It's only been a week since the Eagles shocked everyone by beating the New England Patriots in Foxborough, but it feels longer than that. The Eagles' big win was overshadowed by a week of drama leading up to this Week 14 game. It started with a report about DeMarco Murray expressing frustrations with Eagles CEO and Chairman Jeffrey Lurie. But the drama wasn't reserved for only current Eagles players. The comments made by LeSean McCoy and his unwillingness to shake Chip Kelly's hand stole headlines later in the week.
The good news is that the off-field drama is over (for now, at least). Today is about real football. This is an important game for both teams. The Eagles are tied for first in the NFC East while the Bills are still fighting to stay alive in the AFC playoff picture.
Buffalo's run-heavy offense features none other than Shady McCoy. Philadelphia's all-time leading rusher has played well recently for the Bills. McCoy has rushed for exactly 112 yards in three of his last five games. He hasn't rushed for less than 68 in a game since September. The Eagles are usually good at defending the run, but they've struggled with stopping opposing rushers recently. McCoy is a great talent so he'll provide a big challenge. Shady obviously isn't the only weapon the Bills have. The Eagles will have their hands full trying to contain Tyrod Taylor and second-year wide receiver Sammy Watkins as well.
The Eagles beat the Patriots last week largely in spite of their offense, not because of it. Sam Bradford made some good throws when it counted, but he was also lucky to have some interceptions dropped. He'll likely need to be much better in this game. Philadelphia doesn't need to totally air it out, however. The Bills' defense is vulnerable against the run. Buffalo ranks 30th in run defense according to Football Outsiders. They're tied for allowing the fourth most yards per rush attempt at 4.7. It remains to be seen how the Eagles will split up carries among DeMarco Murray, Ryan Mathews, Darren Sproles, and Kenjon Barner, but there's good reason to get everyone involved.
A win today is obviously big for the Eagles. The Birds can arguably still win the division even if they lose today and against Arizona if they finish the season 2-0 against Washington and New York, so getting even one win out of these next two could help a lot. Will Chip Kelly be able to hold off McCoy's attempt at a revenge game? It'll sure be interesting to find out.
Score prediction: 28-24, Eagles lose.
Bold prediction: DeMarco Murray plays more than 14 snaps and looks not terrible.
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