Week 14 Preview: Jalen Hurts v. Taysom Hill
The spiraling Eagles will host Malcolm Jenkins and the top-ranked Saints defense as Jalen Hurts suits up for his first career start. The Eagles are currently sitting at 3-8-1 and with the season all but over, Doug Pederson has elected to see what the former Heisman runner-up can do. Here are the key matchups to watch for:
Jalen Hurts v. the #1 ranked Saints Defense
Talk about throwing your rookie QB into the fire in his first NFL game. The Saints defense is allowing just 289 yards per game this season (just over 212 yards/game against the pass) and are holding teams to only 20 points per game. They’re also tied for 3rd in the league for most interceptions with 13. The New Orleans defense has allowed just under 9 points per game over the last 5 weeks.
Trey Hendrickson and the Saints’ defensive line can also get after the QB in a hurry. The former 3rd-round pick is 3rd in the league in sacks with 10.5 and the defensive unit as a whole has 141 pressures on the year. At the obnoxious rate that the Eagles have allowed opposing players to get after Carson Wentz this season, it could get ugly for Jalen Hurts fast.
Taysom Hill v. Eagles Defensive Line
The Eagles are going to have to try and contain Hill as well as the rushing threat that he poses. The Eagles defense has been beaten on the ground by a few QBs this season; most notably Lamar Jackson (108 yards, TD) and Daniel Jones (156 yards, TD). Taysom Hill has 4 rushing TDs since taking over for the injured Bress.
The Eagles have to make Hill beat them through the air. The dual-threat QB has only been averaging 181 passing yards per game with just 2 passing TDs. The Eagles defense currently ranks 3rd in the NFL with 38 sacks and if they can get to Hill, who’s fumbled 5 times, they have a chance of keeping this game within reach.
Doug Pederson v. Himself
Pederson mentioned this week that he plans to make the offensive gameplan as simple as possible for Jalen Hurts. That includes quick passes and relying on the run game, which should consist of both Hurts and Miles Sanders. Why that hasn’t been the plan for Carson Wentz all season long is beyond me. At least the Eagles were able to use Wentz in the Taysom Hill role in practice this week.
This is a game where Pederson can’t afford to get too cute with the playcalling. Keep Jalen Reagor involved after his performance last week and let Sanders carry the load, with preferably more than six carries. After getting sacked 3 times and throwing a pick in just 4 drives last week, I wouldn’t expect Doug to ask Jalen Hurts to do too much against this ball-hawking Saints defense.
Listen & Subscribe to The Philly Pod today: