What Is the Most Important Matchup in Jets-Eagles?

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Throughout the season,NewYorkJets.com reporters Eric Allen, Ethan Greenberg, Olivia Landis and Randy Lange will each give their predictions to a series of questions regarding this year’s Jets._

Today’s question: What is the most important matchup in Jets-Eagles?

EA: After Adam Gase indicated there could be lineup changes along the offensive line, it appears extremely likely the Green & White will have at least one new starter up front. Kelechi Osemele, who was listed as doubtful on the injury report with knee and shoulder ailments, may be out after missing a pair of practices later in the week. The Jets could opt to go with either Alex Lewis or Tom Compton in Osemele’s spot at LG. Will there be another move by kickoff? The Jets could opt to go with Jonotthan Harrison at center or perhaps consider moving rookie tackle Chuma Edoga into the starting lineup. Regardless of what five they settle on, the Green & White have to do a better job of providing running lanes for Le’Veon Bell and giving time in the pocket for Luke Falk. The Eagles remain stout up front with DT Fletcher Cox on the interior and both Brandon Graham and Derek Barnett can provide heat off the edge. For the Jets to get anything going offensively, it’s all going to start up front.

EG: The Jets’ D-line will need to be on its ‘A’ game against arguably the league’s top offensive line — the Eagles’ starters up front combine for 15 Pro Bowls and 44 years of experience. The Philly O-line has allowed seven sacks through three games but pitched a shutout last Thursday against the Packers while the Jets have totaled five sacks this season. However, the Green & White have been consistently stout against the run, allowing an average of 88.7 yards per game, which ranks eighth in the NFL. The Green & White will be without OLB Jordan Jenkins (calf) for the second consecutive game but first-round rookie Quinnen Williams (ankle) will play Sunday for the first time since Week 1. Not only is the 6’5”, 237-pound Carson Wentz a mobile quarterback who’s hard to bring down, he’s one of the NFL’s top passers. The key to slowing down any passing attack is making the quarterback feel uncomfortable, but the Jets DL will have their hands full Sunday.

OL: The Jets secondary will need to keep its head on a swivel for the challenge ahead this Sunday in Philly against quarterback Carson Wentz. At just 26-years-old, Wentz is known as one of the more versatile young QBs in the league, showing strengths in his ability to extend plays and push the ball down the field even after the pocket collapses. “He’s mobile, he can run, and he can make every pass left or right down the field,” said safety Rontez Miles of Wentz. In just four games this season, the North Dakota State product has thrown for 963 yards, nine touchdowns and two interceptions. In order to find success stopping the Eagles’ signal-caller, the Jets will need to add pressure with their pass rush. The Green & White’s defense has totaled four interceptions in three games this year, two of them coming from DBs (Darryl Roberts and Jamal Adams).  

RL: It's definitely Jets pass offense vs. Eagles pass defense. It begins up front for the Green & White and Luke Falk, who will start one game after his baptism by fire at New England as Sam Darnold has still not been cleared to play from his bout with mono. Regardless, the Jets' blockers have to protect the QB better than the 13 sacks given up in three games. But the Birds, while known for their blitzing, haven't closed the deal so far this year — their 3 sacks are last in the NFL. Combine that with Philly's ailing secondary and the Eagles are also last in the league in yielding 324 net passing yards/game. It seems likely Falk will get back WR Demaryius Thomas, who hasn't played since Week 2 because of knee and hamstring ailments, to team up with Robby Anderson, Jamison Crowder and Le'Veon Bell, this all could signal a key area of exploitation for the Jets. Now they have to go out and get 'er done.

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