PHILADELPHIA - Eagles coach Chip Kelly watched a scary movie Monday night.
He saw Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning continue his streak of amazing performances this season by carving up the Oakland Raiders' defense in a 37-21 Broncos' victory.
The Eagles (1-2) will face Manning and the unbeaten Broncos (3-0) at Denver's Sports Authority Field at Mile High on Sunday.
"I watched it last night and this morning," Kelly said Tuesday at the NovaCare Complex. "It was an outstanding performance (by Manning). It's very difficult when you see a quarterback playing at that level right now. It will be a great challenge for us."
Manning was virtually flawless against the Raiders. He completed 32 of 37 passes (86.5 percent) for 374 yards with three touchdown passes and no interceptions. Five of his incompletions were dropped passes.
He's been at that level all season. Manning, now in his second season with Denver after 14 seasons with Indianapolis, currently leads the NFL in completion percentage (73 percent), passing yards (1,143), touchdown passes (12), fewest interceptions (0) and quarterback efficiency rating (134.7).
"He's the best and it's going to be an amazing challenge for us," Eagles safety Nate Allen said. "But that's why we play this game, for opportunities like this."
The Eagles' defense has been inconsistent this season.
The unit got off to an encouraging start under new defensive coordinator Billy Davis in the first half of the opener at Washington, but struggled in the second half against the Redskins. The problems continued for the entire game in a 33-30 loss to San Diego the following game. The defense was better against Kansas City last Thursday, but failed to come up with pivotal stops down the stretch of a 26-16 loss.
They will need to come up with their best performance of the season to have any shot at beating the Broncos.
"We're are going to need to play a great all-around game," Eagles linebacker Trent Cole said. "That means we have to get to Manning and put pressure on him and we have to cover their receivers. It's not impossible. If we all just do our jobs, we can win. I know what type of team we have here and I know what we're capable of doing."
The Eagles' offense can help the defense.
Manning frequently employs a no-huddle, hurry-up offense that can both confuse and exhaust opposing defenses. If Eagles quarterback Michael Vick and company can play up to its potential and churn out first downs en route to the end zone, that keeps Manning on the sideline with fewer scoring opportunities.
The Eagles haven't been able to stay on the field, however. Through three games, they've run an average of 66 plays per game, ranking 15th and well behind New England's league-leading average of 75. Denver is tied for third with 71 plays per game.
The Eagles ran 77 plays in the opener against the Redskins, including 53 in the first half, but had only 63 against the Chiefs because of four turnovers.
"I think we have a sense of what we need to do," Vick said Tuesday. "We need to run as many plays as we can (against the Broncos). We need to eliminate the mistakes and avoid the other things that can kill drives."
Defensively, the Eagles have to find a way to rattle Manning, but that's a daunting task. He's only been sacked four times all season because of his quick release.
Blitzing may help, but then the Eagles run the risk of exposing their secondary against a talented receiving corps that features wide receivers Demaryius Thomas, Eric Decker and former New England Patriot Wes Welker.
"This is an opportunity of a lifetime for us," Eagles cornerback Cary Williams said. "People can say we don't have a chance, but all that matters is what goes on between those white lines.
"At the end of the day, it's an awesome challenge for us and it's our opportunity to go out and shock the world."
EXTRA POINTS: The Eagles officially released cornerback Brandon Hughes with an injury settlement over the weekend. ... They signed wide receiver Will Murphy to the practice squad and released offensive lineman Isaac Remington. ... Safety Patrick Chung (sprained shoulder) was the only player who did not practice Tuesday.
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