November 30, 2019
After two tough matchups at home against the Patriots and Seahawks — both losses — the Eagles finally get a break as they'll travel to Miami to take on the 2-9 Dolphins in Week 13. Not only will the Eagles be looking to get back to .500, but they'll also have a chance to draw even with the Cowboys (6-6), who lost to the Bills on Thanksgiving, for the lead in the NFC East.
We've already broken down some key matchups, analyzed the injuries on both sides of the ball, and provided our own predictions (and rounded up some predictions from other local and national outlets) to get you ready for Eagles vs. Dolphins. Now, as we do every week, let's take a look at some numbers to watch in this one in the form of our five over/unders for Week 13...
That's the current total being offered over at Bovada, and to be honest, this is one of the hardest Eagles games all season to get a read on what the final point total might look like. The Eagles should be able to score against Miami, but given how their offense looked the last two weeks, it's hard to feel confident. Could they go off for 30-plus points? Absolutely. Could they also struggle to score 20? That's certainly a possibility, especially with Jordan Howard out and Zach Ertz' status still very much up in the air.
On the other side, you have a bad Miami offense going up against an Eagles defense that has played quite well of late. So while the Eagles could score north of 30 points, that still might not be enough to get to the 45 points needed to reach the over.
That seems to be the consensus among our writers this week, as everyone is picking the Eagles to win, but no one has this game hitting the over.
Through the Eagles' first 11 games, Carson Wentz has turned the ball over 11 times (6 INT, 5 FL). But five of those 11 turnovers have come in the Eagles last two games, including four last Sunday against Seattle. That's a troubling trend heading into Sunday's game in Miami, as one of the few ways the Dolphins can pull off the upset is by forcing the Eagles into mistakes, namely turnovers.
Without a healthy Jordan Howard, Wentz has dropped back over 100 times in the last two weeks, despite not having any of his three starting wideouts from Week 1. That's poor coaching. Sure, the Eagles were without Howard, but they had Miles Sanders, Jay Ajayi and Boston Scott and still only ran the ball 18 times each game. On top of that, they were without Lane Johnson for most of both games and without Brandon Brooks for the majority of the Seahawks game, and they still failed to run the ball. That's unacceptable and seems like a sure-fire way to put your franchise quarterback in harm's way. Needless to say, that's what happened, with Wentz coughing the ball up several times to go along with eight sacks in the last two weeks.
On Sunday, the Birds will have Johnson and Brooks back. But they should still look to get back to running the ball more, even without Howard, who will again be sidelined with the stinger he suffered back in Week 9. If they do that, Wentz should be able to limit his mistakes (read: turnovers) and the Birds should fly back north with a much-needed victory.
The Dolphins quarterback hasn't quite brought any FitzMagic this season, but what can really be expected playing on a team that has traded away many of its best players and seems to be simply playing out the schedule with the hopes of landing a high draft pick?
This season, he's averaging just 190 yards per game this season, but since reclaiming his starting job back in Week 6, Fitzpatrick is averaging 244.3 pass yards per game. However, he's also been sacked nearly four times per game in those six starts, which doesn't bode well for the 37-year-old Harvard grad on Sunday, as he'll be facing and Eagles defense that sacked Russell Wilson six times last week while holding the Seahawks to just 174 passing yards. In fact, over the last five games (since allowing Kirk Cousins to go for 325 yards), the Eagles defense has been holding opponents to just 173.6 passing yards per game.
All that being said, if this game goes the way many are expecting it to go with the Eagles getting out to a sizable lead, then that should leave ample opportunities for Fitzpatrick to rack up passing yards. It probably won't be pretty, but I think he goes over the 200 mark in this one, but not by much.
We briefly mentioned earlier that Jordan Howard is again out for the Eagles on Sunday. We also mentioned that in the previous two games, the Eagles running backs only carried the ball 18 times in each of those games with Sanders not carrying the ball more than 12 times in either game. That likely won't fly on Sunday.
Ideally, at least in this writer's opinion, the Eagles' carries should look something like this on Sunday against the Dolphins:
• Miles Sanders: 15 carries
• Jay Ajayi: 8-10 carries
• Boston Scott: 3-5 carries
That would put the Eagles somewhere between 25-30 carries, which is what they should've been doing in close games against the Seahawks and Patriots, especially with so many receivers sidelined. They should be getting reinforcements on Sunday, but that shouldn't change things. The Eagles still need to run the ball to win. And if this game plays out like we're predicting, the Eagles should be able to build a lead and then use their rushing attack to waste some clock in the second half. Of course, if that's not the case, there might be bigger problems for this Eagles team than how many times they ran the ball.
Speaking of those reinforcements at wideout, let's talk about Alshon Jeffery (ankle) and Nelson Agholor (knee). Both these guys have been having down years and are among the Eagles worst offenders when it comes to dropped passes this season. Still, they're a huge improvement over what the Eagles have been trotting out there in their absence. And the Birds might need them this week more than any other as Zach Ertz, the Eagles only reliable pass catcher the last few weeks, could miss Sunday's game with a hamstring injury.
So, how much will these two be able to contribute after only practicing fully one day in the last two weeks? Given the sorry state of the Dolphins' secondary, it could be quite a bit. Assuming Ertz can't play in this one, look for Jeffery and Agholor to haul in the bulk of Wentz' passes against Miami. And if the run-pass ratio looks anything like the last two weeks — again, please no — there should be plenty of opportunities for this duo to contribute immediately.
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