Chip Kelly and the Philadelphia Eagles surprised a lot of people last season. One surprise was his high-tempo offense from the University of Oregon translating to the NFL. Another was his decision to stick with quarterback Nick Foles once Michael Vick was healthy. Foles is the clear starter as the Eagles enter today’s 1pm EST / 10am PST season opener against the Jaguars, and Kelly’s no longer a first-year NFL coach. Are there any surprises left?
With Kelly, you never know. He’s a live wire that opposing defenses, and fans, have to watch carefully.
The Eagles have rolled Jacksonville for years, though their game 13 months ago was closer. In 2010 the Eagles beat the Jaguars twice, first by a thin 28-27 margin and then by a much-wider 28-3 spread. Last season was another tight game, a 31-24 victory, as the Eagles came from behind to win.
In that game Vick went 15-for-23 for 184 yards, 1 TD and an interception, and he ran for 53 yards. Foles went 10-for-11 passes with 112 yards in second-half play.
Foles has since grown much more comfortable in the Eagles offense. He ended the 2013 regular season 203-for-317 with 2,891 yards and 27 touchdowns with just two interceptions, nabbing a rating of 119.2. He also rushed for 221 yards and 3 TDs. He’ll look to continue that torrid pace in today’s Jaguars game, though it may be a battle without the services of the since-cut wide receiver DeSean Jackson.
Jacksonville Jaguars QB Chad Henne is also looking for a fast start. Last season against the Eagles he completed 11 of 18 passes for 106 yards, two touchdowns and an interception. He’ll need to start his season better today against the Eagles for several reasons.
This season could make or break the six-year veteran, who’s never thrown more TDs than interceptions in a single season. For his career Henne has thrown 55 touchdown passes against 62 interceptions. In 2011 he had 4 of each, and in 2012 he had 11 of each. The increase in TDs was encouraging, but the INT was wasn’t.
Now that Jaguars rookie QB Blake Bortles is waiting in the wings, all eyes will be on Henne starting in today’s Eagles game. He’ll face an uphill battle too, now that wide receiver Cecil Shorts has been ruled out with a tight hamstring.
Bortles’ preseason play was solid if not spectacular, and many Jacksonville fans wanted him to start right away. In a case not unlike Cleveland’s, the coaching staff opted for a seasoned veteran to guide the team for Week 1, though if things go south in a hurry, Bortles (like Manziel) could get the nod soon.
Today’s Jaguars / Eagles game is scheduled to kickoff at 1pm EST / 10am PST. The game will be broadcast live on CBS. Alternatively, you can watch Jaguars vs Eagles game online free live stream on DirecTV’s website if you have the NFL Sunday Ticket MAX package. That package requires a subscription, but all subscribers can watch the game online free via the DirecTV live stream if they’re stuck watching via their smartphone, tablet or PC.