The Eagles will conclude their preseason with Saturday night’s game in Miami against the Dolphins. It’s understandable to think that no preseason game has any juice, but this matchup feels even more so like that. The two teams are limping towards the end of this August charade after their joint practice was canceled on Thursday due to a stomach bug/possible food poisoning breakout.
Saturday evening’s game is still on though, presenting a wonderful opportunity for the amazing sicko Eagles fans who need to watch the third- and fourth-string guys play for 60 minutes. That’s the dedication that sets this fan base apart.
Like I’ve done for the first two preseason games (and like I’ll do during the regular season), here are my five over/unders I’ve created ahead of the Eagles and Fins squaring off to add some excitement to an otherwise underwhelming affair. Predicting scores in a preseason game? Futile effort. Predicting these random things? Nothing is better.
[A quick reminder for those new to our over/unders: Unless explicitly stated otherwise, these are my own numbers based on how I think the players/teams will perform that week — and the advice that follows is where I would put my money if I had to.]
Eagles fourth down conversions: 1.5
The Eagles went for it on fourth down three times against the Browns in the team’s second preseason game:
|Drive||Distance||Yard Mark||Got it?|
|No. 1||4th and 1||CLE 4||✅|
|No. 3||4th and 3||CLE 3||❌|
|No. 6||4th and 2||50||❌|
There’s not much use to punting in the preseason. The Eagles know what they have (or don’t have) with Arryn Siposs. They might as well get guys like Gardner Minshew, Reid Sinnett and some bubble roster players key, high-leverage (relative to the preseason!) reps.
Nick Sirianni and Shane Steichen are going to keep that philosophy going in Miami.
Put me down for 2-plus conversions.
Eagles total rushing yards: 99.5 yards
During the Birds’ first preseason game against the Jets, they rushed for 88 yards (Jason Huntley had a team-high 48). Last week in Cleveland, the Eagles went full 2021 mode and pounded the Browns on the ground, going for 144 yards.
The Eagles will likely have four running backs active in Huntley, Boston Scott, Kenny Gainwell and Kennedy Brooks. The most underrated plot of this game to me (I’m all about plot lines in the preseason like a weirdo!) is how the running back rotation shakes out.
Miles Sanders is RB1 and won’t suit up, but Scott and Gainwell were key cogs in that rushing machine last season. Not counting the 2021 Week 18 slop fest, Sanders has missed eight games over the last two seasons. The Eagles are going to need some combination of Scott, Gainwell or an RB not already on the team at some point this season. Their greatest success last year was when they were using a variety of runners without a true bell-cow back.
How much will the team want to play Scott and Gainwell due to their assumed regular season roles? Will they ram the ball down Miami’s throats with the RBs on the first two drives like they did against the Browns? Will it just be a fourth quarter of Sinnett throwing dimes to Deon Cain? I don’t think an offense that primarily uses Huntley on Saturday can hit the triple-digit mark with rushing yards.
I’ll go with the under at 85 yards.
Devon Allen longest catch: 29.5 yards
Two-time Olympic hurdler has the highlight of the preseason so far for the Birds. In last Sunday’s matchup in Cleveland, Allen hauled in a deep pass from Reid Sinnett for a 55-yard touchdown:
That’s Allen’s lone catch of the preseason. He isn’t going to make the Eagles’ 53-man initial roster, but can he make another highlight-worthy play that raises his profile around the league? I’m not sure it’ll be a 55-yard scoring strike where he makes an incredible diving catch, but I’ll say Allen hauls in at least one pass in Miami. What about this stat line for Allen: two catches, 45 yards, zero touchdowns. My longest catch prediction is 31 yards, hitting the over.
Richard Rodgers catches: 0.5
Richard Rodgers is inevitable. What is dead may never die (“House of the Dragon” is great). The Eagles were coming off their Super Bowl win the first time they signed Rodgers to their roster. Over four years later and now in his third stint with the Birds, Rodgers is still seeing the field. He had one catch for four yards against the Browns.
Perhaps this is finally Rodgers last game as an Eagle. Nothing would sum up his irregular tenure as an Eagle more than a one-catch, seven-yard performance.
Eagles vs. Dolphins fights: 0.5
Getting scrappy during the summer heat isn’t new for NFL squads. There was a whole lot of smack talk between the Birds and the Browns during practice last week. Football fans everywhere have now seen images and video of Aaron Donald holding two Bengals helmets during a practice skirmish like he was Leonidas at the Battle of Thermopylae.
I expect things to get heated, maybe some jawing after the play and a flag thrown, but I’m erring on the side that there won’t be a wild, Donald-like fight. For the safety of the players with the regular season starting in two weeks, I hope that’s the case.
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