This is not an ideal matchup for the Eagles defense. Then again, what is these days?
Buffalo has a savvy, veteran quarterback who just gets the job done. They have an underrated running back that has a high yards per carry average—something the Eagles especially struggle with. They have a large, physical tight end, and a group of receivers that are underrated no-names, with one obvious star in Stevie Johnson. Good luck, Juan Castillo.
There are no standout stars along the Bills offensive line. Their best player, center Eric Wood, is injured but will probably play. Their starting left tackle, Demetrius Bell, is out. That means Jason Babin will be going up against a rookie left tackle, and Cullen Jenkins will be going up against an injured center. These are two matchups the Eagles must exploit in order to slow down the Buffalo offense. If the Eagles can cheat their focus toward stopping the run, it will allow the defense to flow to the ball.
The Eagles linebackers will have a tough day, though. Not only will they need to worry about Fred Jackson and CJ Spiller, the Bills two explosive running backs out of the backfield, they also have to contend with a large bodied tight end in Scott Chandler. He’s the physical, veteran type of tight end the Eagles have trouble bodying up against. Castillo played Eagles corner Nnamdi Asomugha man up on 49ers tight end Vernon Davis last week. This is different. Where Davis had the speed and height, he wasn’t the type of blocker or tall body that Chandler is. The linebackers are going to have to matchup with the tight end this week to be successful.
At receiver, the Bills have one superstar and a bunch of no-names. But these no-names have gotten the job done in remarkable fashion this year. David Nelson was a big time recruit at the University of Florida but never flourished in their run-happy scheme. He’s a tall guy with speed and has come on strong this year. Donald Jones, their other receiver, is a small but quick guy who can take a short pass the distance.
Despite their troubles, the Eagles’ defense has done a nice job shutting down other teams’ number one receivers. Roddy White, Hakeem Nicks, and Michael Crabtree were shut down for the most part in those games. The secondary receivers and players that the Eagles don’t expect to break out is where the problem has been. Hopefully, their secondary can get a grip on these second and third options and really allow the rest of the defense to attack.