By Paul Bowman, Sports Talk Philly Editor
The Eagles are coming off a bad loss to the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday Night Football last week. It was a loss that stung and opened eyes in the Eagles locker room. It made leaders like Malcolm Jenkins, Michael Bennett and Jason Kelce speak up even louder to turn the ship around.
The loss was not only brutal for fans, but the players. It should have made the team more focused and accountable. That combined with the likely return of Sidney Jones, Lane Johnson and Richard Rodgers should lead to a far improved team taking the field against the Saints.
A Winning History
The Eagles and Saints have met 30 times prior to their upcoming game. The Eagles lead the all-time series 17-13. They won the last match between the two teams during the 2015 season, but had lost the three prior to that.
Beginning To Return To Health
The Eagles figure to have an improved team than they have had the past few weeks. Sidney Jones and Richard Rodgers figure to play in this week’s game. Jones will certainly help the secondary out and may prove to be the talented corner he was expected to be in a backfield lacking any other solid depth. Rodgers should improve the run game and pass protection as a blocking tight end.
Lane Johnson is questionable, but he has a better chance of playing this week than he had last week. If he is able to go, the pairing of Johnson and Rodgers should significantly improve blocking throughout the game.
A Little Slice Of Home
The Eagles may be going on the road and playing in a hostile environment this week, but there will be a constant reminder of home – the jerseys. The birds will be wearing their home jerseys in the Superdome, an honor that rarely occurs for a visiting team.
The jersey change is thanks to Doug Pederson and his golfing skills. During the offseason he and Saints head coach Sean Payton were golfing and made a bet. With Pederson coming out on top, the Eagles get to wear their home jerseys.
CB Jalen Mills and RB Darren Sproles
Sproles continues to suffer from a hamstring injury that has kept him out since week one. The Eagles have missed him, especially on special teams. The Eagles expected him to play last week, but he re-aggravated his injury days before the tilt with the Cowboys. At this point, it seems like he should have been place on the injured reserve long ago instead of making the Eagles roster effectively only 52 players.
Mills had come under fire for giving up some plays early in the season, but his absence has been greatly felt as Rasul Douglas was repeated burned by a Cowboys offense that fails to strike any fear in any team with their passing abilities. Douglas will continue to start in his place this week, hopefully with a better result.
DT Haloti Ngata and OT Lane Johnson
Ngata has already missed three games earlier in the season due to injury and has been a huge underachiever this season. His absence is likely to go unnoticed if he cannot play as Treyvon Hester has been just about as productive as Ngata, albeit in less snaps.
Johnson has not played up to the level he had last season, but has struggled with multiple injuries throughout the season. Big V will be the starter in his place if he is unable to go. The Eagles are lucky to have such a talented player as the third tackle on their roster.
OT Terron Armstead and DE Marcus Davenport
Armstead is the big deal here. The starting left tackle for the Saints, Jermon Bushrod will start in his place. He will be facing off against Michael Bennett for most of the night. Bushrod was a premiere tackle a few seasons ago, but at 34, Bennett may be able to get the better of him quite a few times throughout the game.
Davenport is a rookie rotational player. Selected with the 14th pick in the draft this year, he typically operates in the same role as Derek Barnett did for the Eagles last season.
Time: 4:25 p.m.
Radio: 94.1 FM WIP
Online: NFL Gamepass