PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The Philadelphia Eagles and Houston Texans both have a lot on the line when they meet in the City of Brotherly Love this weekend. The Birds need to win in order to realistically keep their playoff hopes alive. The Texans could clinch the AFC South with a win and move closer to locking up the two-seed in the AFC, assuring themselves a first-round bye for the first time in franchise history.
To get some insight into how these teams stack up against each other, we called on NFL on CBS analyst Dan Fouts, who, along with Ian Eagle and Evan Washburn, will be on the call in Philly this Sunday (1:00 p.m. ET CBS).
CBS Local Sports: The Eagles are still alive in the playoff chase, thanks to the play of Nick Foles in Los Angeles on Sunday night. What changes did you see from the Eagles offense this past week that allowed them to be so successful?
Dan Fouts: The big thing with Foles is he is getting rid of the ball faster than Wentz. I don’t know how much they simplified the offense, but obviously he likes [Alshon] Jeffery a lot, and he gave him plenty of opportunities to make a play on the ball. Those two things, getting the ball out quickly and trusting Jeffery to make the play down the field, were the biggest differences.
CBS Local Sports: On that front, how do you think Houston will look to slow Foles and the Eagles with him getting passes out so quickly?
Dan Fouts: It is going to come down to pressure, and that is the one thing Houston can do with the talent they have on defense. You don’t get much better than Watt and Clowney rushing off the edges. But the key to stopping a quarterback like Foles is pressure up the middle. We’ll see how creative they can be defensively, maybe moving Watt around a little bit more in order to put pressure up the middle on Foles.
CBS Local Sports: On the other side of the ball, the Eagles secondary has been ravaged by injuries and now has to face Deshaun Watson, DeAndre Hopkins and Demaryius Thomas. How do you think defensive coordinator, Jim Schwartz, will game plan to slow down that trio on Sunday?
Dan Fouts: The big thing is containing Watson. He is good at extending plays and making yards on the ground when he breaks the line of scrimmage. You have to find a way to contain him in the pocket and hope some of those guys can plaster those receivers. That isn’t going to be easy though, because those guys are outstanding one-on-one type of receivers who can really cause problems.
CBS Local Sports: Houston is currently the second seed in the AFC and on track for the first first-round bye in franchise history. Do you think that is something on the players’ minds over these next two weeks?
Dan Fouts: Absolutely, because of all the injuries they have had. Every team has a bunch of injuries this time of year, so an extra week off allows a lot of good things to happen on the injury front. Even for guys who aren’t injured or as beat up as the other guys, they get a chance to refresh not only their minds but their bodies as well. It’s always a goal to get that first-round bye, and also the biggest part of it is playing at home.
CBS Local Sports: Outside of some of the matchups we have already discussed, what is the other key factor for the Texans down the stretch, as they look to make a potential Super Bowl run?
Dan Fouts: Lamar Miller is a big question mark with his ability to run the ball. They (Texans) are saying his injury is not as serious as they first thought. They did get an extra day of rest as well, having played last Saturday which, again, is a very big factor. Going into Philly, a team coming off a real high after beating the Rams, it’s important to take the crowd out of the game. The best way to do that is to keep pounding and pounding on the ground.