The Eagles (1-1) became the second team in two weeks to fall victim to Fitzmagic, allowing four touchdown passes from Ryan Fitzpatrick and 436 total yards to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in a 27-21 loss.
Some blown coverages and bad tackling led to the Bucs putting up 21 first-half points. Injuries to left tackle Jason Peters and wide receiver Mike Wallace conspired against Nick Foles, who was hit frequently and couldn’t get going until the Bucs softened up in the second half while sitting on a double-digit lead.
Foles returns to the bench Sunday as the Eagles welcome back Carson Wentz, who makes his anticipated season debut just nine months removed from surgery to repair two torn knee ligaments.
Wentz set a franchise record by throwing 33 touchdowns last year – in just 13 games – and appeared to be the front-runner for league MVP before shredding his knee against the Rams on the road.
But even with Wentz’s return, the Eagles are hurting at receiver and running back and their defense must regroup after an atypical undressing.
The Colts (1-1) bounced back from an unraveling in the fourth quarter against the Bengals in the season opener to stomp on Washington at FedEx Field, 21-9.
Indianapolis blew a 13-point lead to Cincy and allowed 17 unanswered points in the fourth but never trailed against Washington and held Jay Gruden’s offense to just three field goals.
First-year Colts coach Frank Reich, who won a Super Bowl ring last year as Doug Pederson’s offensive coordinator, has brought some of Peterson’s high-percentage passing schemes to the heartland.
Luck, who missed all of last year, has completed 71 percent of his passes through two games, although he’s been picked off three times and thrown only four touchdowns.
Reich’s knowledge of Pederson’s tendencies and play calls will force the Eagles’ coach to be more creative than usual in his weekly preparation.
Bad became worse for Eagles wide receivers when Mike Wallace went down with a fractured fibula early against Tampa.
The Eagles were already without Alshon Jeffery and Mack Hollins. They’re down to just one of their top four wide receivers and brought back street free agent receiver Jordan Matthews because they needed someone who could play immediately.
The running game is also big question mark with Darren Sproles nursing a hamstring injury and unlikely to play for the second straight game.
Top running back Jay Ajayi injured his back against the Bucs and won’t be at full strength if he plays against the Colts. Left tackle Jason Peters left the Bucs game early with a quad strain. He’s expected to play but he also won’t be full strength.
The Colts are licking wounds, too. Left tackle Anthony Castanzo missed the first two games with a hamstring injury and isn’t certain to play. Pro Bowl wideout T.Y. Hilton (quad) and running back Marlon Mack (foot/hamstring) also missed Wednesday’s practice, as did tight end Jack Doyle (hip), a significant part of their blocking schemes.
Here are some things for NFL betting fans to consider in this matchup:
Everything about this matchup screams low-scoring game, from Carson Wentz’s rustiness to the familiarity between the coaching staffs to the injuries impacting both team’s skill-position players to the average points per game scored by each team. Quarterbacks coming off ACL surgeries commonly take several weeks before they’re back to original form.
It won’t help that the Eagles are so severely banged up at receiver and running back that Matthews, whom the Patriots released in training camp, might have to log significant snaps against the Colts, and Josh Adams, a rookie free agent promoted from the practice squad, could get into the running back rotation.
The Eagles are averaging just under 20 points per game. The Colts are averaging 22 points per game. None of the past six teams the Eagles have played at Lincoln Financial Field has scored more than 20 points, including the playoffs. No opponent scored more than 24 points last year at the Linc, and the Eagles allowed an average of 13.3 points per game at home.
The Colts don’t have an explosive offense and have some injuries on their offensive line. Four of their five touchdowns have come from inside the opponent’s 10-yard-line. They don’t have nearly as many explosive weapons as the Bucs have.
The Eagles are full strength on defense and coming home, where they’re difficult to score on, after an embarrassing effort against the Bucs. The Eagles will be looking to make a defensive statement against a Colts team that’s scored five touchdowns in eight quarters.
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