On paper, Sunday’s matchup between the Eagles and Colts looks like a quarterback battle between Carson Wentz and Andrew Luck. It won’t turn out that way.
Much of the conversation surrounding the Colts-Eagles game this Sunday has revolved around the two starting quarterbacks. Carson Wentz and Andrew Luck certainly have a ton of star power between them. That doesn’t mean they’re going to be the players’ most responsible for determining a winner on Sunday though.
The unfortunate reality is that neither signal caller is coming into this game anywhere close to 100%. Wentz’s situation is obvious. This will be his first game back from the torn ACL that cost him a chance to lead the Eagles to a Super Bowl title in 2017. He was only cleared for full contact on Monday of this week. Doug Pederson may talk a big game about trusting Wentz with the entire playbook this week, but expect the Eagles to ease their franchise quarterback into action.
Luck has played reasonably well for the Colts in both of their regular season games to date. That doesn’t mean he’s totally healthy. His inability or unwillingness to push the ball down the field is a major concern for Indianapolis heading into this game. Whether he’s suffering from mental or physical pain, it’s clear he isn’t the same player he was before his injury. The vast majority of his passing yards have been achieved with smoke and mirrors thus far.
Both quarterbacks will be factors in the game, of course, but their collective name recognition is much larger than their impact will be on the field. This game is much more likely to be won or lost in the trenches.
It’s obvious that the Colts have to keep Luck upright to win this game. They also need to forge some semblance of a rushing game against the Eagles’ talented front seven. Offensive balance will be key for Frank Reich and his coaching staff. If Luck has to drop back and throw the ball 40 times to keep his team in it then the Colts don’t have a chance to win.
The Eagles’ offensive line will have an easier task keeping Wentz safe. The Colts defense played really well against the Redskins last week, but Philadelphia has a lot more offensive skill than their NFC East rivals. If Pederson’s line can play an adequate game, the Eagles offense should enjoy a lot of success.
The bigger challenge for the Eagles will be resisting the temptation to throw the ball on every down. It’s easy to hand Jay Ajayi the ball 20+ times per game, but he may not play this week. No matter who Philadelphia starts at running back, they need to make sure to feed him the ball to keep the Colts’ defense honest.
We’re projecting this as the week that the Colts’ offense comes crashing back down to Earth. The team’s done a great job hiding Luck’s lack of arm strength to date, but the Eagles are too talented to let that trend continue. Luck’s weakness will be exposed in a comfortable Eagles victory.