PHILADELPHIA.— Jalen Hurts and Josh Allen play similar games, but their styles are different.
Serious and stoic, Philadelphia quarterback Hurts maintains an even-keeled demeanor. Bills QB Allen, on the other hand, says playing with emotion is a key to his success.
Regardless of how they do it, Hurts and Allen are two of the NFL’s most dynamic signal-callers, and they will meet Sunday in Philadelphia in a game pitting the defending NFC champion Eagles (9-1) against the three-time defending AFC East-winning Bills (6-5).
“Never get too high, never get too low,” Hurts said of his mentality.
A dogged workhorse determined to perfect his craft, Hurts has led the Eagles to 26 victories in his last 28 regular-season starts. A dual passing and running threat like Allen, Hurts has thrown for 2,497 yards and rushed for 345 while combining for 24 touchdowns.
“I embrace all of the ways I play the game,” Hurts said. “And as I climb as a player and leader, I want to be the best version of myself.”
In Monday night’s 21-17 victory over Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs in a rematch of last season’s Super Bowl, Hurts wasn’t spectacular statistically but came up clutch in key moments, as seemingly has been the case throughout his time with the Eagles.
“He’s a really tough player to go against,” Bills coach Sean McDermott said. “He’s playing at a high, high level. And he uses not only his arm but his feet. And it’s tough to defend whether it be any situation, you name it, red zone, third down, two-minute and beyond.”
Allen provides those same challenges for opponents. He has combined for 3,136 yards and 29 touchdowns in the air and on the ground. His 22 TD passes led the NFL entering Week 12. Allen has struggled at times this season, and his 12 interceptions also topped NFL passers entering Week 12. Allen has thrown at least one pick in seven straight games. His play, and the offense’s struggles in general, led to the firing of offensive coordinator Ken Dorsey and promotion of quarterbacks coach Joe Brady before the Bills’ 32-6 rout of the Jets last Sunday.
Allen tossed three TD passes against the Jets, including an 81-yard scoring strike to Khalil Shakir, as Brady wanted his QB to get back to playing carefree and having fun.
“I just wanted him to be Josh Allen,” Brady said. “You know, the fun, the excitement that he kind of plays with.”
And that’s where the emotion comes into play.
“I feel like I play with my emotions on my sleeve and maybe I’ve been masking that the last few games or throughout this season,» Allen said. “But I need to let my guys know how much I care about this game and how much I care about them.”
In Buffalo’s Stefon Diggs and Philadelphia’s A.J. Brown, Allen and Hurts have two of the top wide receiver targets in the league. But both struggled last week. Diggs had just 27 yards receiving, the third-lowest total in his three-plus seasons in Buffalo, and dropped several would-be catches. Brown, the NFL’s second-leading receiver entering Thursday with 1,013 yards, made just one catch for eight yards and was part of a miscommunication with Hurts that led to an interception against the Chiefs.
Expect both top playmakers to be ready and focused on making amends this week.
GOOD IN GREEN
The Eagles will wear their throwback kelly green jerseys for the second time this season. They beat the Miami Dolphins 31-17 on Oct. 22 while wearing the jerseys that are extremely popular in Philadelphia.
BRANDON IN BOOKS
Eagles defensive end Brandon Graham will set a team record by playing in his 189th career regular-season game for Philadelphia when he takes the field against the Bills. The 14-year veteran is fourth all-time in club history with 72 sacks.
Bills safety Taylor Rupp (neck) was placed in an ambulance after a collision against the Jets, but McDermott indicated that Rupp has a chance to play against the Eagles. Defensive backs Dane Jackson and Taron Johnson both are in concussion protocol. Rupp, Jackson and Johnson did not practice Wednesday. Safeties Micah Hyde (stinger) and Cam Lewis (shoulder) are day to day and were limited in practice on Wednesday. TE Dawson Knox (wrist) is eligible to be activated off injured reserve, but is unlikely to suit up on Sunday, McDermott said.
Eagles tight end Dallas Goedert (forearm), DE Derek Barnett (personal reasons) and S Justin Evans (knee) didn’t play versus the Chiefs. Backup TE Grant Calcaterra hurt his ankle in the third quarter. None of those four players practiced on Thursday. DT Milton Williams (concussion) also was out of practice on Thursday while WR Brown (thigh), RB D’Andre Swift (ankle) and WR Quez Watkins (hamstring) were limited. The Eagles opened the 21-day practice window on Watkins on Wednesday.