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2019 Buffalo Bills opponent preview: Philadelphia Eagles

The Buffalo Bills haven’t welcomed the Philadelphia Eagles to Western New York since 2011, when the Bills defeated Michael Vick and the Dream Team Eagles 31-24.

In that game, Fred Jackson accounted for 196 all-purpose yards (111 rushing yards and a touchdown along with 85 receiving yards), Ryan Fitzpatrick completed 21 of 27 passes for 193 yards and a six-yard TD toss to David Nelson, and Nick Barnett added a 31-yard interception return for a TD as the Bills picked off Vick four times.

This year, the Bills host the Eagles at 1 p.m. Oct. 27 at New Era Field—their second of three straight home games following the bye week.

As our opponent previews for the Bills’ foes in 2019 continues, we went to Bleeding Green Nation, SB Nation’s Eagles blog for more information on how the Eagles look leading up to the start of the season.

Philadelphia Eagles

Notable free-agent additions: Malik Jackson, DeSean Jackson (trade), Jordan Howard (trade), Zach Brown, L.J. Fort, Andrew Sendejo, Blake Countess.

The Eagles struggled to get anything out of any defensive tackle not named Fletcher Cox in 2018. The Malik Jackson addition figures to boost Philly’s interior pass rush. DeSean Jackson and Jordan Howard join an Eagles offense that was inconsistent last season. Jackson turns 33 this season but he’s still very much a dangerous deep threat considering he just led the league in yards per reception. Howard will help an Eagles backfield that featured undrafted rookie free agent Josh Adams as their leading rusher last season. Adding Zach Brown should help offset the loss of former starting middle linebacker Jordan Hicks, who signed with Arizona in free agency.

Over / under: 9.5 wins—Over. The Super Bowl LII champions were just one narrow loss away from making a second straight NFC Championship Game appearance earlier this year. The Eagles still possess one of the league’s most talented rosters. Most importantly, they arguably have one of the NFL’s best head coach-quarterback duos with Doug Pederson and Carson Wentz. Pederson has proven he can lead his teams through significant adversity. Wentz’s injury history is obviously concerning but he demonstrated MVP upside the last time he was fully healthy. Add in the fact that the Eagles have the third easiest schedule (per Sharp Football Stats) and double-digit wins seems like a good bet.

Rookie I’m most excited about: Miles Sanders. The Eagles haven’t drafted a running back as high as the second round since some guy named LeSean McCoy, who went on to become Philly’s all-time leading rusher. Sanders obviously has a long way to go before deserving comparisons to Shady but the Penn State product does boast intriguing potential. Sanders’ ability to make defenders miss and contribute in the passing attack should give the Eagles a backfield element that was missing in 2018. Sanders might even eventually become the Eagles’ first “lead back” type since the Doug Pederson era began in 2016. In the meantime, Sanders will have to share touches with the aforementioned veteran Jordan Howard.

Biggest storyline heading into camp: Can Carson Wentz stay healthy and return to 2017 form? Wentz likely would’ve been named the NFL’s Most Valuable Player in 2017 had he not suffered an ACL tear in mid-December. After struggling with further injury and inconsistency in 2018, Wentz is finally healthy again heading into 2019. The fourth-year quarterback should be able to thrive. Wentz’s supporting cast is arguably as good as it’s ever been. There’s no contract extension distraction to worry about anymore since that deal is done. With Nick Foles gone, the Eagles are only going to go as far as Wentz takes them. The pressure is on No. 11 to have his team seriously contending for their second Super Bowl title.

Thanks to Bleeding Green Nation for their thoughts on Philadelphia.