Eagles versus Colts: 10 opposing players who are matchup nightmares

Jonathan Taylor #28, Indianapolis Colts (Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images)
Jonathan Taylor #28, Indianapolis Colts (Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images) /

When the NFL released its schedule way back in May, everyone circled the Philadelphia Eagles‘ Week 11 tilt versus the Indianapolis Colts. There’s a natural emotion where Birds fans everywhere have a tendency to peek over at what former players and coaches are doing in other cities, and all summer and fall, we’ve thought about a game that doubled as a reunion with Philly and three Super Bowl heroes from the 2017 season: Frank Reich, Rodney McLeod, and Nick Foles.

They weren’t a part of the Super Bowl-winning team, but two other former Birds are on this Colts roster as well: offensive tackles Dennis Kelly and Matt Pryor.

Much can change in six months, especially in the NFL. It appears we won’t see Frank as we originally expected. He was relieved of his duties on November 7th and replaced by Jeff Saturday who just won the first game of his coaching career in Week 10. Raise your hand if you saw that coming.

It should be an intriguing affair on Sunday as the Birds travel to Lucas Oil Stadium. Oh well… It will be nice to say hello to Rodney McLeod before the game.

The Eagles’ offense had better be ready for a fight against the Colts’ defense.

Lucas Oil Stadium has often been called ‘the place that Peyton Manning built’, but they’ve been known to field a few defensive stars from time to time. Here are five that the Eagles are no doubt discussing in their defensive meeting rooms.

DeForest Buckner, defensive tackle

The Colts have built their roster much like the Eagles have, with a strong foundation along the defensive front. A two-time Pro Bowler (2018, 2021), DeForest Buckner is someone whose name must be on this list. Otherwise, there would be no need to piece this list together.

He’s been dealing with a neck issue but was a full participant at practice on Thursday and Friday after sitting out of the Wednesday session.

Grover Stewart, defensive tackle

As if dealing with Buckner isn’t a tall enough task, Indy likes to make life hard on opposing offenses by lining this Grover Stewart guy up a few feet away from him. The Colts rolled the dice on this six-foot-four, 315-pounder and hit the jackpot.

He’s third on the team in sacks with three behind, you guessed it, Buckner (5.5), Yannick Ngakoue, (5), and Kwity Paye (4).

Kenny Moore II, cornerback

Kenny Moore II is one-half of Indy’s very talented cornerback duo. He also now has a Pro Bowl nod on his resume as well. He’s fourth on the team in solo tackles (39), and he’s also tied for fourth in total tackles with Rodney McLeod (51).

Zaire Franklin, linebacker (questionable for Sunday)

Shaquille Leonard is on the injured reserve, and there’s really no way to replace him. When you have guys like this on your roster like Zaire Franklin however it does ease the stinging sensation some.

This six-foot, 235-pounder leads the team in total tackles (97) and solo tackles (63), and he’s tied for the team lead in TFLs with eight of those. He didn’t participate in practice on Thursday or Friday, and he’s questionable for Week 11’s game. It feels like he’ll play though.

Stephon Gilmore, cornerback

He isn’t a spring chicken anymore. He probably wouldn’t start for the Eagles, but Stephon Gilmore would still be one of the top two or three cornerbacks on the roster if he was transplanted from the Colts to most of the other 31 NFL franchises. The former NFL Defensive Player of the Year (2019) has one interception on his resume this season.

Whether they’re winning or losing, the Colts’ offense is always worthy of discussion.

In some ways, it feels like the Colts haven’t recovered since Andrew Luck started getting hurt and eventually made the decision to retire early. Frank Reich never found his franchise signal-caller. That helped lead to his undoing, and at the risk of sounding disrespectful, we aren’t impressed with the guy that they have tossing the rock around now.

Matt Ryan, quarterback

No one wants to beat Matt Ryan up. He seems like a good guy, but the Colts can’t possibly believe that he’ll catch fire and have some resurgence. The last time the Eagles saw him, in 2021, he completed 60% of his passes as the starting quarterback for the Atlanta Falcons, but he was unable to lead his team to the end zone during a 32-6 loss.

Quenton Nelson, offensive guard

Quenton Nelson is one of the best interior linemen in the NFL. Expect a ton of running plays to be schemed to his side of the field.

Michael Pittman, wide receiver

The son of a Super Bowl champion, Michael Pittman Jr. appears to be someone who can shine if the Colts can ever find someone to throw him the football. James Bradberry or Darius Slay will travel with him. He leads Indy in receptions (61) and receiving yards (603).

Ryan Kelly, center

The best center playing in this game plays for Philadelphia, but Ryan Kelly is no slouch. The interior of the Eagles’ defensive line has its hands full with him, Nelson, and Matt Pryor.

Jonathan Taylor, running back

Any conversation about the Colts that the Eagles need to stop that doesn’t involve Jonathan Taylor might be flawed. He’s missed three games this season because of injury, but he’s still one of the best in the business when available.

On the season, he has added 609 yards to his resume on 129 carries. He has also reached the end zone twice.

Hot. Easy adjustments that should steady the ship. light