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Week 15: Bengals-Eagles preview

The SportsXchange

Cincinnati Bengals (7-6) at Philadelphia Eagles (4-9)

Thursday, 8:20 ET, NFL Network, Brad Nessler, Mike Mayock, Alex Flanagan

Last Meeting: The teams tied, 13-13, in Cincinnati in 2008 with Eagles PK David Akers hitting a field goal to force overtime.

Streaking: Bengals WR A.J. Green does not have a touchdown reception the past three weeks after having at least one in nine consecutive games.

Extreme makeover, defense edition: Cincinnati faces an Eagles defense undergoing an in-season facelift. With defensive coordinator Juan Castillo and defensive line coach Jim Washburn gone, so, too, is the Wide-Nine set and regular eight-man rotation up front. The starting front four each played at least 69 percent of the snaps last week, and the linebacking corps has also been shuffled. Philadelphia has just 22 sacks on the season and two interceptions in its past 11 games. Bengals QB Andy Dalton should have a comfortable pocket, especially if a ground game averaging 171 yards over the past four weeks continues to create manageable down-and-distance situations.

Rookie litmus test: Eagles rookie QB Nick Foles is coming off an impressive 381-yard passing performance that included 72- and 64-yard touchdown drives in the final seven minutes of last week's come-from-behind victory over Tampa Bay. But that was against the league's worst pass defense. The Bengals are ranked 10th against the pass and enter with a league-high 42 sacks as they face their fifth rookie quarterback this season. On a short week, head coach Andy Reid admitted the staff would need to "exhaust" the shortened amount of time to prepare Foles for the fire zones and blitzes he'll see from Cincinnati's secondary. Foles was sacked six times by the Bucs, but showed poise and the ability to move in the pocket. Look for more two-back sets this week to help aid the pass protection.

Need to know: The Bengals' single-season record for sacks is 48, set in 2001. They are on pace for 52 this season. ... WR Jeremy Maclin's 242 receptions tied TE Keith Jackson's record for most by an Eagle through first four seasons.
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