Monday Six Pack: Eagles at Colts

The Eagles first week was defined by a troublesome first-half performance that resolved itself in the second. That was against a Jaguars team that spent Sunday getting stomped by the Kirk Cousins-led Washington Redskins.

A similar performance for the Eagles against the Indianapolis Colts will almost definitely put them in the same spot as Washington – at 1-1.

Andrew Luck, T.Y. Hilton and a host of talent awaits the Eagles. Here are the six keys to the game on Monday night.

Eagles offensive line – The Eagles learned this week that for most of the season, they would be without two starting members of the offensive line. Nick Foles is going to need protection against the Colts for the Eagles to have success. Whether it is Wade Smith stepping right in or Dennis Kelly and Andrew Gardner filling the void, it will be another tall order for the Eagles.

Bounce back for Foles – Foles was horrible in the first half of the Eagles Week 1 win against the Jaguars. He got better in the second half, but was still shaky. Anything close to that will not start the Eagles at 2-0 on the season. A lot of this week rests on Foles performance, how he finds his receivers, holding possession of the ball and limiting mistakes. Foles said he knows he’s better than what fans saw in Week 1. This would be a huge opportunity to prove it.

Colts wide receivers vs. Eagles secondary – When the Eagles played the Jaguars in Week 1, they played three rookie receivers. Only one really burned the Eagles, as Allen Hurns caught two touchdown passes in the early stages of the game. This week, the Eagles defense gets Reggie Wayne, Hilton and Hakeem Nicks as the top three receivers. Hilton demands strong coverage. Wayne is always dangerous. Nicks is a long-time foe. Together, with Luck at quarterback, this group could be lethal.

Dome sweet dome – The Eagles were a very strong road team in 2013, going 6-2 in games on the road. But with Luck on their side, the Colts have dominated at home. Since Luck joined the NFL, the Colts are 13-3 at home compared to a 9-7 record on the road. Playing in the dome of Lucas Oil Stadium is one of the challenges to this game.

Special teams success – The Eagles special teams may have been the best part of their game in Week 1, and it goes far beyond the kicker. Special teams made a real impact in the early portion of the game. It is particularly the kickoff team that needs to keep the opposing offense on its heels early by forcing difficult field position.

Eagles wide receivers vs. Colts secondary – This is more a call for the Eagles wide receivers than a look into the Colts secondary. Until Jeremy Maclin’s 68-yard touchdown catch, the Eagles receivers were mainly invisible for most of the game. This is a big chance for Riley Cooper and Jordan Matthews – as well as Maclin – to establish the receiving core as a force. Offense will be plenty in this game. The Eagles receivers need to have a presence from the beginning. 

Kevin Durso is a contributor for Eagledelphia. Follow him on Twitter @KDursoPhilsNet.