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August 24, 2023

Eagles over/unders: Will Tanner McKee shine in preseason finale?

How will Tanner McKee look against the Colts in the Eagles' final preseason game? Will Gardner Minshew get some revenge? That and more in our over/unders feature.

Preseason finales are a wholly unspectacular affair, but with a backup quarterback debate in Philly brewing and these over/unders, I'm going to add some juice to your Thursday night. Before the Eagles take on the Colts at Lincoln Financial Field, here are five over/unders I will be keeping my eye on. 

These are my own made-up lines, not something taken from a sportsbook. I mean, you would never even be able to bet on some of these things, duh. Anyway, let's get after it...

Tanner McKee passing yards: 147.5

Tanner McKee is the man keeping the Eagles' preseason spicy despite Nick Sirianni's desire to essentially not play any starters from his Super Bowl-caliber roster. Marcus Mariota is the Birds' QB2 currently, but I'm not so sure that should be the case, as can be seen in my 2023 NFL backup quarterback rankings. I'm loving what I'm seeing from McKee.

In the Birds' preseason opener, in Baltimore, McKee threw for 148 yards (7.4 yards per attempt). Against the Browns last week, McKee threw for 147 yards (8.2 YPA). Let's split the difference and list his line at 147.5.

I'll smack the over in the hopes that there's some semblance of good football on display against the Colts. McKee might only be throwing to the likes of Brady Russell and Johnny King, but he's looked sharper each successive preseason game. Success in the NFL isn't linear, especially with something as inherently random as August football, but the vibes are good from McKee. Roll with it.


Eagles vs. Colts fights: 0.5

In the most noteworthy Eagles moment of the summer, the Eagles' joint practice against the Colts on Tuesday culminated in a practice-ending brawl. Tensions were high. Jason Kelce went after Indianapolis' Zaire Franklin after a late hit on Kenny Gainwell. Jason Kelce's post-practice comments can be found here and if you want a play-by-play from a reporter on the scene, this quick TikTok will get you up to speed:

So, Kelce obviously won't be playing on Thursday night, but I would expect some of Tuesday's energy to carry over to the Linc. One iffy hit on either side could cause a shoving match to break up. "Fight" here does not equate to another sideline-clearing ruckus, but something that, at least, would result in some penalties. I think Derek Barnett might be up to the challenge!


Trey Sermon rushing yards: 53.5

The Eagles' running back rotation remains hotly debated as August wears on. From what I've seen in training camp, my expectation is that Kenny Gainwell will get more carries than any other back on the roster and that D'Andre Swift will lead the RBs in receptions. 

The Eagles have switched up dressing their RBs in the preseason, still (intentionally) not giving clarity on how the room will play out. Gainwell and Boston Scott didn't suit up against the Ravens. Swift then sat against Cleveland. 

With Rashaad Penny still in the mix as a top-four back on the roster and his injury history, I expect there to be a healthy dose of Trey Sermon in this matchup with Indy. Sermon is destined for the practice squad, but he ripped off a 33-yard touchdown run last Thursday under the bright lights in South Philly:

Sermon totaled 21 yards  (2.3 yards per carry) in the first preseason game and 54 (10.8 YPC) in the second. He had one touchdown in each game. I'll say he finishes just under 53 yards and we see more Kennedy Brooks usage as RB6 than we have at any point in 2023.


Gardner Minshew touchdown passes: 1.5

Gardner Minshew revenge game? I wouldn't quite go that far. Minshew started four games (three meaningful ones) over the last two seasons in Philly as Jalen Hurts' backup. He had a key win in the Meadowlands in 2021 that helped the team make the postseason. He's now in Indianapolis as the veteran behind first-round QB Anthony Richardson after former Birds offensive coordinator Shane Steichen became their head coach. 

How will he perform against his old squad?

These are Minshew's stats from the Colts' first two preseason games:

 OpponentC/ATT Yds TD 
Bills 6/6 72 
Bears  13/15107 

I'm predicting he throws exactly one against one of the Eagles' practice squad cornerbacks and has a characteristically over-the-top celebration. 


How many times your Amazon Prime stream will lag: 1.5

Miss a chance to throw shade at a gigantic company, one that's ruining the simplicity of people turning on their TVs and watching football? I would never. 

The Eagles are a part of Amazon's Thursday Night Football coverage this week, but, rest assured, Philadelphians. The game will air on the local FOX station across the area due to the league's broadcast rules for a given team's geographical region.

If you're outside of the Delaware Valley, I feel sorry for you on a lot of levels, but especially when it comes to watching the Birds.   


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