Five takeaways from Eagles’ 43-24 win vs. Titans

It’s Dallas Week in Philadelphia.

The Eagles will travel to Texas Thursday for a Thanksgiving showdown with the Cowboys, and the winner of the divisional clash will determine who gets to sit alone atop the NFC East.

But before the Eagles play the ‘Boys for the first time this season, here are five takeaways from Philadelphia’s 43-24 win over the Tennessee Titans on Sunday:

1. Somehow, special teams continues to be one of the Eagles’ greatest weapons. On the opening kickoff vs. Tennessee, rookie wide receiver Josh Huff set a franchise record with a 107-yard touchdown return, setting the tone for an afternoon of special teams production. Rookie kicker Cody Parkey saw his streak of consecutive field goals come to a halt, but he still made all but one of six tries to cap off five scoring drives for the Eagles.

2. LeSean McCoy looked like the LeSean McCoy of old against Tennessee. Although he certainly hasn’t been nonexistent this season, McCoy came into the Eagles’ Week 12 game having averaged under four yards per carry. On Sunday, however, the running back helped take pressure off quarterback Mark Sanchez, who completed 30 of 43 passes but had two interceptions in his third start for the injured Nick Foles. McCoy finished with 130 yards and a touchdown on just 21 carries.

3. The Titans got a valiant effort from rookie quarterback Zach Mettenberger, who threw for 345 yards against an Eagles secondary that again struggled to prevent big plays. But he was also no match for Philadelphia’s pass rush, which came alive to the tune of five sacks and three forced fumbles. Cornerback Brandon Boykin had his first interception of the year to add to the defense’s performance, but outside linebackers Connor Barwin (2 sacks, 1 forced fumble) and Trent Cole (2 sacks) were the stars.

4. Although he had two turnovers, Sanchez found a way to spread the ball around vs. Tennessee. Nine different players caught a pass from Sanchez on the day, with rookie receiver Jordan Matthews (6 receptions, 77 yards) leading the bunch. Tight end James Casey was responsible for the Eagles’ lone third-quarter score, a 14-yard TD on just his third catch of the season that extended Philadelphia’s lead to 17 points.

5. With around 10 minutes remaining in the Eagles’ game against the Titans, broadcasts revealed chants of “We want Dallas” from the Lincoln Financial Field crowd. Several Eagles have already gone on to address their longstanding rivalry with the Cowboys, who will host the first of the teams’ two meetings this year. But Philadelphia could be without a few players come Thursday. Tight end Zach Ertz and inside linebacker Emmanuel Acho suffered injuries vs. Tennessee and their status remains unclear.

3 questions for Eagles vs. Titans

Coming off a 53-20 defeat at the hands of the Green Bay Packers last week, Philadelphia returns home Sunday for a showdown with the AFC South’s Tennessee Titans.

Here are three questions to consider as the Eagles look to get back in the win column against the Titans (2-8):

Will the Eagles be able to control the ball?

The Eagles have struggled in the turnover department for much of this season, and that finally caught up to them when they traveled to Lambeau Field last week. Mark Sanchez has started two games in place of injured quarterback Nick Foles thus far, and each start had contrasting results. Sanchez had two fumbles and two interceptions against the Packers. Controlling the ball and limiting turnovers has been a season-long goal for Philadelphia, but if it wants to play to its potential against a struggling Titans defense, it figures to be vital once again.

Can the Eagles restart their streak of takeaways?

After 22 consecutive games of forcing at least one turnover, the Eagles defense had trouble making plays against Aaron Rodgers and the Packers. Granted, Rodgers and the Packers are a proven force to be reckoned with. Against Tennessee, which is leaning on rookie quarterback Zach Mettenberger for guidance, Philadelphia could have plenty of opportunities to restart its streak. And if the Eagles’ own turnover woes continue, forcing takeaways could be crucial to coming away with a win.

Can the Eagles limit the Titans’ third-down passing attack?

At times, the Eagles have struggled to prevent underneath passes, particularly in the middle of the field where they’re missing injured linebacker DeMeco Ryans. On the other side of things, the Titans have relied heavily on tight end Delanie Walker in the passing game, finding the veteran for a team-high 512 yards this season. Philadelphia’s linebacker corps, including Mychal Kendricks and substitute Casey Matthews, could play a big role in preventing the Titans from clawing away at the Eagles defense.

Other Eagles notes: Rookie kicker Cody Parkey has converted 15 consecutive field goals for Philadelphia; the Eagles have lost each of their last four games against the Titans after going 6-0 against the franchise when it was known as the Houston Oilers.

Midweek update: Eagles sign Carmichael, send Wolff to IR

Here are some Wednesday updates as the Philadelphia Eagles prepare for their Week 12 game against the Tennessee Titans:

The Eagles swapped players in their secondary this week, sending safety Earl Wolff to Injured Reserve and welcoming a familiar face in cornerback Roc Carmichael.

Wolff, a fifth-round draft pick in 2013, competed for a starting job over the summer and filled in for Nate Allen against the Houston Texans this season. But Wolff was inactive the last two weeks and, according to Philly.com, hasn’t fully overcome a knee injury that sidelined him for five games last year.

Carmichael, a victim of final roster cuts in August, will replace Wolff on the active roster after spending 13 games with the Eagles in 2013. Originally signed off the Houston Texans practice squad last September, he figures to provide depth in Philadelphia’s CB group.

The Eagles also gave rookie cornerback Jaylen Watkins, a fifth-round pick this year, practice repetitions at safety, according to Bob Grotz of the Delaware County Daily Times. Watkins played both CB and S at the University of Florida, so he could see an increased role at the back end of the secondary thanks to Wolff’s absence.

With Wolff out for the remainder of the season, the Eagles’ safety corps now features Watkins, Chris Maragos and Chris Prosinksi behind Allen and Malcolm Jenkins.

Eagles head coach Chip Kelly, according to NJ.com’s Matt Lombardo, said that quarterback Nick Foles (broken collarbone) has been cleared to work out. Additional X-rays are required before Foles can be reevaluated and potentially return to the field. But initial reports that Foles would be sidelined between six and eight weeks could prove to be premature.

10 one-liners: Eagles blanked by Packers in 53-20 loss

The Philadelphia Eagles got a taste of their own medicine Sunday. A week after routing the Carolina Panthers, the team found itself on the other end of a blowout at Lambeau Field, struggling to find any answers for the momentum of the Green Bay Packers in a 53-20 loss, the Eagles’ most lopsided defeat of the season.

Here are 10 one-liners that sum up the Eagles’ third loss of the season:

Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers, who has now thrown 29 touchdowns since his last interception at Green Bay’s Lambeau Field, carved up the Eagles secondary early and often, finding wide receiver Jordy Nelson on a 64-yard pass three plays into the game and finishing with 341 yards and three scores through the air.

Almost every part of the Eagles defense went downhill a week after showing signs of dominance against the Panthers, as Rodgers consistently operated out of a clean pocket (Vinny Curry had Philadelphia’s lone sack of the afternoon) and helped both Nelson and Randall Cobb top 100 yards receiving.

A week after turning in perhaps his best performance of the year, cornerback Bradley Fletcher was on the wrong end of a number of the Packers’ big plays, surrendering two of Rodgers’ touchdown passes in the first half.

The defense wasn’t the only unit to blame for the Eagles’ struggles, though, as Mark Sanchez was responsible for four turnovers in his second start at quarterback for the injured Nick Foles.

Sanchez found two of Philadelphia’s most productive receivers, Jeremy Maclin and Jordan Matthews, on second-half touchdown passes, but the scores only came after two interceptions and just as many fumbles that left the Eagles trailing by more than 30 points.

The first interception by Sanchez was returned 52 yards for a touchdown by linebacker Julius Peppers, giving Green Bay a 33-point lead early in the third quarter, while one of the quarterback’s fumbles was returned 49 yards for a score by cornerback Casey Hayward in the fourth quarter.

To credit Sanchez, the Eagles offensive line wasn’t exactly superior, either, as the Packers got three early sacks and held Philadelphia running back LeSean McCoy to less than four yards per carry.

The turnovers seemed to put the nail in the coffin for the Eagles, who trailed the Packers 17-0 after one quarter thanks to a Mason Crosby field goal, Rodgers’ first touchdown pass and a 75-yard punt return touchdown by safety Micah Hyde.

One of the few bright spots in the Eagles’ out-of-sync defeat was the performance of Matthews, who led the team with 107 receiving yards despite a notable first-half drop and has now scored four of his six touchdowns in the last three weeks.

Rookie kicker Cody Parkey was another highlight for the Eagles in an otherwise flat performance, converting two 33-yard field goals in freezing temperatures to extend his streak of consecutive field goals to 15.

Now 7-3 on the season, the Eagles remain ahead of the Dallas Cowboys (7-3) atop the NFC East. Philadelphia will look to bounce back when it returns home on Nov. 23 for a matchup with the AFC South’s Tennessee Titans (2-7), who will be on a short week after a Monday Night Football showdown with the Pittsburgh Steelers.

3 questions for Eagles vs. Packers

Coming off a 45-21 rout of the Carolina Panthers last week, Philadelphia hits the road for a clash with the Green Bay Packers, one of the consensus elite teams in the conference.

Here are three questions to consider as the Eagles look to extend their winning streak against the Packers (6-3):

Will the Eagles be able to limit Aaron Rodgers and the Packers’ passing attack?

The Eagles secondary did its job for much of last week’s blowout win over the Panthers. But that was against the Panthers. Philadelphia will face perhaps its toughest challenge of the season to date when it takes on Aaron Rodgers and Green Bay’s array of aerial weapons. The Eagles defense has been monumental when it comes to forcing turnovers and scoring points, but it’s also struggled to prevent big plays. Against Packers wide receivers Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb, the Birds could have their work cut out for them.

Can the Eagles get pressure on Rodgers up front?

A week after getting to Panthers quarterback Cam Newton for nine sacks, the Eagles’ pass rush could be the x-factor in Sunday’s contest. Rodgers has thrown 15 touchdowns and no interceptions in home games at Lambeau Field, so it could be vital for Philadelphia to attack him in the pocket. Rodgers has proven he’s capable of extending plays with his legs, too, so an aggressive performance by the Eagles’ entire front seven, from Connor Barwin and Trent Cole to Fletcher Cox and Bennie Logan, could be invaluable.

Can Mark Sanchez manage another efficient offensive performance?

Even with a virtually nonexistent rushing attack, the Eagles offense manufactured four scoring drives with Mark Sanchez at quarterback last week. Making his second start in place of the injured Nick Foles, his decision-making could play a big role in whether or not Philadelphia is able to sustain success against Green Bay. The Packers boast a productive rotation of pass rushers that includes Clay Matthews (6.5 sacks) and Julius Peppers (5 sacks), so Sanchez could face one of his biggest challenges of the year.

Other Eagles notes: Another unit to keep an eye on is special teams, which has scored an NFL-leading five touchdowns and converted 16 of 17 field goal attempts for the Eagles this year. Rookie wide receiver Jordan Matthews has hauled in three touchdowns in the Eagles’ last two games, so he could be a primary target for Sanchez once again. The Eagles hosted workouts for free agent quarterbacks Terrelle Pryor and Thad Lewis this week, according to a report by Pro Football Talk.

10 one-liners: Eagles fire on all cylinders in 45-21 win over Panthers

A week after losing three starters to long-term injuries, the Philadelphia Eagles might have played their most complete game of the year. Despite missing the quarterbacks on both sides of the ball in Nick Foles and DeMeco Ryans, the Eagles fired on all cylinders Monday night, forcing five turnovers and racking up big plays in a 45-21 win over the Carolina Panthers.

Here are 10 one-liners that sum up the Eagles’ seventh win of the season:

With Foles (broken collarbone) absent, Mark Sanchez made his first appearance as the Eagles’ starting quarterback and probably couldn’t have had a more promising debut, posting a productive performance (20-37, 332 yards, 2 TD) that was defined with boldness and efficiency.

While Sanchez stayed turnover-free and helped the Eagles manufacture five scoring drives, it was Philadelphia’s defense that truly stole the prime time spotlight, sacking Panthers QB Cam Newton nine times, scoring on an interception return and forcing a pair of fumbles.

Aside from two fourth-quarter touchdown passes to rookie receiver Kelvin Benjamin when the Panthers trailed the Eagles by 38 points, Newton was under pressure time and time again, with Connor Barwin, Brandon Graham, Trent Cole, Mychal Kendricks, Fletcher Cox and Vinny Curry all recording at least one sack.

At the back end of the defense, the Eagles also stepped up to feature perhaps the best 2014 performance of starting cornerbacks Cary Williams and Bradley Fletcher, each of whom had an interception–the second of which was returned 34 yards for a touchdown by Fletcher.

The Eagles defense put together another stout performance against the run, too, limiting Panthers backs DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart, who scored Carolina’s first and only first-half TD on a one-yard run, to a combined 67 yards on 24 touches.

Rookie receiver Jordan Matthews was the No. 1 target for Sanchez on the night, and his season-high seven catches for 138 yards and two touchdowns solidified his monumental role in the Eagles’ fast-paced offense.

And speaking of Sanchez, who threw two touchdowns and two interceptions in relief of Foles in Week 9, he seemed to be comfortable and quick on his feet in the pocket, finishing the game having been sacked just once.

It wouldn’t have been a big Eagles win without some electricity from backup running back Darren Sproles, who scored on his lone carry of the game and gave Philadelphia a 10-point first-quarter lead with a 65-yard punt return for a touchdown.

Sproles’ counterpart in the backfield, LeSean McCoy, managed to gain just 19 yards on 12 carries, but he also all but sealed Philadelphia’s victory in the third quarter, following up a deep pass by Sanchez to tight end Brent Celek (5 receptions, 116 yards) with a one-yard run into the end zone.

A week after sitting out against the Texans because of a hamstring injury, Nate Allen had one of his most productive outings opposite Malcolm Jenkins at strong safety, intercepting a deep ball by Newton to give him two consecutive starts with a takeaway.

Now 7-2 on the season, the Eagles have leapfrogged the Dallas Cowboys (7-3) to take sole possession of first place in the NFC East. Philadelphia hits the road on Nov. 16 to take on the NFC North’s second-place Green Bay Packers (6-3).