EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP)Breece Hall was unfazed by the brief history lesson shared by a reporter this week about the New York Jets’ next opponent.
The undefeated Philadelphia Eagles are coming to town and the Jets are 0-12 against them – the only team the franchise has never defeated.
“I mean, before right now, I had no idea, so I could tell you I don’t really care about that,” the Jets’ second-year running back said. “Every game, you’re looking at coming out and winning, so just because they’re undefeated or whatever doesn’t really play a factor in motivating us to win.”
And this week it’s an Eagles squad that’s looking to win its first six games in back-to-back seasons. Meanwhile, the Jets (2-3) are coming off a win in Denver and looking to head into their bye week at .500 – regardless of the history they’re up against.
“What’s cool is the NFC champs are walking into our building and it’s an opportunity for us to get after them,” coach Robert Saleh said. “We’ve played some good football teams. We took Buffalo and Kansas City down to the wire. We’ve got another great one coming in.
“So, hopefully it’s a fun game for everybody, and hopefully we’re on the right side of it.”
Nick Sirianni and the Eagles would respectfully disagree with that last part.
Philadelphia could join the 1981, 2004 and 2022 squads as the only Eagles teams to start 6-0. Sirianni could also join Tony Dungy (2005-07, Colts), Mike Martz (2000-01, Rams), Mike Shanahan (1997-98, Broncos) and Mike Ditka (1985-86, Bears) as the only NFL coaches to accomplish the feat in consecutive seasons.
And guess what? Like Hall and the Jets’ drought, the historical significance wasn’t very significant to Sirianni.
“That was the first I heard about it right there, so you just broke the news to me,” Sirianni said. “It’s a journey, right? It’s a long journey. I guess when I was 1-0 after we played Atlanta (in his 2021 debut), when we were 1-0, I had the best winning percentage, too, right? I’ve gone down since then, whatever it is. Long journey. A lot of the season to play.”
Let younger brother Travis handle the Taylor Swift headlines. Jason Kelce just continues to go to work as the Eagles’ always available center.
Kelce, who turns 36 next month, has served as the burly, bushy-bearded stalwart of the offensive line since he was drafted and is set to start his 145th consecutive game Sunday, the longest streak in franchise history.
“It’s big,” quarterback Jalen Hurts said. “He shows up. He does what needs to be done to be ready to play. He’s a mentally tough person.”
Kelce, a sixth-round pick in 2011, is a five-time All-Pro and has been a staple of a Super Bowl-winning team and another that lost the Super Bowl last season. He’s tied for the franchise’s fifth-longest streak of consecutive games played, trailing only Jon Dorenbos (162, 2006-16), Harold Carmichael (162, 1971-83), Randy Logan (159, 1973-83) and Bobby Walston (148, 1951-62).
The Eagles’ nearly unstoppable “tush push” or “brotherly shove” quarterback sneak play has been the talk of the NFL. Hurts lines up under Kelce with two or three players behind him and then everyone surges forward.
The Jets are the latest opponent who’ll try to stop it – and one New York player thinks Philadelphia might be getting an unfair edge.
“I don’t know, man, if you ask me, it looks like the center’s in a four-point stance and his head is over the ball,” defensive lineman Quinton Jefferson said. “Like, he’s damn near offside. I really don’t know. I guess we’ll have to see and figure it out on the fly.”
HALL OF A START
After having his promising rookie season ended by a torn ACL in Week 7 at Denver last season, Hall emphatically showed he’s back less than a year later on the same field.
Hall ran for a career-high 177 yards, the ninth-highest total in franchise history, and a touchdown on 22 carries – also a personal best – after having his snap limit ended last week. He said the long months recovering helped prepare him to burst out of the backfield again.
“The workload you get in the rehab process is harder than what you get in the game,” Hall said. “I’ve gone through days where I’ve done way more just throughout rehab with my knee, just doing a whole bunch of stuff with my knee than I would in a game. So when you come back and start playing, you know that you’re ready.”
The Eagles boast the No. 2 rushing offense in the NFL, led by D’Andre Swift (434 yards) and Hurts (206), and they’ll face the Jets’ 29th-ranked run defense.
Swift ranks fourth in the league in rushing yards and has the most by an Eagles player through five games since LeSean McCoy’s 514 in 2013. The 24-year-old Philadelphia native spent his first three seasons in Detroit after being a third-round pick out of Georgia in 2020.
“Just as many times as we can try to get the ball into his hands with opportunities to create big plays and space, he’s done a fantastic job to this point in the season,” Eagles offensive coordinator Brian Johnson said. “We just have to continue to try to find unique opportunities to give him the ball in space.”
AP Sports Writer Dan Gelston contributed to this report.
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