The Philadelphia Eagles (1-1) will play their second straight road game with Michael Vick as their starting quarterback when they visit the Jacksonville Jaguars (1-1) on Sunday. Vick was not initially the first choice of Philadelphia head coach Andy Reid, who changed his mind a day after naming Kevin Kolb the starter after he missed last week’s 35-32 win over Detroit with a concussion.
The Eagles are 3-point road favorites on the current NFL football point spread and were reportedly getting calls about Kolb’s trade availability following Reid’s decision to stick with Vick as the starter. Vick has been able to excel in Reid’s West Coast offense despite a shoddy offensive line that could not hold up in Philly’s season-opening loss to Green Bay, which is how Kolb got hurt in the first place.
Vick’s mobility has enabled him to make things happen both with his legs and his arm while also opening up holes for second-year running back LeSean McCoy, who is coming off a career-high 120 yards and three touchdowns against the Lions. The Eagles find themselves ranked second in the NFL in rushing offense at 155.5 yards per game compared to averaging 102.3 last season.
While Philadelphia has excelled running the ball through the first two games, the team has yet to figure out a way to stop the opposition’s rushing attack. The Eagles are giving up an average of 123.5 yards per game so far and could have their hands full with Jacksonville running back Maurice Jones-Drew, who is certainly capable of his first 100-yard game of the season.
Jones-Drew has yet to find paydirt this year after scoring 16 touchdowns last season. He rushed for 98 yards on 23 carries in a 24-17 win over Denver in the season opener but totaled just 31 yards on 12 carries in a 38-13 loss at San Diego last week. Jaguars quarterback David Garrard struggled big-time against the Chargers before getting benched in favor of backup Luke McCown, completing 15 of 23 passes for 173 yards with four of those eight incompletions resulting in interceptions. McCown tore his ACL in relief of Garrard, who will make another start here against the Eagles by default even though the team signed veteran Todd Bouman to back him up.
Jacksonville has less than 1,000 tickets to sell in order to avoid its first blackout of the season, something that happened seven times in eight home games last year. The Jaguars played inspired in front of a sellout crowd against the Broncos to start the season and could use the extra motivation coming off a terrible road loss.
Philadelphia earned a 28-27 win over Jacksonville in the preseason behind 119 passing yards and 50 rushing yards from Vick. The Jaguars have covered the last five meetings with the Eagles, although two of them were preseason games, and they have played only two regular-season games against each other since 1997. The total has gone OVER in four of those five meetings.
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