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Game Preview | Eagles vs. Texans

Josh Sweat
Josh Sweat

The Philadelphia Eagles (7-0) will travel to Houston (1-5-1) to take on the Texans for Thursday Night Football.

After the bye week, the Eagles executed a complete performance against the Pittsburgh Steelers in a 35-13 victory on Sunday.

Though the season is going as well as it could be at this point in the season for the Eagles, Dallas and New York are still on their heels -- Thursday could be a determining factor in the NFC East race as both teams will also have a chance to play Houston later in the season.

Series Record: The Philadelphia Eagles are 5-0 all-time against the Houston Texans; they are 2-0 in Houston.

Opponent Scouting Report

Offense

QB: The Houston Texans are using the 2022 season to determine whether Davis Mills is the answer at the quarterback position. At 6-foot-4 and 225 pounds, Mills has the prototype size for the NFL. But with a limited surrounding cast, he has done everything he can to prove himself.

In seven games so far in the 2022 season, Mills has passed for 1,502 yards with eight touchdowns and six interceptions. These are solid numbers for the second-year pro.

RB: Rookie Dameon Pierce out of Florida has been a significant factor in the Texans' offense this season. Coming into the season, Pierce was running alongside Rex Burkhead on the depth chart. But this changed early in the season as the coaches saw Pierce's talent. Through seven games, Pierce is averaging 17.3 rushes and 77 yards per game. He also has 20 receptions on 24 targets from Davis Mills out of the backfield.

As for this game, he is the central part of the Texans' offense that the Eagles' defense must plan for.

WR: The main threat in the passing game for the Texans is Brandin Cooks, although he is questionable with a wrist injury.

With 32 catches and 359 yards, Cooks is the leading receiver on the Texans' roster. With the rest of the receivers group being in flux, including Nico Collins, who was officially ruled out on Wednesday, Cooks will be a target monster for Mills if he is active. The Eagles' ability to shut him down will leave the Texans one-dimensional and allow the Philly defense to focus on Pierce and the run game.

TE: The Texans brought in O.J. Howard after a season in Buffalo following his time with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. While he did have a touchdown catch in Week 1 against the Indianapolis Colts, Howard has taken a backseat to Brevin Jordan at the position.

If the Eagles' front seven can successfully get to Mills, both tight ends could become more frequent targets as the Texans could need to use short checkdown passes to get any movement on offense.

Defense

Defensive Line: Jerry Hughes and Mario Addison, both from Buffalo, make up critical parts of the defensive line for the team. Although older, both players play vital roles, especially from a leadership and a mentor standpoint for the younger members of the Houston defense.

Linebackers: Middle linebacker Christian Kirksey leads a group that includes rookie Christian Harris and second-year player Garret Wallow as the other starters in the 4-3 defense.

Secondary: The secondary is the most substantial part of the Texans' defense. With former Eagle Steven Nelson leading a group that includes first-round rookie Derek Stingley, Jr. and second-rounder Jalen Pitre, the group is young and talented.

After a lost season at LSU for Stingley, many thought he might fall to the middle of the first round of the NFL draft. Instead, Houston drafted him at No. 3 overall, and so far, he has lived up to the selection.

Key stats

38: Despite being 1-5-1, the Texans have only been outscored by 38 points through seven games. Although the record might not show it, the Texans play hard and keep games close until the end.

8: The Texans have eight touchdowns this season on 15 trips into the red zone.

30: Houston has the 30th-ranked offense in the NFL in 2022.

4: Jalen Hurts produced a career-high 4 passing touchdowns last game.

23: The Eagles have sacked opposing quarterbacks 23 times this season.

2: The Texans are one of two teams that have never beaten the Eagles.

Marquee Matchup

The biggest matchup in this game will be Derek Stingley Jr. against A.J. Brown.

Brown is coming off a career game with six catches for 156 yards and three touchdowns. If the talented rookie cannot cover him, the Hurts-to-Brown connection will be difficult to stop.

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