Eagles-Dolphins Preview: Carson Wentz Must Rebound

Ed Kracz

The Cowboys opened the door on Thanksgiving, going belly up to the Buffalo Bills, 26-15, now all the Eagles have to do is walk through it.

If the Eagles (5-6) can beat the Dolphins (2-9) in Miami on Sunday (1 pm/FOX), they will tie Dallas for first place in the NFC East. 

Dallas would continue to hold a percentage-points edge in the standings based on their win over the Eagles earlier this season, but the two teams are on a Dec. 22 collision course.

Both teams would be 6-6 heading into next week when Dallas visits the Chicago Bears and the Eagles host the New York Giants on Monday night.

That is getting way ahead of the game, though. 

While Miami looks like a certain win, there are no layups for this Eagles team, which is on its third two-game losing streak this season.

“We just need to get a win,” defensive tackle Fletcher Cox said. “For us, we’re on the road and this team has lost two weeks in a row, so I know the guys in this locker room will be more focused than ever and we’ve got to go on the road. 

"It’s hard to win in this league. We can’t take anything for granted. We know that they’re professionals. We’re professionals. We know we’re going to get their best ball.”

To get a win, the Eagles will rely on their defense, which has held opponents to 17 points or less the past four games.

The Eagles must also get a rebound game from quarterback Carson Wentz, who has played the two worst games of his career in back-to-back weeks, both home losses.

Wentz was a turnover machine in last week’s 17-9 defeat to the Seattle Seahawks, throwing two interceptions and losing two fumbles.

“There are so many little things within the game, you turn on the tape and biggest thing was turnovers,” said Wentz. “Take out those turnovers, we had the opportunity where we were moving the ball and doing some decent things. Could it be better? Absolutely.

“Turnovers are biggest thing we can clean up. I’m confident we can. We’ve played mistake-free football before and we know it’s something we can do. We have a ton of confidence way defense is playing.”

Wentz should have receiver Alshon Jeffery and Nelson Agholor at his disposal this week. Agholor missed last week’s game with a knee injury; Jeffery hasn’t played the last two weeks with an ankle injury. Both are expected to play.

Tight end Zach Ertz is questionable, though, and he is Wentz’s favorite target. If Ertz cannot play it would end his streak of consecutive games played at 30.

Running back Jordan Howard (shoulder) was ruled out on Saturday for a third straight game.

The Eagles are facing a Miami team that has four defensive backs listed as questionable: cornerbacks Ken Crawley (shoulder), Ryan Lewis (chest), Ken Webster (ankle) and safety Steve Parker (groin). Lewis, who played in two games for the Eagles earlier this seasons when the Eagles were banged up at cornerback, and Webster were full participants in Friday’s practice, though.

The Dolphins will have receivers Allen Hurns and Albert Wilson. Both were limited during the week, but practiced in full on Friday.

The Eagles will also have to contend with Miami quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick, who is making his seventh career start against Philly, doing so with his seventh different team. Fitzpatrick is 2-3-1 against the Eagles.

PREDICTION: Eagles 27, Dolphins 17

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