Premium Preview: Eagles / Titans

The Eagles and Tennessee Titans are set to battle at The Linc. A healthy Eagles team seems rejuvenated after a well-timed bye week and is looking to make up some ground. They need to do so against Tennessee, because things don't get any easier after this.

Tennessee Titans (2-7) at Philadelphia Eagles (5-4)

GAME PLAN:
The Eagles' defense isn't particularly strong against the run. They depend on the offense getting an early lead so that the opposition can't run the ball 35-40 times. With rookie quarterback Vince Young, Tennessee will try to keep the game close Sunday and rely heavily on running back Travis Henry. The Eagles hope to put points on the board early and force Young to throw more than he wants to.

Young seems to fare better against blitzes than complicated loaded-up coverages at this point, but the Eagles' scheme calls for plenty of blitzes. If Young figures out the Eagles blitzing, it will make things tougher on the Birds.

MATCHUPS TO WATCH:

  • Eagles MLB Jeremiah Trotter vs. Titans RB Travis Henry.
  • Henry has rushed for 100-plus yards in three of the last five games.

  • Eagles WRs Reggie Brown and Donte Stallworth vs. Titans CBs Pacman Jones and Reynaldo Hill.
  • With Brown and Stallworth both averaging 19-plus yards per catch, the Eagles are third in the league in passing.

    Inside the Titans:
    When the Titans added a reserve linebacker and a key special teamer, the team made Pro Bowl defensive end Kyle Vanden Bosch happy.

    After all, it was Vanden Bosch who put in a word for LeVar Woods. Woods was a tailback and defensive end for West Lyon Community High School in Larchwood, Iowa, when Vanden Bosch played fullback and linebacker.

    "We've been friends for a long time," Vanden Bosch said.

    Woods said he was grateful that Vanden Bosch recommended him.

    "Coming from a guy like Kyle, the type of person he is and the type of player he is, I'm sure it did help," Woods said. "Believe it or not, Kyle was the fullback and I was the tailback. I think Kyle had more yards than me actually."

    The friends also played together for Arizona from 2001-04.

    "I know what he's all about, he's a hard worker and he's going to help us," Vanden Bosch said. "He's smart, and the four years I played with him, he was our best special teams player in Arizona, and I know he was probably the best special teamer in Detroit when he was there."

    Keys to the game:
    It's critical for the Titans that they keep the game close, because the Eagles' defense is built to defend the pass when opponents are trying to come from behind. And Tennessee should have an opportunity to pound away with RB Travis Henry against Philadelphia's undersized defensive line that has struggled against the run.

    If the Titans have to rely on QB Vince Young's arm to win the game, they're in serious trouble. It will be difficult to avoid that scenario, however, with Tennessee's secondary often suffering from communication breakdowns and going up against the league's number three passing attack.

    Elusive RB Brian Westbrook presents another challenge for the Titans, who don't tackle particularly well.


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