Key Matchups For Philadelphia Eagles, Jacksonville Jaguars

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Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

As the Philadelphia Eagles prepare to face the Jacksonville Jaguars on Sunday; I will examine some of the key players, matchups and preview the opponent.

The Philadelphia Eagles open their 2014 season by welcoming the Jacksonville Jaguars to the Lincoln Financial Field on Sunday. Jaguars head coach Gus Bradley was very nearly given the Eagles job until Chip Kelly decided that he was going to take it. Bradley will want to prove a point to the Eagles that they hired the wrong guy and I’m sure he will have his team fired up on Sunday.

If the Eagles are serious challengers for the Super Bowl this season, they will be expected to beat the Jaguars comfortably at home. On paper the Eagles are a much more talented team but that does not guarantee anything in the NFL.

The Opponent

The Jacksonville Jaguars struggled in 2013, their roster lacked talent and they lost the first 8 games of the season. However, Bradley kept his team motivated and they ended up winning 4 of their last 8 games.

 

The Jaguars will not be an easy opponent for the Eagles as their defense has made great improvements in the offseason by adding a number of free agents including Super Bowl winners Chris Clemons and Red Byrant. The Jaguars run defense should be much improved but their secondary still lacks talent and I expect the Eagles will target this on Sunday.

The Eagles will, luckily, be facing quarterback Chad Henne and not rookie Blake Bortles who was extremely impressive in preseason. The Jaguars receiving core was upgraded in the offseason as they selected two receivers in the second round, Marqise Lee and Allen Robinson. The Jaguars also have a new running back, Toby Gerhart, this season. Gerhart is a powerful runner who will be expected to carry the ball 20+ times every game for them. The Eagles will look at the Jaguars offensive line as a weakness and target this on Sunday.

Many people are predicting the Jaguars to win around 7 or 8 games this season with some people boldly predicting they will win the AFC South. This could be a trap game for the Eagles and they must make sure that they do not take the game lightly.  

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