Philadelphia Eagles: A healthy Jordan Howard could bring the power back

(Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images)
(Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images) /

When Miles Sanders left Week 16 with an apparent hand injury, it put a damper on the Philadelphia Eagles‘ eventual win over the New York Giants.

While the news ultimately wasn’t as dire as initially expected, as Sanders’ hand is broken but he won’t see his season come to a close with a trip to IR, the hits kept coming for the Birds from Philly when Boobie’s once and future partner in crime, Jordan Howard, also left the game with an injury, this time a shoulder stinger.

Goodness, would the Eagles have to roll into the new year with only Boston Scott and Kenneth Gainwell (more on him here) on their active roster? Would Jason Huntley finally get a call-up? And what about Kerryon Johnson? After spending the summer with the Eagles, getting cut, spending some time with the San Francisco 49ers, and making his way back to Philly earlier in the week, would he finally make his on-field debut in midnight green?

Well, some of that may happen – I’m hoping for a steady dose of Kenny G in Washington DC – but don’t count out Jordan Howard just yet, as he was back on the practice field for the Philadelphia Eagles on Thursday and could be back on the field without missing a week of action.

Jordan Howard could run wild for the Philadelphia Eagles in Week 17.

Much like their NFC East counterparts in the City of Brotherly Love, the Washington Football Team is built to win in the trenches.

They have a solid offensive line, a good rushing attack, the 17th most sacks – which isn’t a perfect qualifier of pass-rushing success, but hey, let’s go with it – and the eight-best rushing defense of any team in the NFL. While conventional wisdom would suggest attacking the Football Team through the air over the ground, as they’ve allowed the third-most passing yards per game of any team in the league this year, that just hasn’t been Nick Sirianni‘s style since fully embracing the run back in Week 8.

No, after putting up 238 rushing yards on a Washington defense with Jonathan Allen, Daron Payne, Montez Sweat, and your old pal Casey Toohill starting back in Week 15, I would imagine Sirianni is going to test his strength against Washington’s and see who is better.

If that happens, and health is in Philly’s favor, expect Jordan Howard to be the battering ram leading the way for the Eagles’ rushing attack.

In Week 15, Howard ran the ball 15 times for 69 yards, which is good for a 4.6 yards-per-carry average. On the season, Washington is only allowing 4.2 yards-per-carry on 371 carries, so Howard proved that he can handle Ron Rivera’s defensive hogs and still average well over a first down plus on three carries.

Assuming the Eagles want to continue their trend of controlling the clock, pushing bodies around, and allowing Jeff Stoutland’s magic to set up receiving plays on money downs, having Howard’s downhill rushing abilities could be paramount to a decisive win over an NFC foe.

In summation, even with a stinger, Howard should be able to make a splash.

Next. Kenneth Gainwell needs to be the guy for the Philadelphia Eagles in Week 17. dark

Who knows, maybe this is all a trick. Maybe Jordan Howard will ultimately be inactive for Week 17 and listing him as a limited participant at practice is more about Ron Riviera than Nick Sirianni. If that’s the case, rolling with Boston Scott, Kenneth Gainwell, and either Jason Huntley or Kerryon Johnson should still be enough to keep the Philadelphia Eagles’ rushing attack lively. But if Howard can go? Well, it’ll be incredibly fun to watch the former Chicago Bear run his way to a new contract either here or elsewhere.