Three Things to Look out for in Today`s Game

The Eagles head to Cincinnati this week for a date with the 3-7-1 Bengals. Both teams are extremely desperate at this time, and are on the outside looking in when it comes to the playoff picture. The Eagles have a slim chance of making the playoffs at this point, and for that to happen they must practically win out. While it is possible, it remains highly unlikely. The quality of talent on this Eagles team is not enough to sustain a five game winning streak. While all Eagles fans would want that to happen, it is time to focus on other aspects of growth. Over these final five game, the Eagles management should keep an eye out for specific things to see where the Eagles stand going forward. Of course any thing can happen, and we have seen crazier things before. But over these next five games, keep an eye out for who wants to be here next year and where the Eagles can improve going forward.

With that being said, here are three things to look out for today.

1. The Continued development of Carson Wentz

The one bright spot on this season has been that it looks like the Eagles have found a franchise quarterback. While he has had his struggles of late, Wentz is operating with little to know help around him. Today, and the rest of the season, I would like to see Wentz put in situations where he can succeed and continue to grow as a player. While the receiver talent may not be there, I will still be looking at Wentz continue to develop and get better. And that is something that the fans should get excited about too. With only five games left, enjoy watching Carson Wentz continue to grow and develop.

Carson Wentz has been one of the Eagles few bright spots on offense this year
Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

2. The Play of Wendell Smallwood

For the second straight week, Ryan Mathews will not suit up due to an MCL sprain. This is another opportunity for Wendell Smallwood to prove himself. Last week against the Packers, Smallwood was way underutilized, getting only 9 carries. Today, I would like to see Doug Pederson make an effort to get Smallwood involved with somewhere around 15-20 carries. Before the end of the season, the Eagles need to really find out what they have in Wendell Smallwood so they can know if they have a possible starting running back going into next season. That is something that needs to be found out over the next five games. So Doug Pederson needs to make a strong effort to give the ball to Wendell Smallwood also. While at the same time taking the stress off of his rookie quarterback.

Can Wendell Smallwood be the Eagles feature back going forward?
James Lang-USA TODAY Sports

3. What Wide Receivers Step Up

The #Eagles are not expecting WR Jordan Matthews (ankle) to play vs. #Bengals, sources say. He didn't practice on Friday.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet)

Jordan Matthews will not play today due to an ankle injury he suffered last week against Green Bay. With that being said the wide receivers today will be Dorial Green-Beckham, Bryce Treggs, Paul Turner, and Nelson Agholor is set to return this week. This is a very young and inexperienced group and for the Eagles to have any success on offense today one of these guys are going to have to step up. This off season the Eagles are most certainly going to go after a wide receiver, so after these next five games, the Eagles are going to have to see who is worth keeping around next year. Dorial Green-Beckham had a huge first drive last week, and I would like to see him used a lot more today, especially in the absence of Jordan Matthews. But, someone else is going to have to step up this week. Will Nelson Agholor finally put it together, or will he continue to struggle? We will see.

Nelson Agholor has five games to show the Eagles what he`s got
Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports


This games has the look to be very ugly, as both teams lack much firepower on the offensive side of the football. The Eagles without Jordan Matthews, and the Bengals with no A.J. Green and Giovanni Bernard will struggle to move the ball up and down the field today. This will be a low scoring game, that will come down to whatever team makes the least mistakes. Expect Andy Dalton to follow a similar game plan that Aaron Rodgers used last week against the Eagles, with lots of short passes. In a close low scoring game like this, I have to take the team with the more experienced quarterback, who also is playing at home. Bengals win this one.

Bengals 17 Eagles 13

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