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Eagle Eye: Eagles-Broncos Game Prediction
The Eagles’ tight ends, including Zach Ertz (left) and Brent Celek (right), have a combined eight receptions for 148 yards and only one touchdown this year. (USA Today Images)
On Sunday, the Eagles will take on Peyton Manning and the vaunted Broncos offense. Derrick Gunn has six things that fans should be aware of heading into the matchup:
• Chip Kelly needs to find a way to get his tight ends more involved in the passing game, especially in this week’s game. Kansas City’s defensive pressure forced the tight ends to help out in blocking more last week, but overall this season, the Eagles’ tight ends have a combined eight receptions for 148 yards and only one touchdown.
• It will be interesting to see if the Broncos will have Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie clinging to DeSean Jackson. The two speedy players could get the chance to go head-to-head after only facing off in practice. If so, it will be like watching a cheetah chase a gazelle all day long.
• Patrick Chung is listed as questionable for Sunday’s game, which means rookie Earl Wolff will likely start. Having a rookie as half of the last line of defense against one of the best quarterbacks of all time is worrisome, and definitely not the ideal situation for a first professional start.
• The Eagles' defense has had its problems covering slot receivers this season, and now they must face one of the best in the league in Wes Welker. Brandon Boykin will need help in this game. Welker already has four TD catches in the first three games of the season.
• Everybody knows about the numbers Denver is putting up offensively; an overlooked one is the Broncos' ability to finish off drives. Denver has scored on 49 percent of its possessions so far this season, which is the best mark in the NFL.
• A key thing to watch on Sunday: If the Eagles run plays at the pace they want to, will the thin Denver air take its toll? Chip Kelly says he’s not worried, but watch closely to see who’s gassed in the second half and who isn’t.