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2018 opponent scouting report: Week 3 Eagles special teams and a prediction

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Philadelphia Eagles v Tampa Bay Buccaneers Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

Overview

On September 23, 2018 the Indianapolis Colts will make the trip to take on the Philadelphia Eagles. In this week three match-up I sought to understand our opponent and get a better idea of how they may attack our new look Colts.

The Eagles, as you may have heard finished last season by beating the New England Patriots in the Super Bowl. As happy as I am the Patriots lost and Frank Reich is now the head coach of the Colts, I don’t want to give the defending champs anything they don’t earn. The last time these two teams played was September 15, 2014. The Eagles came out victorious four years ago but neither team is remotely similar to their 2014 counterparts. Hopefully our Colts can pull off an improbable win.

Let’s figure out what we can expect in week three.


Kicker:

Atlanta Falcons v Philadelphia Eagles Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images

Jake Elliott is a 2nd year player out of Memphis. He’s a career 82% field goal kicker but he is 5 for 6 from beyond 50 yards. If what I believe is correct Elliott’s services could mean the difference between a Colts win and a Colts loss. He’s 1 for 2 on the year, hopefully he joins the list of bad kicker performances the rest of the league experienced last weekend.


Punter:

Atlanta Falcons v Philadelphia Eagles Photo by Brett Carlsen/Getty Images

Cameron Johnston is a first year pro out of Ohio State. We don’t have many stats to look back at but this far in his career he is averaging nearly 54 yards per punt while pinning 4 balls inside the opponents 20 yard line. I believe, perhaps incorrectly, that Johnston is going to get a chance to show off his leg in this one. It will be interesting to see what kind of opportunities our returners have if he out kicks his coverage.


Returner:

New York Giants v Philadelphia Eagles Photo by Elsa/Getty Images

Both Darren Sproles and Shelton Gibson will handle return duties if healthy. If not Corey Clement is listed as next in line for both kick and punt return duties. Clement says he is at 100%. If Sproles can return punts he’s averaging nearly 10 yards per return in 2018.

Shelton Gibson is a second year pro out of West Virginia. This is his first year returning kicks and is averaging just 21.5 yards per return.

The Colts special teams units have been respectable but hardly eye popping. I don’t feel that the return game will be what shifts the game in either direction.


Final Thoughts for The Week:

The last time I felt this unsure about calling a game for either team was week one. See, I didn’t have any idea how the Colts would come out. I didn’t know if they had hired good coaches. I didn’t know how the new additions would look in their first game action. I didn’t know a lot.

So I come into this game and as much as I think I’ve learned about the 2018 Colts in the first two weeks of the season, there’s still so much we just can’t know about Carson Wentz and how the Eagles plan to use him.

Truly this game could go either way and a lot of it rides on how well Wentz plays. If he comes out and looks like he did before his injury, it might be a long day. If he comes out and shows any sign of not having played football for so long, then it’s probably going to be a very good day.


Prediction

Colts 24

Eagles 17