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2018 Colts Season Preview: Colts/Eagles, Week 3

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INDIANAPOLIS — How does a matchup with the defending Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles sound?

Honestly, it could be a bit intimidating for a young team like the Indianapolis Colts, but one can imagine they will embrace it as every bit of a measuring stick for their progress.

After all, remember in 2003 when the Colts came back and defeated the reigning Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers, a team their head coach, Tony Dungy, had recently coached? That sounds a bit familiar...

BROADCAST INFORMATION

  • Sunday, Sept. 23, at 1 p.m. ET
  • Philadelphia (Lincoln Financial Field)
  • TV — FOX

ALL-TIME SERIES

  • Colts lead, 10-8. Eagles have won last two dating back to 2010.
  • Last game — Week 2 of 2014. 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

KEY NEW FACES

Colts:

  • OG Quenton Nelson
  • TE Eric Ebron
  • WR Ryan Grant
  • RB Nyheim Hines
  • DT/DE Denico Autry

Eagles:

  • WR Mike Wallace
  • TE Dallas Goedert
  • DL Michael Bennett
  • DT Haloti Ngata
  • LB Corey Nelson

OTHER SIGNIFICANT CHANGES

Colts:

  • The Colts got an almost entirely new coaching staff this offseason, and general manager Chris Ballard went into his second offseason of flipping the roster.
  • With the coaching change came a switch to a 4-3, Tampa-2 style defense from the hybrid 3-4 defense.
  • From 2017 to 2018, there could be as many as a dozen or more new starters.
  • One of those new starters will be at running back. Frank Gore is now on the Miami Dolphins, so a new face will be stepping into the starting tailback spot.

Eagles:

  • There are some adjustments to make on offense for the Eagles, as former offensive coordinator Frank Reich left for the Colts’ head coaching job, and former quarterbacks coach John DeFilippo took the Minnesota Vikings’ offensive coordinator position.
  • The Eagles did an excellent job of replacing what they lost this offseason. They replaced wide receiver Torrey Smith with Mike Wallace, tight end Trey Burton with Dallas Goedert, defensive end Vinny Curry with Michael Bennett, defensive tackle Beau Allen with Haloti Ngata and linebacker Najee Goode with Corey Nelson.

EARLY STORYLINES

  • Frank Reich and Najee Goode Return To Philly — Reich and Goode return to their old stomping grounds after winning a Super Bowl with Philadelphia just seven months prior.
  • A Barometer For The Colts — The Colts are in the midst of a “reload” after turning over much of the roster, front office and coaching staff within the last two offseasons. Because of how they’ve approached building the roster and some of the young talent they’ve acquired in the process, they are probably better than many expect. However, we’ll have an idea of just how good they are when they go up against the best in Week 3.
  • Comparing Offenses — With Reich being an offensive-minded head coach and also having new coordinator Nick Sirianni on board, the Colts’ offense should look much different than in recent years. The template for what it may resemble that many have been using is Philadelphia’s offense from the last couple years when Reich was offensive coordinator. Will the Colts’ new offense resemble Reich’s old one and Doug Pederson’s current one in Philly? We’ll see.
  • Carson Wentz’s Knee — Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz tore an ACL with three games left in the 2017 regular season. From the looks of it, he is making great progress but it’s not known yet whether he will be under center come Week 1. If he is present against the Colts, will he look like the spectacular version of Wentz we saw last year, or will he be knocking off the rust?

INTRIGUING MATCHUPS

  • Colts OG Quenton Nelson vs. Eagles DTs Fletcher Cox/Timmy Jernigan/Haloti Ngata — The Colts’ first-round pick has a tough slate early in the year, and this one may be his toughest early on. Cox is among the best defensive tackles in the league, Ngata may be a Hall of Famer after he retires and Jernigan is another high-quality defender.
  • Colts CB Quincy Wilson vs. Eagles WR Alshon Jeffery — This should be a fun one to watch. Neither player routinely wins with speed, and both have nice size and strength for their respective positions. This should be a physical matchup.

RETURNING LEADERS

Colts:

  • Passing — QB Jacoby Brissett (3,098 yards)
  • Rushing — RB Marlon Mack (358 yards)
  • Receiving — WR T.Y. Hilton (966 yards)
  • Touchdowns — QB Jacoby Brissett, WR T.Y. Hilton, TE Jack Doyle (4)
  • Tackles — LB Antonio Morrison (108 total)
  • Sacks — DE Jabaal Sheard (5.5)
  • Interceptions — S Malik Hooker (3)

Eagles:

  • Passing — QB Carson Wentz (3,296 yards)
  • Rushing — RB Jay Ajayi (408 yards)
  • Receiving — TE Zach Ertz (824 yards)
  • Touchdowns — WR Alshon Jeffery (9)
  • Tackles — LB Nigel Bradham (88)
  • Sacks — DE Brandon Graham (9.5)
  • Interceptions — CB Jalen Mills, S Rodney McLeod, CB Ronald Darby (3)

COMPARING 2017 STATS

Colts:

  • Total offense — 31st (284.8 YPG)
  • Scoring offense — 30th (16.4 PPG)
  • Passing offense — 30th (180.8 YPG)
  • Running offense — 22nd (103.8 YPG)
  • Total defense — 30th (367.1 YPG)
  • Scoring defense — 30th (25.2 PPG)
  • Passing defense — 28th (246.6 YPG)
  • Sacks — 31st (25)
  • Running defense — 26th (120.4 YPG)
  • Time of possession — 22nd (29:41)
  • Turnover margin — 13th (+5)

Eagles:

  • Total offense — 7th (365.8 YPG)
  • Scoring offense — 3rd (28.6 PPG)
  • Passing offense — 13th (233.6 YPG)
  • Running offense — 3rd (132.2 YPG)
  • Total defense — 4th (306.5 YPG)
  • Scoring defense — 4th (18.4 PPG)
  • Passing defense — 17th (227.3 YPG)
  • Sacks — 15th (38)
  • Running defense — 1st (79.2 YPG)
  • Time of possession — 1st (32:41)
  • Turnover margin — 4th (+11)

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