5. Asante Samuel’s Health – The Eagles are 0-for-1 on our keys and the game hasn’t even started. Asante Samuel is out with a knee sprain, leaving Dimitri Patterson and Joselio Hanson as the starting cornerbacks. With Andre Johnson being one of the top three wide receivers in the league, the Eagles secondary has its work cut out for it.
4. Run the Ball to Draw in the Safeties – Last week, several Eagles mentioned how deep the Bears’ safeties were playing to take away the deep balls to DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin. If that’s the case again tonight, the Eagles need to find ways to draw them up and pounding the ball with LeSean McCoy for a few plays would get it done. A few scrambles by Michael Vick would also do the trick.
3. Mario Williams – The dynamic Texans’ defensive end has 8.5 sacks this year, and three in his last two games. Winston Justice says Houston likes to move Williams around, lining him up at either end and as an upright pass rusher, or “joker.” When he’s not at either end, it’s much harder to chip him with a running back or tight end, giving Williams a better chance at a one-on-one matchup. The Eagles need to keep an eye on him at all times.
2. DeSean Jackson – He doesn’t necessarily need to have a huge game, he just needs to be a good team player. Jackson was chewed out by Andy Reid after Sunday’s game in Chicago and has been less than chipper this week. If the Texans, whose secondary is not so great, are able to take away the deep ball, Jackson needs to fight through it and find other ways to contribute.
1. Stop Arian Foster and Texans Ground Game – The Eagles need to get back to holding their opponents under 75 yards rushing as a team, and Foster poses a huge challenge. Foster alone is averaging 104.3 rushing yards and more than a rushing touchdown per game. If Philadelphia can contain him, the Eagles have a terrific chance to win. It also contributes to the overall defense, as last week’s effort by Matt Forte opened up the passing game for Jay Cutler and the Bears.