+ yards (tied for best in the NFL).

That group will be facing a set of Eagles receivers that has proven to be one of the worst units in the NFL, ever since DeSean Jackson got hurt. As we pointed out in detail on Wednesday, the Eagles' receivers have failed to get separation, rack up yards after the catch, and, you know, catch the football.

If there's maybe one thing to note in favor of the Eagles here, it's that they're have a big size advantage over the Bills' corners and safeties:

Player Height Weight 
 CB Tre'Davious White5'11 191 
 CB Levi Wallace6'0 179 
 SCB Taron Johnson5'11 192 
S Jordan Poyer 6'0 191 
 S Micah Hyde6'0 197 

As you can see, the entirety of the Bills' secondary is sub-200 pounds. Maybe this is the week the Eagles' 50-50 ball receivers show up!

That feels unlikely. The Eagles' receivers haven't been effective against anyone, really, with the exception of Jackson Week 1 against Washington. If there's maybe a silver lining here for the Birds, it's almost as if the Bills' biggest strength will go to waste against a wide receiving corps that's not going to produce anyway.

2) Zach Ertz and Dallas Goedert vs. the Bills' linebackers and safeties

So if the wide receivers are going to have trouble making plays against this Bills defense, Ertz and Goedert will have to step up this week.

I wonder how well the Bills play against tight ends. Hang on...

Oh. It turns out they've allowed the second-fewest receptions, second-fewest yards, and no TDs to opposing tight ends this season.

3) Lorenzo Alexander and Jordan Phillips vs. Isaac Seumalo

If I'm looking at this matchup from the Bills' perspective, I'd be trying to make Seumalo deal with an assortment of Alexander and Phillips on passing downs.

Alexander likes to rush from the inside, and offensive guards often have trouble with his quickness, as shown here against the Titans. Watch Alexander smoke the LG.


Meanwhile, Phillips is a 6'5, 329-pound DT who is starting to come into his own this year, who wins with pure power. Again, the Bills are able to take advantage of the Titans' LG.


I'd be trying to set up one-on-one blocks on the left side of the Eagles' line if I'm Sean McDermott.

4) Brandon Graham vs. Cody Ford

The matchup I like the best for the Eagles on the defensive side of the ball is Brandon Graham against Eagles fan draft crush Cody Ford, who has struggled in pass protection for the Bills this season. The Bills employ an unorthodox RT rotation, actually, with Ford splitting time with former NFC East (Washington) offensive lineman Ty Nsekhe.

Ford is playing somewhere around 2/3 of the Bills' offensive snaps, and he has had more than his share of ugly moments as a rookie.

Here he is against the Patriots:


Against the Titans:


Against the Giants:


Aaaaand the Giants again: 


Graham has begun to play well this season, and must dominate this matchup.

5) The turnover battle

My high-level #analysis here is that turnovers are important. OK, obviously you know that already, but in this matchup it is crucial that the Eagles make a play here or there.

Josh Allen reminds me a little of Carson Wentz in terms of his physical ability. He's big, he can run, and he has a cannon for an arm. However, he is still only a second-year quarterback with accuracy and decision-making issues that he still needs to iron out.

On the season, Allen has thrown 7 picks and has fumbled 5 times. In 2018, he had 12 picks and 8 fumbles in 11 starts. Can someone make a big play?

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