Week 14 Preview: McCoy, Bills square off against Murray, Eagles

The Eagles return home after an unlikely victory over New England that seemed to save their playoff chances and give them some new life in the division race.

At 5-7, that certainly doesn't sound likely, but is exactly the case.

Now the Eagles have to turn their attention to a game that had drummed up as much fanfare upon the release of the schedule as the Week 13 matchup did. LeSean McCoy returns to Philadelphia, as the Buffalo Bills take on the Philadelphia Eagles.

The Eagles had what you could certainly call a bounce-back performance on a lot of fronts. Offensively, it still isn't quite there for Sam Bradford and company, which in Week 14 means it will likely never be there.
Of course, that hasn't affected their chances to impact the NFC East race and win the division.
While Bradford will certainly be looking to do better than his 14-for-24, two touchdown, no interception performance last week, it really is a big week for the Eagles running backs.
DeMarco Murray expressed his frustration with his number of carries in the New England game — eight carries for 24 yards. The Eagles will also be getting Ryan Mathews back after he missed the previous two games, meaning there will be even more carries to divide among the running backs.
That said, look for Murray's role to be increased as Mathews gets eased back into game action. We'll see what he can do with the increased number of looks.
That said, it was definitely a bounce-back performance for the Eagles defense last week. Despite allowed 28 points, albeit to future Hall-of-Famer Tom Brady, the Eagles had limited the Patriots to two touchdowns until late in the fourth quarter. They had an outstanding game.
Much of this was Connor Barwin, Brandon Graham, Vinny Curry and Fletcher Cox supplying continued pressure on the quarterback. Their job will be tougher this week, trying to not only put pressure on Tyrod Taylor, but contain him. A known runner, Taylor has three rushing touchdowns this season and has rushed for 318 yards.
The rest of the Eagles are simply going to once again look for the better performance. Every week, it has either been the offense stepping up while the defense disappoints, or more commonly the offense never getting into a rhythm and the defense having to carry the team.
What is most important for the Eagles is that now, finding themselves back in a playoff race with a chance to take the outright lead in the division if all the cards fall the right way, is to not turn in a game like they had the previous two weeks before their big upset in New England. Those games were atrocious from start to finish. Any sense that this team can't succeed in any facet will erase any thoughts of a division title again and probably once and for all.
The Bills are in a very similar situation. Rex Ryan has gotten a lot out of his team this season, but still sits 6-6 and on the outside looking in when it comes to the AFC playoff picture.
Obviously, the Bills running game took a huge step with the addition of LeSean McCoy. McCoy is leading the team with 792 rushing yards on the season and three touchdowns.
McCoy will have to carry the bulk of the rushing load though, as second-string running back Karlos Williams is out. Williams has five touchdowns this season.
Taylor has a couple of solid weapons to go to in the passing game. Tight end Charles Clay has accounted for 519 receiving yards and three touchdowns. Taylor's top target, Sammy Watkins, leads the team with six touchdowns and has 635 receiving yards.
That said, one thing to watch is Rex Ryan's always tough defensive team.
Preston Brown, Corey Graham, Ronald Darby, Jerry Hughes, Mario Williams, the list goes on. They all have great individual numbers.
However, despite Ryan's reputation with great defense, they rank somewhere in the middle of the league in points allowed, and yardage per game in both passing and rushing. The Bills are 16th in points allowed, 14th in rushing yards allowed per game and 23rd in passing yards allowed per game.
It is sure to be a tough fight on both sides and for two running backs, both looking to make a statement.

Game Notes

  • The Eagles and Bills have met 12 times in history. The Eagles are 6-6 in those games.
  • The Eagles fell to the Bills in Buffalo in the team's last meeting, 31-24, in October 2011.
  • The Eagles are 2-1 against AFC teams this season, with wins against the Jets and Patriots and a loss against the Dolphins.
  • The Eagles are tied for third in the NFL with 23 takeaways. Since the start of the 2014 season, the Eagles lead the NFL with six special teams touchdowns.

Injury Report



  • WR Jordan Matthews (back)


  • RB Kenjon Barner (ankle)
  • QB Sam Bradford (shoulder)
  • TE Zach Ertz (hip)
  • T Lane Johnson (shoulder)
  • DT Bennie Logan (knee)
  • RB Ryan Mathews (concussion)
  • CB Eric Rowe (ankle)
  • DE Cedric Thornton (ankle)
  • S Walter Thurmond (elbow)



  • LB Nigel Bradham (ankle)
  • CB Ron Brooks (concussion)
  • CB Stephon Gilmore (shoulder)
  • RB Karlos Williams (shoulder)


  • G John Miller (ankle)


  • T Seantrel Henderson (illness)
  • TE Charles Clay (knee)
  • WR Chris Hogan (knee)
  • DE Mario Williams (hand)

Where To Watch
TV: CBS (Spero Dedes, Solomon Wilcots)
Radio: 94 WIP (Merrill Reese, Mike Quick, Howard Eskin)

Kevin Durso is managing editor for Eagledelphia. Follow him on Twitter @Kevin_Durso.

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