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    Registered On: 26 October 2019
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    The struggling Eagles will face off Sunday afternoon against the Buffalo Bills, who have surprised many experts by going 5-1 behind a stout defense led by head coach (and former Eagles defensive coordinator) Sean McDermott.

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    The last time the Eagles played the Bills was during the 2015 season, when they defeated Buffalo 23-20 in LeSean McCoy’s so-called “revenge game” after having been traded away by former Birds head coach Chip Kelly. Two teams have only faced each other 13 times, with the Eagles holding a 7-6 edge.

    Daryl Johnston, who spent 11 seasons in Dallas as the Cowboys’ fullback prior to his second career as an NFL analyst, will be calling this afternoon’s game alongside play-by-play announcer Chris Myers. Laura Okmin, a former CNN anchor who has quietly been with Fox Sports for 17 years, will handle the broadcast’s sideline reporting duties.

    Johnston has called many Eagles games over his career, including three last season alone (two were back-to-back in Weeks 3 and 4). He’s typically a solid broadcaster and hasn’t had many viral whiffs, but he was forced to awkwardly excusing himself during the middle of his halftime analysis during a 2013 Eagles game against the Minnesota Vikings. As he walks away and the shot cuts to the field, a confused Kenny Albert asks, “Where you going, Daryl?”

    Unlike fellow Fox Sports broadcaster Joe Buck, Johnston wasn’t in need of a bathroom break — he was simply moving to get a better view of the second-half kickoff. But it didn’t take long for the internet to mock the moment, including The Onion, who scored with the headline, “Daryl Johnston Admits He Doesn’t Feel Comfortable Being Alone In Booth With Kenny Albert.”

    Now, how about the defense? McDermott learned under Jim Johnson in Philadelphia before taking over for him as the team’s defensive coordinator in 2009. McDermott doesn’t rely on the blitz the way Johnson did, but he’s got tremendous talent to work with at all three levels of the defense. And this is a unit that doesn’t give up a ton of points, nor does it allow a lot of explosive plays.

    How can the Eagles succeed?

    It’s going to have to start up front as the Bills rank 22nd in sacks per pass attempt and 10th in rushing yards allowed per game. First-round pick defensive tackle Ed Oliver is coming off his best performance to date against the Miami Dolphins, but he’s been a rotational player early because of his penchant for getting beat against the run. When matched up with right guard Brandon Brooks, this is one that the Pro Bowl lineman should come out on top.

    Last week, the Dolphins were able to have success against the Bills converting 7 of 13 third-down opportunities, 3 of 4 chances in the red zone, and outgaining the Bills in both yardage (381-305) and first downs (24-17).

    Trent Murphy, Jerry Hughes, and Shaq Lawson are the primary edge rushers, but tackle Jordan Phillips leads the team with four sacks on the year. Former Carolina Panther Star Lotulelei provides a run-stuffing presence along the interior.

    Last year’s first-round pick Tremaine Edmunds highlights a quality linebacker group along with veteran Lorenzo Alexander and an under-the-radar player in Matt Milano, who is questionable for Sunday’s game.

    The secondary is outstanding, led by former first-round pick Tre’Davious White, the reigning AFC Defensive Player of the Week, at cornerback. Expect the Eagles to focus their throws in the pass game at Levi Wallace on the opposite side of White. Safeties Jordan Poyer, a former Eagles draft pick, and Micah Hyde are a very good 1-2 punch at the position with their chemistry and ability to play off of one another.

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