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2018 Colts Preview: Colts/Eagles, Week 3

2016_0827_PHI_2954

INDIANAPOLIS — After controlling last week’s game from start to finish, the Indianapolis Colts (1-1) now take on the defending Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles (1-1).

Colts head coach Frank Reich and linebacker Najee Goode take their first trip back to Philadelphia since winning the championship with them in February. Plus, it is the return of Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz, who tore an ACL and LCL last December.

This will no doubt be an entertaining one to watch.

BROADCAST INFORMATION

  • Sunday, Sept. 23, at 1 p.m. ET
  • Philadelphia; Lincoln Financial Field
  • TV: FOX — Chris Myers (play-by-play), Daryl Johnston (color) and Laura Okmin (sideline)
  • To find out what games will be on in your area, check here
  • Radio: WFNI “1070 The Fan” | WLHK “HANK FM” — Matt Taylor (play-by-play), Jim Sorgi (color) and Caroline Cann (sideline) | ESPN Radio — Jason Benetti (play-by-play), Bill Polian (color) and Sal Paolantonio (sideline)

ALL-TIME SERIES

  • Colts lead, 10-8, and are 0-1 against the Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field. The Eagles have won the last two dating back to 2010.
  • Last game — Week 2 of 2014. The Eagles won, 30-27.

COACHING STAFF

Colts:

  • HC Frank Reich
  • OC Nick Sirianni
  • DC Matt Eberflus
  • STC Bubba Ventrone

Eagles:

  • HC Doug Pederson
  • OC Mike Groh
  • DC Jim Schwartz
  • STC Dave Fipp

LAST WEEK

Colts:

  • Won vs. Washington Redskins (1-1), 21-9 (away)

Eagles:

  • Lost vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-0), 27-21 (away)

INJURY UPDATE

Colts:

  • DT/DE Denico Autry (ankle): OUT — did not practice Wednesday, Thursday and Friday
  • OT Anthony Castonzo (hamstring): OUT — did not practice Wednesday, Thursday and Friday
  • TE Jack Doyle (hip): OUT — did not practice Wednesday, Thursday and Friday
  • S Clayton Geathers (knee/elbow): QUESTIONABLE — did not practice Wednesday, full participant Thursday, did not practice Friday
  • RB Marlon Mack (foot/hamstring): OUT — did not practice Wednesday, Thursday and Friday
  • CB Chris Milton (concussion): QUESTIONABLE — limited participant Wednesday, full participant Thursday and Friday
  • DT Hassan Ridgeway (calf): OUT — did not practice Wednesday, Thursday and Friday
  • CB Quincy Wilson (concussion): OUT — did not practice Wednesday, Thursday and Friday

Eagles:

  • RB Jay Ajayi (back): OUT — did not practice Wednesday, Thursday and Friday
  • RB Corey Clement (quadricep): QUESTIONABLE — full participant Wednesday and Thursday, limited participant Friday
  • LB Kamu Grugier-Hill (groin): QUESTIONABLE — full participant Wednesday and Thursday, limited participant Friday
  • WR Alshon Jeffery (shoulder): QUESTIONABLE — limited participant Wednesday, Thursday and Friday
  • OT Jason Peters (quadricep): QUESTIONABLE — limited participant Wednesday and Thursday, full participant Friday
  • RB Darren Sproles (hamstring): OUT — did not practice Wednesday, Thursday and Friday

STORYLINES/THINGS TO WATCH

  • Luck Vs. Wentz, Part I — In just his second season, Wentz was on pace for the MVP award last year before his injury. Under the tutelage of Reich and head coach Doug Pederson, Wentz quickly became one of the league’s bright young stars — pretty similar to a guy you all know in Andrew Luck, who now partners up with Reich. This is the first chapter in a book of battles between Luck and Wentz that we will likely see very rarely, but maybe someday in a Super Bowl.
  • Reich and Pederson Pushing The Envelope — We’ve already seen it since 2016 with Pederson brilliantly calling plays on offense in Philadelphia, but Reich has already been doing it for these two weeks in Indianapolis. These two mad scientists could really get creative on Sunday, especially since they know each other so well. Especially in the red zone and on third downs, we could really see these offenses shine.
  • Offensive Lines Handling ‘The Waves’ — The Eagles’ defensive line is an overwhelming force. They have high-quality starters and depth behind them, making them an unrelenting unit. The Colts are trying to build their line in the same mold, and have been successful so far. Both offensive lines — while they have good players — could have their hands full with fresh linemen coming through all game.

INTRIGUING MATCHUPS

  • Colts WR T.Y. Hilton vs. Eagles CB Ronald Darby — Darby is arguably the Eagles’ top boundary corner, and he should be seeing plenty of the Colts’ top boundary receiver, Hilton. This week, Hilton commented to the media on Darby, saying, “He’s good. He’s fast. He’s got great instincts. He plays tough. He plays like he’s big. It’s going to be a great challenge. I look forward to it.”
  • Colts LBs/Ss vs. Eagles TEs — The Eagles already had Pro-Bowl tight end Zach Ertz when they selected Dallas Goedert in the second round of this year’s NFL Draft. Both are athletic players who can make plays all over the field. The same can be said about the Colts’ back seven, who will often be tasked with monitoring the tight ends.
  • Colts FS Malik Hooker vs. Eagles WR Nelson Agholor — Agholor should be the Eagles’ top deep threat in this matchup, which means we could see some downfield shots from Wentz to him, with Hooker closing in to make a play. Hooker is tasked with shutting things down downfield, so it would not be surprising to see him making plays on balls intended for Agholor.

REFEREE ASSIGNMENT

BETTING LINE

LEADERS

Colts:

  • Passing — QB Andrew Luck (498 yards)
  • Rushing — RB Jordan Wilkins (101 yards)
  • Receiving — WR T.Y. Hilton (129 yards)
  • Touchdowns — WR T.Y. Hilton and TE Eric Ebron (2)
  • Tackles — LB Darius Leonard (28)
  • Sacks — DL Margus Hunt (2.0)
  • Interceptions — CB Kenny Moore II (1)

Eagles:

  • Passing — QB Nick Foles (451 yards)
  • Rushing — RB Jay Ajayi (85 yards)
  • Receiving — TE Zach Ertz (142 yards)
  • Touchdowns — RB Jay Ajayi (3)
  • Tackles — LB Jordan Hicks (16)
  • Sacks — DT Fletcher Cox (2.5)
  • Interceptions — CB Ronald Darby and CB Rasul Douglas (1)

COMPARING 2018 STATS

Colts:

  • Total offense — 22nd (330.5 YPG)
  • Scoring offense — 18th (22.0 PPG)
  • Passing offense — 19th (241.0 YPG)
  • Running offense — 24th (89.5 YPG)
  • Third down offense — 1st (61.0%)
  • Red zone offense — 10th (66.7%)
  • Total defense — 10th (332.0 YPG)
  • Scoring defense — 14th (21.5 PPG)
  • Passing defense — 17th (249.0 YPG)
  • Sacks — 14th (5)
  • Running defense — 9th (83.0 YPG)
  • Third down defense — 21st (39.0%)
  • Red zone defense — 15th (50.0%)
  • Time of possession — 20th (29:44)
  • Turnover margin — 22nd (-1)

Eagles:

  • Total offense — 24th (322.0 YPG)
  • Scoring offense — 24th (19.5 PPG)
  • Passing offense — 23rd (220.0 YPG)
  • Running offense — 18th (102.0 YPG)
  • Third down offense — 9th (42%)
  • Red zone offense — 5th (83.3%)
  • Total defense — 19th (367.5 YPG)
  • Scoring defense — 8th (19.5 PPG)
  • Passing defense — 28th (309.0 YPG)
  • Sacks — 8th (6)
  • Running defense — 1st (58.5 YPG)
  • Third down defense — 7th (32.0%)
  • Red zone defense — 9th (42.9%)
  • Time of possession — 2nd (33:54)
  • Turnover margin — 21st (-1)

NOTES AND QUOTES

  • The Colts need one win to register 300 in the Indianapolis era. They would be just the 11th team to meet that mark since they moved to Indianapolis in 1984.
  • Luck needs one rushing touchdown to pass Bert Jones (14) for the second-most in franchise history among quarterbacks.
  • Hilton needs 44 receiving yards to become just the fourth Colt to reach 7,000 career receiving yards, joining Marvin Harrison (14,580), Reggie Wayne (14,345) and Raymond Berry (9,275).
  • Kicker Adam Vinatieri needs four converted field goals to pass Morten Andersen (565) for the most in NFL history, six field goal attempts to pass Gary Anderson (672) for the second-most in NFL history, one converted field goal from 50-plus yards to pass Andersen (40) for the sixth-most in NFL history, two points to join Andersen as the only players in NFL history to score at least 2,500 points.
  • Colts head coach Frank Reich on his communication with Eagles head coach Doug Pederson this week: “Yeah. We texted back and forth a little bit this morning. Probably won’t have a ton of communication. Doug and I are very, very close, I mean very close. I am as close with Doug as I am with anybody in this profession. I just think the world of him. I think he’s a superior coach. He’s an incredible coach and an incredible person. So yeah, he and I are very close. But you know in this business, we are at work. So we will have some communication I am sure. I sent him a text. I told him it was a little bit odd. When we get the scouting report on the opponent and the way that we do our scouting reports the opponent’s head coach’s picture is always on it. I just texted him and said it was odd seeing his face as the opponent. I have a lot of respect for Doug and the job that he has done there in Philadelphia. He deserves a lot of credit.”
  • Reich on returning to Philadelphia: “Yeah, it’s special. A lot of times in this business, usually when you are going back some place, you are usually going back to some place you got fired from and so this isn’t like that. I have nothing but great memories and tremendous experience in the two years there. I couldn’t have a higher opinion of the organization and the people there. But at the end of the day, we are all after the same thing. I owe a lot to that organization because they helped give me the opportunity that I have right now to be the head coach here. But it’s exciting to go back and to be able to compete against the defending Super Bowl champions and that’s what we plan on doing.”
  • Reich on if he’ll spend more time with the defense this week: “Honestly, Flus (Matt Eberflus) and I had a conversation or two, nothing too dramatic, a few things here and there. Not anything that would be over the top. Again, I always say this, my experience is if you try to say too much it just confuses the matter. So you give a few personnel things, a few philosophical things, maybe one or two things to look for and then you let our defense play the way we are playing. Play our game, it’s about what we do and Flus knows this. Flus knows this offense, I mean he has gone up against it a bunch in the last couple years as well.”
  • Colts defensive coordinator Matt Eberflus on speaking with Reich about Philadelphia’s offense: “He hasn’t said one word to me about it. I’m teasing (laughs). Yeah, we have had a couple conversations.”
  • Colts offensive line coach Dave DeGuglielmo on the challenges that a Jim Schwartz defense (Eagles DC) poses to an offensive line: "Oh, I don't have enough time in the day to talk about it. His guys play hard, they play fast. He has a unique style of play in terms of how his defensive ends play with width. They're very much a get-off-the-ball team. They have very intricate third-down packages. They play multiple fronts. They play multiple coverages. They do things that, where one team may do two or three, he does five or six. He is a great coach – he’s always been a great defensive coach. His schemes don't surprise me at all. They're the same they were when he was at Tennessee, and at Detroit, and at Buffalo. I mean, he does what he does, and he does it well. There's a reason he sticks with what he does. So, we have a big, big challenge ahead, for sure.”

NEXT WEEK

Colts:

  • Houston Texans (0-2) (home)

Eagles:

  • Tennessee Titans (1-1) (away)

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