Howard originally suffered a shoulder injury that Doug Pederson described as a “stinger” during the Eagles’ Week 9 win over the Chicago Bears. Howard was limited in practice leading up to this week’s game and was listed as “questionable” on Friday’s final injury report. As of Friday morning, Pederson said Howard hadn’t been cleared for contact.
The Eagles being without Howard is far from ideal. He’s their team’s leading rusher this season with 119 carries for 525 yards (4.4 average) and six touchdowns. The Eagles heavily relied upon Howard in their last two wins by giving him 44 combined offensive touches.
Given how truly terrible the Eagles’ wide receivers have been, Philadelphia has been forced to rely on their rushing attack to win games. Howard has been a big part of any offensive success the Eagles have had.
Howard’s absence means the Eagles will only have three running backs active against the Patriots: Miles Sanders, Boston Scott, and Jay Ajayi. Schefter reports that Ajayi will indeed be active.
The rookie Sanders has made good progress recently when you look at his numbers from the Eagles’ last two games: 13 carries, 116 rushing yards, 1 rushing TD ... 6 receptions, 75 receiving yards. The Eagles will need Sanders to step up big for them against New England’s vulnerable run defense.
Scott has mostly played in garbage time since being called up from the practice squad earlier this season. He only had 16 career rushing attempts in addition to one reception. The Eagles could look use Scott in a Darren Sproles role.
It seems crazy that Ajayi is actually going to play in Sunday’s game since he hasn’t even taken a single practice rep since tearing his ACL in October 2018. Ajayi obviously has familiarity with the Eagles’ scheme but one must wonder about his conditioning. One would think the Jay Train’s role will be limited.
It’s sure going to take a big effort from the Eagles to pull off an upset against the Pats on Sunday.
Stats over the last seven weeks from Eagles RBs and WRs active for the Patriots game.— Brandon Lee Gowton (@BrandonGowton) November 17, 2019
RB: 9.7 carries for 49.7 yards per game (2 TD)
WR: 2.5 receptions for 21.2 yards per game (0 TD)
New England has the NFL’s No. 1 defense. https://t.co/4a04slETKa