The Philadelphia Eagles are coming off their most embarrassing loss of the season, to the New York Giants, missing the opportunity to snag the No. 7 seed in the NFC playoff race and get back to .500. Philadelphia begins to climb another mountain toward the playoffs, starting with Sunday's matchup against the New York Jets -- at the same stadium the Eagles took a loss last weekend.
The Jets are mired in last place in the AFC East in Robert Saleh's first year as head coach, yet won last week against the Houston Texans for their third win of the year -- one more victory than the previous season. Saleh will meet another first year head coach in Nick Sirianni, who has the Eagles' offense as the top-ranked rushing unit in football. The Eagles have some history on the line Sunday, as Philadelphia has never lost to the Jets (11-0 all time). Philadelphia's unblemished mark against New York is the best record against any opponent in NFL history.
Can the Jets finally beat the Eagles? Will Philadelphia bounce back from its worst loss of the year? Here's a preview of Sunday's interconference clash:
How to watch
Eagles run offense vs. Jets run defense
The Eagles' run game is the best in the NFL -- and a lot of its success has been formulated with the dual-threat ability of Jalen Hurts. Philadelphia averages 157.9 rushing yards per game (tops in the NFL) and averages 5.1 yards per carry (second in NFL), while its 18 rushing touchdowns are first in the league. Hurts has been the catalyst toward the Eagles' strong run game, rushing for 695 yards and averaging 5.7 yards per carry. He's the main reason the Eagles have rushed for 175 yards in five straight games, their longest such streak since 1950.
The Eagles should have no issue running the ball against the Jets, who have allowed 30 rushing touchdowns this season, the most in the league and three more than the next highest team (Houston). The Jets also allow 4.5 yards per carry, which is seventh-highest in the NFL. New York has allowed 128.7 rushing yards a game, sixth-most in the NFL.
Zach Wilson vs. Eagles pressure
Wilson has been sacked on 10% of his dropbacks, the second-highest rate among the 34 qualified quarterbacks -- that included the four sacks he took last week in his return against the Texans. Pressure on Jets quarterbacks has been a theme this year as they have been pressured on 38% of dropbacks this season, the fourth-highest rate in the league.
This week would be a good one for the Eagles to blitz more. Philadelphia sends just five-plus pass-rushers on 21% of opponent dropbacks (fifth-lowest rate in NFL) and gets pressure on 29% of dropbacks, 21st-best in the league. Their 2.57 seconds of time to generate pressure is sixth-highest in the league, which needs to improve this week in order to rattle Wilson. The Eagles have just 132 pressures on the year, 15th in the NFL.
This should be a "get-right" game for the Eagles, who have the ability to rush for 200 yards again against one of the worst run-stopping units in the league. The Jets have also run the ball efficiently lately, averaging 129.5 rushing yards over the last two games (Eagles have allowed 100-plus rushing yards in eight of their 12 games). Running the ball efficiently is the key for the Jets to stay in the game, but they have also allowed the most passing touchdowns in the NFL -- an opportunity for Hurts to "get right" after his three-interception game last week.
The Jets lead the NFL with 24 turnovers and have the worst turnover margin in the NFL (-15). They are allowing the most points per game (30.4) and the most yards per play (6.1) in the league. This is a matchup the Eagles should win, which was said last week, too.
Score: Eagles 37, Jets 18