2021 Week 5: Five Players to Watch

If the Eagles want to avoid a 1-4 start to their season, the whole team needs to step up their game. But the following five players are likely to be the biggest keys to winning the game:

Jalen Hurts

The Panthers defense has been outstanding through the first month of the season, allowing only 1,006 total yards. Hurts will need to try to move the ball either through the air or with his own feet since Nick Sirianni is allergic to running the ball. Maybe last week's game will be a stepping stone for Hurts to build on.

Kenny Gainwell

Gainwell is carving a permanent role in the Eagles offense. He’s cutting into Miles Sanders’ carries (Sanders has a 2:1 ratio over Gainwell) and he is also getting a good chunk of passes thrown to him out of the backfield (more receptions than Sanders). He’s been the only member of the backfield to score a touchdown this season, so he will be key to any chance of an Eagles victory on Sunday.

Quez Watkins

Stephon Gilmore isn’t eligible to play yet, so the two primary cornerbacks for the Panthers on Sunday are Dontae Jackson and CJ Henderson. Henderson has only played one game with the Panthers (acquired in a trade two weeks ago), so he is still learning the playbook. The key to beating the Panthers would be to get home run plays against their stout defense, so why not try some chunk plays with Watkins? He is a playmaker, and the only way for him to make plays if if the ball is thrown his way...

Josh Sweat

One of the weaker spots for the Panthers this season has been their o-line. Javon Hargrave will likely take care of things down the middle, so the Eagles need their edge rushers to step up for Sunday’s game. Sweat played a key role in forcing Pat Mahomes’ interception in Week 4; he will need a few plays like that to help give the Eagles a chance in this one.

Darius Slay

DJ Moore is having a breakout year. His three touchdowns so far this season are one short of tying his career-high for a season. He’s being targeted 10 times per game in 2021, so the Birds might as well have their high-paid cornerback shadow him across the field and see if he can limit his production.


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