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Eagles' Jordan Howard out vs. Patriots, per report

Eliot Shorr-Parks
November 17, 2019 - 8:11 am

The Eagles will be without running back Jordan Howard on Sunday against the New England Patriots, according to an NFL Network report. Howard was listed as questionable on the team's final injury report due to a shoulder injury he suffered in the win over Chicago two weeks ago. 

The loss of Howard is a big one, considering he has arguably been the team's best skill position player this season and has played in big role in all of the team's big wins. Whether he plays against Seattle next Sunday is also in question, meaning the Eagles could go back-to-back weeks against elite opponents without their best running back. 

In Howard's place on Sunday will be rookie running back Miles Sanders, newly acquired running back Jay Ajayi and Boston Scott. 

Ajayi, who was signed on Friday, played a key role in the Eagles' Super Bowl victory in 2017 and appeared in four games for the Eagles last season. He has totaled 592 yards on 115 carries with four touchdowns during his first stint with the Eagles. He was a free agent this offseason but didn't sign with a team despite getting a handful of workouts. It is very possible the knee issues Ajayi has dealt with throughout his career is the reason why he hasn't been signed. Ajayi seems to be more of a replacement for Howard than Darren Sproles, as they are similair players and could fill similar roles on the Eagles' offense. 

While Ajayi will play a role on Sunday, the reality is that he hasn't even taken part in an NFL practice for over a year, and the bulk of the work will need to go to Sanders. The good news is Sanders is playing some of his best football heading into Sunday. 

After a slow start to the season, Sanders its averaging close to 100 total yards per game (95.5) over the last two weeks. He averaged 4.2 yards-per-carry on 10 carries against a very good Chicago Bears defense, and has averaged 12.5 yards-per-catch over the last two weeks. Part of the reason Sanders has been able to have such a big impact is head coach Doug Pederson has done an excellent job dialing up plays that have put Sanders in great spots to make big plays. The other reason, however, is Sanders simply looks much more confident and decisive with the ball, which should be expected considering he is getting more-and-more experience as the season goes on. 

With Howard out, it will be up to Sanders to step up and have his best game of the season

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