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Jalen Hurts and the undefeated Philadelphia Eagles travel to Houston to take on the Texans on Thursday Night Football with blowout written all over it. Hurts offers exceptional dual-threat upside even though we’ve seen his rushing totals down as of late since he hasn’t had to run, given the blowout nature of the games. Last week could have been the best game we’ve seen from Hurts’s arm with a four-touchdown outing. Davis Mills doesn’t give us much to get excited about, but as a two-touchdown underdog, he’ll be playing from behind most of the game, offering garbage time passing upside. Unfortunately, he might not have anyone to throw to against one of football’s best passing defenses.RUNNING BACK:
It’s worth noting that Nick Sirianni held out most of his starters in the fourth quarter on Sunday, which should give the Eagles a slight rest advantage. Miles Sanders only played 29 snaps and saw nine carries, but through the first week, he averaged nearly 18 carries per game. If this game gets out of hand early, as many expect, he and the rest of the Eagles starters sitting parts of the fourth quarter cannot be ruled out. Boston Scott would be in line for increased carries in that scenario, with Kenneth Gainwell operating more as a pass-catching/blocking back. Houston has the league’s worst rush defense, as the Titans’ totaled 314 yards on the ground, which will be an easy formula that Sirianni can hammer home.
Dameon Pierce might be all the Texans have tonight, given the surrounding injuries, so the rookie back will be relied on whether it is working or not. He averages over 17 carries per game this season while averaging five targets over the last four weeks. Rex Burkhead will operate primarily as a receiving back who could see 4-5 targets normally, but there is a clear upside, given the decimated receiving room.WIDE RECEIVER:
AJ Brown is coming off a three-touchdown game and likely has the Texans’ defensive staff answer-less heading into tonight. He ranks sixth in receiving yards while averaging nine targets per game which gives us all but guaranteed production. DeVonta Smith flies under the radar in the best WR2 discussion in football, but he’s averaging over seven targets per game and is lethal in space. Quez Watkins is one of football’s fastest athletes and offers significant deep-ball upside. Zach Pascal will rotate in with a minimal role that likely won’t eclipse two, maybe three targets.
Brandin Cooks and Nico Collins will be out tonight, with Phillip Dorsett projecting as the WR1 by default. Chris Moore and Tyron Johnson will climb the depth chart as well, with the expectation of Jalen Camp being elevated from the practice squad to operate as the rotational receiver. Dorsett could end up seeing several targets, but look for both tailbacks and the three tight ends to be factors to eat up the target shares of Cooks and Collins.TIGHT END:
Dallas Goedert is always a dangerous pass-catching option but, unfortunately, has lost some of his red zone luster with AJ Brown’s insertion. He’ll still see around 5-6 targets and leads all NFL tight ends in yards after the catch. We’d be lucky to see the two backup tight ends, Jack Stoll and Grant Calcaterra, combine for two targets.
Brevin Jordan, OJ Howard, and Jordan Akins should see some work at the Texans’ tight end spot, with Jordan leading the way. Cooks’s absence could see increased volume across the board for these three options, with Akins having a consistent workload to build off. Jordan will be the top tight end on the depth chart and should have the highest upside of the bunch.