Thursday Night Football Week 3: Eagles vs. Steelers Preview
Thursday Night Football is back once again as the third and decisive week of the 2014 NFL preseason launches with the “battle of Pennsylvania”. While it’s really not hyped all that much outside of the state, it’s a big deal for some when the Philadelphia Eagles and Pittsburgh Steelers go to war.
They’ll do just that on Thursday Night Football, which can be seen on NFL Network at 7:30 pm Eastern tonight. Being the third week of preseason action, we’ll get our first look at the “real” NFL teams, with these two getting things started.
NFL teams primarily save any true game planning and packages for the third game, when their key players are on the field the longest. It’s a solid preview of what is to come for the starters and their roles.
With things starting to fall into place, let’s take a look at five things that should have us tuning into this game:
More Dri Archer, Please
Archer showed right away last week that he has the skill-set to thrive in the NFL. His exact position and small frame remain question marks, but there’s really no doubt he has the speed, vision and change of direction ability to be a terror. He could also make an impact on special teams. No matter how he’s used going forward, fans will enjoy watching him again under the bright lights.
Pittsburgh’s Running Backs
Both Le’Veon Bell and LeGarrette Blount will be with the team on Thursday night, but they did just get arrested for pot possession. Bell even had a DUI. That could mean both get sat tonight. If they do, we could see the aforementioned Archer run a bit, while get extended looks at Pittsburgh’s other backup running backs. Odds are they play a bit, as they need to get ready for the start of the season.
Kenjon Barner Philly Debut?
The Eagles traded for Barner earlier in the week and it’s possible he doesn’t even suit up. However, his main impact will probably be in the return game, so it will be interesting to see if they throw him out there and see what he’s got. Chip Kelly coached him at Oregon, so he’ll probably be pulling for him to shine in this one if he plays.
Jordan Mathews’ Role
Philly’s top rookie wide receiver was shaky in his preseason debut and was awesome in his second game, so which version will show up tonight? More importantly, as the Iggles finalize their main rotation, what will his exact role be?
Ryan Shazier Going Nuts
Shazier is a freak. A true sideline to sideline defender with elite speed and athleticism, Shazier got his pro career started off with a bang last week, as he notched 11 tackles and a pick in just two quarters of action. What will he do for an encore? We’ll all be tuning in to find out.
Obviously we’ll all want/get to see Nick Foles, Ben Roethlisberger and all of the other big names from both teams, too. But the biggest reason to watch tonight? It’s the NFL, baby.
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