The Eagles needed a 61-yard field goal to prevail over the lowly Giants last week, allowing 24-unanswered fourth quarter points. They moved to 2-1 and have confidence with two NFC East wins, but a more convincing ‘W’ out west against the Chargers Sunday — at 4 p.m. on FOX — could be just what the doctor ordered for a team looking to establish itself as a contender.
Here are three of the most interesting storylines to be mindful of as kickoff approaches:
The Linc West?
With a small, 27,000-seat stadium for the newly Los Angeles Chargers, there has been a notorious and unsurprising lack of hometown fandom as the team plays for the first season in it’s new home. It is expected that Eagles fans, who always travel well, will be numerous at the StubHub Center. Could this help give the Eagles an extra edge out West?
“It’s going to be different for all of us,” Eagles head coach Doug Pederson, who says the Eagles will stay on east coast time when they fly to California Saturday morning. “It will be a little different. I don’t want that to be a distraction for our football team, and for any of us going out there. But I do know that our fans do travel well, and they are all over the country and I would expect probably a good turnout for Eagle fans this weekend.”
The Eagles played the second half of their 27-24 win against the Giants last week without four starters — as defensive tackle Fletcher Cox and linebacker Jordan Hicks went down with injuries and did not return. Thankfully, they’ll be a little closer to 100 percent as Hicks and previously injured safety Rodney McLeod have been practicing all week and look poised to return. Cox and cornerback Ronald Darby are expected to miss the Chargers game.
“We’re used to them,” defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz said. “It’s the NFL and it’s going to happen. You know, I’ve said before: no explanations, no excuses. I think you have to carry that over to injuries.”
The Eagles offensive line was good, not great in Week 3 and will need to be stout against a potent Chargers pass rush in Week 4. With uncertainty surrounding the guard position — with Chance Warmack likely unseating Isaac Seumalo as the starter — the unit will have its toughest test yet against Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram.
“Ingram, I believe is leading the NFL in sacks, and Bosa is a, gosh, he’s a high-motor, high-energy guy, relentless finisher,” Pederson said. “These two guys, these two guys are tough to block. Our tackles have had — I thought both our tackles played extremely well Sunday against two elite pass rushers. They are going to have to do it again this week.”